A Cautionary Tale…

Once upon a time there was a writer – we’ll call her ‘Hatty’* who had a brilliant idea: she would go to the local university library for the day, armed with her laptop, a flask of coffee and a pack of mince pies and there she would write, uninterrupted by housework or Facebook (and rather cleverly using the library’s heating and electricity instead of her own).

And lo, it came to pass that she did.

She arrived at the library at 10am and left at 6pm (rather tired and zombie-fied. Please remember this).

She spent the evening at home feeling rather smug. “Yes, I was in the library all day….” she boasted on the phone to friends and family. All was well with the world.


About 10pm that night when she realized that she had left her memory stick in the computer. (At the end of the day, for some variety, Hatty had packed away her laptop and used one of the library PCs, on the ground floor, where there is student chatter and eating and drinking is allowed. She was ‘down with the kids’. What fun!).

With trembling fingers, Hatty rang the library (it stays open until midnight. Handy). No-one answered.

She tried to push the thought from her mind that, apart from a couple of files, nothing on that memory stick was backed up! (I know, I know…! It’s hilarious). Not just everything she’d worked on that day, but loads of stories, article ideas and ‘work in progress’ stuff was potentially lost for ever…

She rang her long-suffering beloved who calmly suggested a mercy dash to the library, to try to retrieve said memory stick. He drove. Fast. It was a long, tense journey.

She kept thinking,”What if…?”

When they arrived, Hatty stormed into the building. Librarians scattered. There were still people there – working! But there was no-one on that PC station – she looked, she saw, she breathed out – she grabbed it! The memory stick WAS STILL THERE!

And when they got home, Hatty and her beloved had a couple of stiff drinks and backed everything up. For more information on backing-up your work – just in case you know anyone as stupid as ‘Hatty’ – see Simon Whaley’s useful post here.

*’Dopey’ might actually be more appropriate

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9 Responses to A Cautionary Tale…

  1. Novel Girl says:

    Omg. This is hilarious! Thank you for sharing your tale of horror. I loved it!

    I actually have frights like this often. See, unlike many normal people, I forget my memory stick in my work computer. All the time. I bet one day the cleaner will pinch it.

  2. Julia says:

    Why do we always think, ‘It’ll never happen to me!’? I’ve just put ‘Investigate DropBox’ on my to-do list, thanks.

  3. Prue says:

    I shouldn’t laugh. It’s terrible to lose something valuable, and I’m not as nifty at backing up things as I could be.

    At work, when I’d collected results, I’d back them up on the computer, and on the main server, and on a disc, and take another copy home and lock it in the filing cabinet. Verging on paranoia perhaps, but the thought of losing a couple of year’s work was unthinkable!
    Interestingly, I realise I don’t treat my words with the same degree of importance. Hmmm…
    Thanks for that, Helen.

  4. Linda says:

    I’ve had a few dodgy moments myself this week, when I’ve found that my memory stick wasn’t where I thought it should be. Thankfully, like you, I’ve managed to find it again. I’ve been reading recently about saving your work online, where you can access it from any computer and where any changes are automatically updated on you main computer. For someone like me who works in various locations it could be a good option – unless the internet is down that is. Perhaps my New Year’s resolution should be look into the various options – it might save those extra grey hairs!


  5. Jenny Francis says:

    Glad it was a case of all ends well. My computer crashed about a month ago, nothing backed up , screams and pulling out of hair. Now I back up every thing, whoops need to back up my last two short story`s .

  6. Poor Hatty (or Heather? anyway, definitely someone whose name starts with H) can imagine how stressful that was for you, er I mean her.

    I use Dropbox myself as an extra back up. Seems like a good method.

    • Patsy – yes, was ‘Heather’ to start with but I changed it to ‘Hatty’ as I have a couple of ‘followers’ (if that doesn’t sound too biblical!) who are called Heather and wanted to avoid that!!!


  7. Simon Whaley says:

    Glad my blog posting inspired a posting for you! 😉

    Your Writing mag article inspired my latest blog posting (12th December 2011)!

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