I was typing my way through the first draft of The Kingdom Thief and had just crossed the threshold of 41,000 words. (Can I just take a moment to say that I was extremely happy with how the story was shaping up?) I remember thinking to myself "I should probably email this to myself, just in case the Cloud isn't automatically backing this up." I turned off my laptop and put it away for a bit so I could put the kids to bed. I come back a while later and turn it back on to continue working. Well, I nearly had a heart attack as I watch my computer turn itself off before finishing booting up.
I grabbed my iPad and go on Apple Support. They tell me to hold down the shift key while booting to see if I can get to the safety start up. This doesn't work. I then read to hold down the command key to get to the recovery start up. Success! Now here, I am told to reload OSX. Well, my lovely hard drive is locked. This won't work. I call Apple Support and talk to a lovely woman who tells me that my only course of action is to reformat the hard drive. I nervously ask her if I will lose everything I've done on my lap top. We're talking about the first 41,000 words of The Kingdom Thief, the entire first draft of The Dybbuk's Revenge, the first 12,000 words of either a novella or novel (time will tell) set in Hadariah (as yet, unnamed), and pictures, music, etc. But my writing at this point is my primary concern. She tells me that as long as I have the cloud, it will all be fine. Also, everything else should be retrievable. I take a deep breath and follow her instructions. The damn thing STILL won't work!
In the morning, I make an appointment with the Genius Bar at my local Apple store. I also call Apple Support for good measure, because my cloud is surprisingly empty of documents when I look on my iPad. Here's where I start to have palpitations, cold sweats, and uncontrollable crying. The nice lady at Apple Support says "Of course it's all on the cloud. You were using Pages, right?" Of course I wasn't using Pages! I do everything on Word so I know it's all formatted correctly when I send it off to the publishers! I tell her this and she says "Oh sweety, it's all gone." I wonder if she's ever heard anyone having a nervous breakdown over the phone before.
I call the Apple store where I made my appointment and tell them my issue. They get a Genius on the phone with me. He tells me that they will fix my computer and make it work, but they don't really do document retrieval. If it's gone, it's gone. I am then told about a dozen times to "calm down. It's only a book. You can rewrite it. What was this for? You aren't some fanfic writer are you?" I wonder if I can punch someone in the face through the phone receiver. I am seriously having some daydreams along the lines of that scene in Nightmare on Elm Street where Freddy Kruger licks Nancy through the phone, only it's my fist instead of my tongue. I am too polite, and thank him for his help and hang up.
I consider tearing my hair out and call my friend Joel. I think I left him a tear-filled voicemail. He comes by, takes my laptop home with him, dismantles it and sets about using retrieval software on it. I spend the next ten hours compulsively texting him. The end result is that the scan found my documents!
So boys and girls, the lesson here is this: EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE! BACKUP YOUR WORK! EMAIL YOURSELF! Basically, take great pains that your stuff is in more than one location. I got lucky. Also, Joel, I owe you.