In the morning, I wake up, shove breakfast into my body, and frantically hunt through the files of my laptop again. After a frustrating half hour, I have found the file.
And then I do it again an hour later.
I think it's inevitable that if you write lots, you will wind up losing some of your work by mistake.
Once, when I was in the music studio awaiting a student's arrival, I was typing up some more work on the sixth book of my series. The student walked through the door, and I highlighted my work, quickly checked the word count and - oops, pressed the wrong button. Microsoft Word turned grey in a heartbeat and vanished, leaving my desktop blank.
"I have a nasty feeling that didn't save," I said to the student.
Sure enough, when I had a break between lessons later, I discovered that I had lost two thousand words. When I was about thirteen and this happened, I would stage some kind of lament. Nowadays, I just go:
"That's the way it is."
But at the same time I get super angry. I start shaking my fist at random people, and they look at me as if I'm the inmate of an asylum.
But the fact is that there is no easy part of the writing process. It's difficult. It's gruelling. And when you lose a whole lot of work, you're faced with the oh-so-wonderful task of redoing it. I love writing. But I don't like having to rewrite unnecessarily.
When I was fourteen, I typed an entire chapter on my sister's laptop. I made to pull the laptop closer to me, so that I could see my work better. And the plug came out of the back.
Now, normally this isn't a problem. But this was an old laptop. The screen flickered and the disk made a "kapoooowwt" noise. With a scream, I watched my work become a smaller and smaller square in the screen. Then it vanished altogether. Darkness.
I shook the laptop and shouted at it, but that didn't help much.
Then I remembered auto save. Phew. That should have done the trick.
Oh. Oh no. I had written the chapter into an email, so that I could send it to the computer I normally used. This was before dropbox.
Phew. Breathe deeply. Never mind. I'll just rewrite it ...
Like I have so many times before.
I'm used to old laptops. After this, I owned one that used freeze. The screen would flash fitfully, and if you pressed any keys, the laptop would say "BOOOOOOORP" (which can be roughly translated as "don't you dare try anything"). I would shut it down and restart it. The computer would do its usual thing of "Toshiba: in touch with tomorrow", directly followed by a screen saying "Windows 98". Then I would open the document. Had it auto saved? No.
After this, I owned a laptop that was silver and almost as old as the one that said: "BOOOOOOOORP". This silver laptop would get so hot that you could melt plastic on it. You could see the steam rising from the keyboard. Occasionally, the laptop got so annoyed with me that it would just freeze as well.
I also owned a regular desktop computer. This one worked beautifully, except when it didn't. I would be typing away, and all of sudden, it would decide it had had enough. Everything would turn black. The fan would make a sound like: "Whop, whop, whop, whop." Had it auto saved? No.
You can imagine how I would work feverishly on this machine, saving every five seconds, typing so quickly that the sweat flew from my fingers in droplets as I tried to make sure I got in as much as work as possible before the computer decided its break was due.
The wonderful thing about all these computers was that they were free, and I was immensely grateful for that. But I took the risk of working them hard, and that's what happened. My anger management issue probably got worse during this time.
I now have a very good Lenovo computer. But I still manage to lose files, corrupt files, and do all kinds of terrible things with them. I'm beginning to wonder if it's not the computers but me.
Anyway, there is one solution to all of these catastrophes: drink coffee. Lots of it.
And if that made sense to you, then you can count yourself a writer.