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When The Universe Strikes


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Gather round, friends, it’s storytime with Cathy. 

It was midday Tuesday, and I sat down at my desk, opened my laptop to a word document, and began to write this very blog post. I had an idea, and once I got started, the words flowed. To be exact, 239 words were on the page when out of the blue, my curser stopped. 

At first, I thought it was the mouse, and so I tried to direct the curser manually. But that did not fix the problem and as I realized my laptop had frozen, my cell phone rang. 

ME: Hold on a sec, I need to figure out what to do about this document on this &^&^* frozen laptop.

DAUGHTER: Uh-Oh. (And then Daughter went into a long story about her work laptop and how she had to purchase a new one and eventually circled back to built-in obsolescence which happens to be a thing we both believe exists. And regularly targets members of the Hall family.) 

ME: I’ll have to shut down to get my laptop going again so I’m going to take a picture of what I’ve written, just in case it’s not automatically recovered. But boy am I glad that I wasn’t working on my novel! 

And so that’s what I did and we continued to chat about whatever was the purpose of the call and I was fine with that because it was not too terribly late and I had plenty of time to write the blog post. 

So I went back to Word and sure enough, there was the blog post but a few paragraphs of what I’d written were missing. No problem, I thought, and I pulled up the image, re-wrote the part I’d lost, and then continued on my merry way. I required a few finishing touches but I wanted to catch the news so I minimized the doc.

Now it’s around 6 and I sat down again to do those few edits; I was in a hurry because that’s usually the time I get my novel-writing done. But first, I remembered that I hadn’t emailed my manuscript to me and since my laptop was getting wonkier and wonkier every day, I took care of that business. And then, I added the last few sentences and saved my blog post. 

But I had an uneasy feeling about that save function. Something about it didn’t feel right so I double-checked my documents. Yep, there it was so I pulled up the doc and…no blog post. Nothing but a big blank page. 

Okay, I tell myself not to panic. The document is there, I just have to find it. But I don’t remember how to find unsaved and/or deleted documents. And so for forty-five minutes, I watch helpful videos and try EVERYTHING POSSIBLE. 

You can probably guess what happened next. There was no document. Nada, zilch, zero. At this point, I could attempt to remember every word I’d written and re-write. Or I could eat (It was, after all, 7:40) and then watch The Voice.

So here’s the thing: if the Universe destroys your blog post not once, but TWICE, I think one should listen. So I ditched that blog post, enjoyed The Voice, and sat back down at my laptop at 9:00 to work on my Nano manuscript.

Now, I’m not one of those people who write late at night. At 9:30 or so, I’m taking care of household chores that don't require too much brain power (like washing clothes or opening mail) and I had a whole list of things to do. But I employed a little “planned neglect” and managed to get my word count in by 10:45 or so. 

When next we meet, friends, I’ll tell you all about planned neglect and how it can make you a better writer. But the moral of this particular story (written Wednesday afternoon) is this: Don’t waste your time crying over spilt milk (or lost words from a blog post). Also, built-in obsolescence is real and out to get you so make sure you have a reliable back up system. And finally, this blog post is way better than that other one. I mean, would you have wanted to read all about grammar? 

Exactly. (You can thank The Universe.)

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