A Writer’s Nightmare: Losing Data

Last Saturday, when the weather outside was frightful due to the never-ending winter of 2019, I was overjoyed at the prospect of staying in for the morning and completing a few blog posts.

After two amazing hours where ideas flowed like a river, I stepped away from my desk to take care of a few things around the house.
When I returned to my desk, something strange had happened. The flash drive I was using just an hour prior, wasn’t being read by my computer. I tried inserting the flash drive into a different USB port. “Not recognized.” I tried another port. “Not recognized.” O-o-o-oh darn!

I tried inserting the flash drive into my laptop and still “Not recognized”. I checked my stash of flash drives for another one that was purchased in the same batch. Fortunately, the computer could read that one. I concluded that it was not a problem with that batch of keys, just the one I used for the blog.

I then took to YouTube to find videos on how to try to get the flash drive working again, or at a minimum, to try to recover the data on it and store it elsewhere. After an hour and three different technical recipes, the flash drive was still not recognized by my PC.

Moderately defeated, I said to myself that I should not be surprised. I have been using this particular flash drive every week for almost 6 years. If that’s the life expectancy of a flash drive, it’s a lesson learned for me.

While I do back up its contents periodically to an external hard drive, the last time I did it was March 2018, one year ago. That’s another life lesson for me: to back up files more often.

This particular flash drive contained a backup copy of all of the posts on my blog, plus a collection of works-in-progress that could potentially have turned into a blog post (or not). The reason I put them on a flash drive was to be able to switch from my PC to my laptop, or vice versa, when working on new content.

Losing one year’s worth of backup versions of blog posts isn’t a tragedy in itself. That should be pretty easy to replace since the content is on my blog. But the loss of one year’s worth of works-in-progress is sad.

Fortunately, because I use separate flash drives for different writing projects, nothing else was impacted.

There is a multitude of ways to save, store and retrieve data, and for now, this way seems to work for me. I think the fact that my loss wasn’t what I would consider catastrophic, proves that it is effective… to a point.

This way of doing things also served me well when my PC was in the repair shop a while back. With my blog content on the flash drive (as opposed to the hard drive which was in the shop), I was still able to post to my blog account by using the laptop instead.

A few years ago, I think I would have been devastated. But this time, I seemingly rolled with the punches a lot better than I typically would have.

The reality is that I have so many ideas for blog posts jotted down on index cards, losing a few doesn’t seem nearly as shocking. Plus I have many thoughts residing on the Notes app of my iPad. And of course, my brain is still churning out ideas daily, so I am never really short on ideas.

I am confident that it won’t take long to replace lost works-in-progress with new ones.

Anybody who works with computers knows that we need to save our files regularly. Saving often is critical because computers act up, screens freeze and power outages do sometimes happen. And because accidents happen and equipment sometimes fails (without advance notice), we need to backup those precious files.

And they are precious, because these seedlings of creation are what keep bloggers like me going. As long as I have some fresh ideas ahead of me, and blogging continues to be fun, I will keep blogging.

When technology is working well for prolonged periods, I believe that we get lulled into a false sense of security that relaxes our outlook on saving and backing up. That is, until something like this happens, and then the rules get strictly enforced again.

My takeaway from this experience and my message to everyone is a reminder to save your content and back up your content… often! And just to be on the safe side, if you use flash drives regularly, have a plan in place to replace them every few years.

Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox. Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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