Ernest Hemingway:

As Ernest Hemingway once said...
'All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'

Thursday, May 24, 2012

saving your work

So, I'm kind of anal.  Sometimes maybe a little more than 'kind of'.  But when it comes to saving my writing, it's borderline manic.

Not only do I save everything on a flash drive that is carried on my person at all times, but I back it up on an external hard drive connected to my home computer.  Sometimes I even email myself WIPs so I can store them in my in-box and can get to them from anywhere.

But that's just the physical storage aspect.  On the flash drive are lists of folders, subdivided, subdivided again, and you guessed it, more subdivisions.  Everything I've ever written is on there (well everything since the dawn of the computer...yes, I've been writing since before personal computers really existed - not counting the Apple IIC).  I even wrote on a typewriter.  Oh, the good ol' days.

I rarely write over anything.  Or delete anything.  Which means some WIPs have in excess of ten drafts.  Some queries have twenty-five plus versions.  Sometimes only a word or two is different.  Some WIPs versions are saved with appropriate song placement in the margin notes (yes, I already have the soundtracks for the movie versions planned out - did I mention I'm anal?).  My current WIP has eighteen versions.  Eighteen.  I've been working on it for five plus years, on and off.  Some are written in past tense.  Some in present.  Some in first person, some in third.  There have been four different working titles, and twenty-one query versions (only because at least twelve of the manuscripts were done before I even knew what a query was (ah, the good ol' days)).

Poems, songs, short stories, essays, notes, how-to guides (my own), old writers' group exercises, notes from classes, my bio, a list of ideas, reviews I've given to others, not to mention novels and all that goes along with them (synopsis-es?  or i?, character outlines, story outlines, covers), it's all on there.  I mean if that thing crashes I'm lost.  Which is why it's backed up on an external drive close to the front door so in case of a fire I can grab it and run.  And then go back in for my husband and child.

My point is this.  Never do I want to get to a place where I wish I'd saved something, because in addition to being anal, I'm also very quick to act without thinking it through.  So my new project has also gone through a a couple of changes, and now that my finished manuscript is ready for readers, I'm ready to attack it.  But one glance at the writing confirmed it sucked.  So, instead of picking at it, I decided to trash it and start over.  Dumb.  You'd think I'd have learned by now.  So even though it was only 3000 words, I'm wishing I hadn't done that.  It's not a disaster.  Far from it.  But still, suck.

Are you anal about saving too?  Or more a by-the-seat-of-your-pantser?

1 comment:

Kelly Hashway said...

I save everything multiple times. Losing something is scary.