I just had quite the scare.
I was going to gather together a couple of my flash fiction pieces for a submissions call, so I opened up my Writing folder on my computer.

There’s only one item in it — the book I’m currently working on.

I searched through my other folders and all four of my drives. Nothing. I have an entire folder full of prepared manuscripts that I’ve submitted — my best stories. I search for it by name. No results found.

I start retracing my steps. My husband built my desktop as a Christmas present. Shortly after that, we started preparing for our 1,000 mile move across the country. My old computer had a failing hard drive, so I pulled everything off from it in a rush. Obviously, I failed to retrieve my writing folder.

Cue existential crisis. Five years of writing. Gone. Thankfully, I love paper, so my best short stories are printed and in a folder. But not my flash fiction. Only one of my novels. None of my screenplays.

Maybe I’m okay with that. I felt that all that work was practice, after all. I know I’m a better writer now. But hell if the thought of losing ALL of that isn’t extremely painful. Besides, the work I did last November was good and I was planning on getting back to it when I finish Blueprint Homeschooling.

Then I remembered that I used to do most of my writing on my netbook. I also kept my writing folder backed up there so I could work anywhere. I fished the netbook out of the closet and loaded it up, praying the whole time. I couldn’t remember if I’d accessed my writing via the network or if I really had duplicate copies shared across my systems.

I may have felt like crying when I saw it was all there. Not deleted. Not gone forever. All my craptastic writing still exists to remind me how far I’ve come. I’m relieved. And slightly mortified. Now this means I have to do things with those old stories.

I hope you all have backup systems in place, writerly people. And I hope you take better care of your stories than I do. I keep mine locked up in a cage in the basement, when they should be allowed to run free in the wild. Poor stories. I will make it up to them. I will love them and care for them and find readers to adopt them.

Do you have back ups in place? I’m certainly glad I was using Windows Live Mesh before it went defunct. I’ll be adopting better systems in the future!