- by Dianne Drake
Hello & Happy April Fool’s Day!
My April Fools’ Day started like any other day for me. That is, until the first five hours of my work efforts disappeared. Didn’t back up, didn’t materialize any where. Just gone. Poof. Vanished into thin air.
It’s happened to me before, and it will happen again. All writers go through this and while the simple thing might be to manually save every page, it’s not practical, especially when I get going and lose myself in what I’m writing, the way I did today. I can go an hour or two and totally lose track of time. Of course, I do have a timed back-up, which doesn’t always work. Then I also back up to a cloud, which works, but it does that maybe once a day. So that left me without most of my day’s efforts.
No big deal, right? One writer friend told me he lost three whole chapters. Another friend commiserated, but also mentioned a chapter and a half vanishing. Other friends chimed in as well, telling me all with their tales of woe. The thing is, I sympathize with all of them, but none of that would recover what I know was the most brilliant writing of my life. Or at least, the most brilliant writing of my writing day.
Anyway, I called my computer tech to see if he could offer any advice, and he did. He said, and I quote, “Write it again.” Well geez, that was a $20 phone consultation wasted. But then he gave me an additional gem, and I quote again, “This will give you the opportunity to do it better.” For that piece of wisdom I should have scrounged up an additional $20 for him (which I didn’t do.) But, as I was giving it some angry thought, I realized that maybe he was right. Maybe I would be able to do it better the second time.
How many times in life would we like a shot at that do-over? For me it happens at least once a day. I’m the one who, in the middle of any given situation, never has anything brilliant to say, but twenty minutes later it all comes to me – the things I wish I would have said. Of course, I’m also the one who says the things that, twenty minutes later, I wish I could take back. Like earlier, when I told my computer tech, “You’re kidding, right! Do you really expect me to pay you $20 for that piece of (expletive) advice?”
Life do-overs would be a good thing. No, they would be a great thing! We often get the chance to do make-goods but, sadly, there are no real do-overs. Except, in writing. I had the opportunity to delete half a boring scene and add some sparkling dialogue to my hero’s explanation of why he’s a real louse. My first writing of it was pretty good. I was satisfied, and would have probably left it as it was in some form. But that form totally disappeared which forced me to write something even better. Which means I now owe my computer tech an apology as well as $20 consultation fee. Because he was right. I had to opportunity to write something better, and I did. That doesn’t mean I’m not grumbling about losing five hours because it’s still a big bite. But the sting of it isn’t quite so bad now.
So how was your April Fools’ Day?
P.S. Did you know that while there are many attributions for the origins of April Fool’s Day, the earliest and most widely accepted goes to Chaucer (1392) who, in his Canterbury Tales, wrote how the vain cock Chanticleer was tricked by a wily fox. It seems fitting that a writer would get the credit for April Fool’s Day. Makes you wonder if he might have foreseen the time when the vain (or not-so-vain) writer would be tricked by the wily computer. Personally, I see some irony in the way I spent the last half of my writing day.