Back It Up!

IMG_5761Everything was perfect. My family was going on a long road trip without me while I started a new job. The plan was to spend every minute of free time working on my second novel—sequel to the forthcoming BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. This meant a lot of late nights and early mornings for a week-and-a-half. It also included an ambitious “10,000 word Saturday” during which I wrote 8,000 words over the course of 12 hours. Not bad for a hunt-and-peck guy.

I had sketched out some test chapters a few months earlier, but decided to start from scratch. I typed word one of the first chapter as my wife and kids pulled out of the driveway. The word count was at 28,000 when I left that Friday to join them for the final weekend of their trek.

I woke up on Monday morning and posted an author Q&A on this blog and left for work, like usual. Everything was fine, until my wife texted me later that afternoon to say that “something was wrong with the computer.” I rebooted the MacBook after dinner that night only to be greeted by the news that my hard drive had crashed and needed to be rebuilt. Almost all of my photos, music and documents are backed up in various ways, but a search for my new manuscript revealed that I was going to need some serious help. That was the one document that I never managed to save to the cloud.

Luckily, a close friend is an IT guy at a local university. He assured me that he had successfully saved files in similar situations many times before. After a couple of days of doing his damnedest, he texted to say that he was handing my machine over to some experts at work. By the end of the week he told me that he was enlisting the help of a company in Studio City called “$300 Data Recovery”. Guess how much it cost to have them extract my data?

Wrong! $382.

Right now I’m sitting at my desk, waiting for the external hard drive with my recovered data to arrive. The drive in my MacBook had crashed so hard that most of the files they recovered no longer had names. The only hope I have is that one of the hundred or so anonymous Word documents might be my manuscript.

I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out, but in the meantime please be smarter than me and back up all of your files. Regularly.

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.


  1. Sad. Hope you succeed. Perhaps, it will give you another reason to write in another style. Just being positive…;)

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