Last week I realized the reason why I kept on losing my writing work. I’m a big fan of running libre software on my desktop. While I can’t do so comfortably at work, but at home I run Linux desktop exclusively. (Except to play the occasional Windows-only video game.) So I use OpenOffice for my word processing and hence writing. And I’m a big fan of using Open Document Formats. However working on ODTs (essentially ZIP archives with ODF XML files inside) from a USB flash drive is not the way to go. I guess the amount of saving and writing to disk, doesn’t help with prolonging the life of the flash memory. So I had to change my workflow to use Dropbox instead. I don’t want to wrangle with corrupt ODT files. To make a long story short, I had to do some lengthy rewrites which didn’t help with moving forward in my novel. However that has all been resolved, and I can say that I’m making good progress on the first chapter.
As I sat down to do some writing I couldn’t have expected it to happen. I had 15 minutes to kill, and so I thought that I would just fire up the current chapter I was working on. The rain ended my plans for a walk. But this I didn’t imagine. I didn’t imagine all my writing work disappearing… instead being replaced by a logged chat. Totally weird. Fortunately I managed to unzip the ODT, and recover the content by extracting bits of text out of an XML file. Well instead of working on the next part of the chapter, I had recover my work. Bummer. Anyways, after doing so I uploaded a copy of my work to Google Docs for safe keeping. So remember kids, backup, backup and mirror!
Anyways I’m experiementing with writing my novel in short 15-20 minute bursts. I’m hoping this lead to more output, in a short period of time. We’ll see how it goes.