Murphy’s Law of Technology – a cautionary tale for authors! ~ Donna Carrick

Donna CarrickSpring is in the air…er…sort of.

In keeping with our tempermental weather, this author has found the season to be a tad unpredictable, in more ways than one.

Every challenge brings us an opportunity to learn, and the struggles of an independent author/publisher are no exception. With that in mind, allow me to share with you, dear reader, my latest “lesson in technology”.

In May, 2011 I purchased a laptop from Dell — one of their better models, to say the least. Given my other job as an e-Publisher (See Carrick Publishing) I felt the expense was warranted, and I was not disappointed with the decision.

As part of my package from Dell, I also purchased Microsoft Office 2010 and Adobe Acrobat 9.0. I found these tools to be invaluable in my day-to-day writing and e-publishing journey.

Then came “the crash of 2013”, also known as the “birthday debacle”, because it occured a couple of weeks ago, on my most recent birthday.

As a result of said ‘debacle’, yours truly lost almost everything.

A collection of high-end software that would bring a tear to the eye of any self-respecting geek, gone, just like that.

Precious e-Files, that cost more woman-hours of labour than I care to admit, disappeared, in an instant of horror, back into the dust of creative imaginings.

After much debate with both Microsoft and Adobe, I was forced to admit defeat. Because 2 years have passed and I no longer can recall exactly where I stored the product keycodes, neither Dell, nor Microsoft, nor even fine Adobe will offer to help me. The sad conclusion: I’m being forced to re-purchase the vital software at today’s not-to-be-sneezed-at prices.

There was one saving grace, however — one area in which my pride can be redeemed. At least I had the good sense to back up the most important of my e-files!

And so, my friends, here is the lesson I’d like to share with you all in the midst of this so-called Spring we’re experiencing:


Not to put too fine a point on it, ladies and gentlemen, whether you’re a writer, a business-person, an artist or a hobbyist, the lesson is the same:

Back up those files, and for goodness sake, if you purchase a software, keep your product code in a safe place!

And now, at last, the sun is shining here in the True North. We’ve been led to believe that Spring will finally, er, spring.

In the spirit of renewal and vigor that April brings, I wish you all a season of productivity, creativity, and much attention to backing up your work!

Donna Carrick is the author of 3 mystery novels: The First Excellence, Gold And Fishes, and The Noon God. At her Amazon Author page, you’ll also find her two Crime Anthologies: Sept-Iles & other places and Knowing Penelope. Under Carrick Publishing, she also compiled, edited and contributed to the multi-genre anthology EFD1: Starship Goodwords, featuring 21 of today’s talented authors and poets, including a few of our own Mesdames of Mayhem!

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7 Responses to Murphy’s Law of Technology – a cautionary tale for authors! ~ Donna Carrick

  1. martisima says:

    As always, Donna is funny and coherent and lovely and funny (oh… I have already said that), and everything! Love her books!!!!!!

  2. cathyastolfo says:

    A fabulous, humorous way to give a serious message. Thanks, Donna! I’m off now – going to BACK UP!!

  3. AAACK!!! The worst of all nightmares! So glad I have a Time Capsule, and a patient publisher who lets me send in every chapter as soon as it’s written, just for back up.

  4. Donna, so sorry to hear that. I had it once fifteen years ago. My old Toshiba developed a fault, and I noticed it when I saved my work in progress. So, being sensible, I backed up the document (over 100,000 words). Only later did I find that the bug was duplicated over my backups, and it ensured that I lost 40,000 words across all backups. A day of sheer hell.

    So now, I use Apple only (fewer bugs), I have a local backup drive that copies everything every few hours automatically, as well as using remote data sites like Dropbox to ensure that even if the worst comes to the worst, I still have a copy somewhere.

    You have my deepest sympathy!

  5. Oh, Donna, I totally identify with your cautionary tale today. I’ve been working on a proposal for my publisher for my next novel, and I had an extended synopsis with ideas at the end for the third book in the series. Imagine my horror when I went looking for it on my laptop and in Dropbox and found I’d accidentally saved an earlier, shorter, not nearly as brilliant (ahem) version in both places. My cats had no idea I knew that sort of language! My saving grace: an external hard drive at my office that automatically backs up my laptop and had not written over the document I wanted. Phew! It’s now saved in three places *and* printed just to be safe.

    The best backups are the ones you don’t think about, I guess. I’m sorry to hear about your product codes, but I’m glad your important files are safe!


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