JM: My biggest mistake as a writer was nothing to do with typography. It was a hardware issue actually. This was at a time before the Internet. I was working on my first novel in two different locations and carrying the text back and forth on a floppy disk. I had just completed it and was saving from the floppy onto my hard drive when – and God alone knows why – I pulled my disk out before the transfer was complete. I corrupted the disk and the file didn't save properly.
Fine, you say, just go back to the other machine and copy the file again. Well, there's the rub. I hadn't saved a copy on that hard drive. My only copy was on the floppy and that was now unreadable. The last copy I had saved was 40,000 words long. I had lost 10,000 words, a fifth of my novel which I had to completely rewrite from notes. Luckily, at the time, I had taken copious notes and I had no real problems, it was just a chore, but I can tell you there was no talking to me for a couple of days.
Now I have Word set up so that it backs up constantly and I hit 'CTRL-S' after every sentence. And when I'm editing I save after every change. I also have copies on two machines and on two backup hard drives. Overkill? You tell me.
Jim Murdoch is a Scottish writer living just outside Glasgow. His poetry appeared regularly in small press magazines during the seventies and eighties. In the nineties he turned to prose-writing and has completed four novels and a collection of short stories. His first novel, Living with the Truth, came out in 2008 and the sequel, Stranger than Fiction, was published in August 2009. You can find out more about him on his blog, The Truth About Lies. Visit Jim at his blog: http://jim-murdoch.blogspot.com/
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