What does a writer do when their computer crashes?

My computer has done the nasty and crashed.  As happens with these things, I was happily typing away when… nothing.  The screen had frozen.  In itself, that’s no big deal.  After all, computers are notorious for hissy-fits.  Unfortunately the timing was very off as I was in the middle of an important email to a client discussing some writing I was doing for him.

I hit the reset button.  And waited.  And waited… Alas, the computer appeared to be making all the right noises but absolutely nothing was happening on the monitor — in fact, the screen kept telling me that it was dropping into power saver mode as there was no digital signal.  Okay, perhaps that wasn’t quite what it said but that is definitely what it meant.  Then, it went to sleep.  Sigh.

I ascertained that the mouse did not appear to be working — no glowing red light.  What did this mean?  For that matter, why was the yellow light next to the ‘on’ switch glowing brightly instead of flashing with a subdued hue?  And what the hell is that big box that holds all the parts called anyway?  A processor?  Something else that involves techno-babble that I just don’t get?

A technically challenged writer to the rescue!

The next phase in my voyage of discovery — meaning trying to get my now sadly not-working computer working — was to try a different mouse.  I plugged it in.  This one at least was glowing red — dangerously gleaming up at me with evil intent.  As for the monitor, once again, nothing, nada, nil…

Aha!  I know!  I’ll turn the switch off at the wall.  Excellent.  I gave it a few seconds — long enough to wander off to the kitchen and fill the kettle.  Came back, switched it back on, pressed the start button and sat back, relaxed in the knowledge that all would be well.

Yeah right.

Finally I called my brother, the technical engineer — who, by the way, has a t-shirt with ‘No, I won’t fix your computer so don’t ask’ blazoned across the front and which I, being the ‘kid’ sister, completely ignore — he will ‘drop in’ soon (please, God, let it be soon) to take a look at ‘it’.

Now what?

Luckily I have a laptop (or should that be notebook?  I’m never quite sure what to call it these days) that I am now working on.  But I do not keep any information on it.  Not even email addresses.  This has resulted in a few friendly phone calls to find out addresses for people I need to contact.  As well as logging onto my internet provider (remembering passwords is an absolute pain) to check incoming emails.

Then, there are my files.  They are all on my desktop computer.  Yep, the one that is currently being a fantastic paper weight.  Again, luckily, I use an offshore back-up system — MOZY, http://mozy.com/ — that does a back-up of my files, online, daily.  This means that I have only lost a morning’s worth of work.  Not a lifetime’s worth.  Phew!  That’s great!

So what have I learnt from all this?

  • That I probably need one of those portable drives that you can get these days (have made a note to discuss what I should get with my brother as he mutters and curses his way through fixing my computer).
  • That having a back-up system that does it all automatically for me is a truly great thing.
  • And that I just can’t take the demise of my beloved computer personally.  It hasn’t crashed because it hates me — it has worked its little processors to the bone for a few years now and it has been doing a great job.  Maybe, like all of us, it’s just gotten tired and needs a break… hopefully, not permanently.

Oh, and that my brother is brilliant – even if he can’t fix the damn thing, he’ll give it a go.  And really, that’s all I can ask.

For now, it’s back to trying to remember what I wrote yesterday morning — as well as some work for a client, I was getting into a really great scene for my new book.  It’s all floating around in my head so I want to get it written down — fast — while I remember because there is every chance that it is lost, somewhere in cyber-space (the final frontier!), never to return.

Next time, (if I’m not busy sobbing into a tissue over the ‘death’ of my currently ‘sleeping’ computer — yes I’m living in hope) I’ll talk about how to discover what your premise is — and why you need it…

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About mamiller

author of young adult science fiction/fantasy
This entry was posted in A writer's journey and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What does a writer do when their computer crashes?

  1. Pingback: Blog Jog Day has come and gone and I want to thank you for visiting… | m a miller – author of young adult s.f.

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