Thursday, December 31, 2015



A few years ago, back in the day when laptops were rarely seen and only a lucky few had them, much less a home computer – I watched a movie about a writer who had put his entire newly written novel onto his laptop.  In a few seconds he managed to trip and the laptop went flying out of his hands onto the street. Before he could stand up a truck ran over the computer, flattening it and the novel was gone forever.  The anguish the man suffered was properly conveyed on the screen, and I’m sure every writer in the world could feel his pain.

What am I going to do now?

I sat there wondering – didn’t he at least print that novel or save it on a floppy? (I just aged myself even more, didn’t I?)

All that hard work -  95,000 words - and I never even had it printed!

Well, I took it to heart. I made a regular habit to back up my writings religiously to a computer, flash drive (these days), and at least 1 email to myself to save it electronically.   The latter I did mostly for access purposes to write on something from wherever I am.  Now we have ‘clouds’, but by either email or uploading into cyberspace, it still saved my work regardless of the reason.


"Where's the diary, Dr. Jones?
"You have it - in your pocket."

Bandits supposedly broke into my house and stole all the electronics in the house (mine and a roommates), including my laptop.

I feel so............nothing. 
I had backed up everything up until about 4 weeks before the break in.

My flashdrive was (thankfully!) in another location of the house, and inconspicuously hidden, so the backed up work was not all lost. Not all, but that’s another whole story.

Thank God I remembered where he kept the extra copy!

And they couldn’t take my back-ups on email.   I changed my passwords immediately anyway but still – it was tucked away in e-pockets they never would know about.

They will never find it - right HERE!

The only thing I lost were updated drafts of a few things I had written that last few weeks up to the day of the break-in.  That I would have to rewrite again. (sigghhhh)

I need what's in here - on the paper, Dr. Jones!

PLUS – the laptop had a password login protection.  If they still got in, then stolen my copyrights – I’d have proof of about 98% of it that it was mine.  Snagged.  Done deal.  Pay up at the court window.

Snagged! Turn over the rights, son!

I miss some of those things I just about finished, and now have to re-start from old drafts.  This crime was not just of techy value, but a jab to the soul, a crime of the heart.

My new work is gone.
But take heart - this evolved me too, so good things came out of it.

The Importance of our Creative Work

Each piece is a new baby, needing attention, some love for it from the heart, sunlight and growth (editing), and to be seen.  I took a lot of time brain storming and crafting each piece, which entitles any artist to be very upset when work is plagiarized or entirely disappears.

Willie was right! This diamond is so perfect, it glows!
Not just written pieces but all kinds of art work should be photographed, logged and saved in several different places.

How dependent I had become to digital.

This robbery also showed me just how much I had become dependent on digital.  Too dependent.  I was forced to revert to my old legal pad and good pens days, the good old days.

Let me tell you – I still wrote a lot by hand.  I even appreciated being able to write on a tablet of paper when I would have previously been worried about knocking over drinks onto my laptop, but it wasn’t a problem for a few weeks.

Oh be serious!....I'm perfectly able my compu......ummmm.

Plus I had the written proof of a few new ideas that are MINE!

I started 4 stories on paper.  (Of course when I finally got a laptop I typed them into documents.)  By sheer determination to keep going despite my lack of digital freedom.  

I'm going back in - by hand!
It took some getting used to again, and my mind was faster than my hand so it was a little frustrating and I had to keep making little notes of bigger points/plots so I didn’t forget anything, but I still managed to write at least 1 legal pad full of stories.

Drawing....(ehem) DRAFTING ideas for a story.  Yep!

I had to – or I would have burst.

Crap - She waited too long!

Inventory it!
Keep some kind of manuscript log.  This is another way of not only keeping dibs on what you send out into the cold dark cyber world, but a simple spreadsheet can help you keep track of when it was sent, to whom, how long of a response time to expect, simultaneous submissions allowed, money earned or spent, contests, etc. 

I know I sent that story to an anthology sometime in.......

Make it work for you!  And back that up into a hidden corner as well.

........and now I just have to find that manuscript in a shoe box in my garage....'s in here somewhere....

Tag it!
One of the first things the Detective asked me was the description of the laptop and did I have any kind of ID numbers saved so they can maybe track it and capture the criminal and my property.

I didn’t have those numbers, although I did lock the screen and changed all my passwords. Still, that was a dumb move on my part.   Learn from my mistake here.  Take pictures of all S/N numbers, Windows Product ID, service ID and the kind of computer you have and all the tags on it.
I'll laser my name onto my laptop!

Same for your smaller toys.  Send yourself an email to several places with those pics and typed information, load it in the clouds, hire a personal security team to guard it or hide it in your shoes.  Whatever way you fancy, keep some kind of documentation records of your pertinent toys, and keep them relatively accessible in case of a robber or plagiarist.

If this (God-forbid) ever happens to me again – they will be BUSTED quickly!

I want my laptop back!  YOU would have done the same!

I Have To Create
SIMPLY PUT-  I HAVE TO WRITE or I will implode or something equally horrific! No robbers, doctors, surgeons, faith healers, or plagiarizers could possibly stop this disease I have.  I really don’t want them to try either.

(See my story in September about NEVER KEEPING A WRITER FROM WRITING!)

Triple-quadruple backup everything!

The Good News!

I did finally get a new computer – and it took 2 months but well worth the wait because it was exactly what I needed for so many things!

I know it's my medallion but it's for my new laptop!

I had to save for it and do some research, dodging several slick salespeople, and serious flash saving but I did it, sacrificing some needs and comforts to buy it!

At last - back on the Wifi and writing again!

The prize to the one who finds my old computer!

Oh, I would kiss him for a lot less of a reason!


  1. Talk about finding the silver lining. So many helpful ideas for how to survive a technology crash! I hope you never have to deal with that again, Janice. Happy New Year!

  2. Great advice with a sense of humor added in to encourage all writers to be ever so vigilant in protecting their "stuff". Kudos to the writer