Sunday, November 05, 2006

Computer Woes and The Art of Being Organized

Organization. The first thing I think of when I hear that word is my husband. And we are a good example of "opposites attract".

So guess where that leaves me.

He's a filer. I'm a piler. His hangers are all lined up and color coded (well, that's an exaggeration, but they are evenly spaced). My clothes are lucky to see hangers. (Isn't that what the backs of chairs are made for?) His toothpaste tube, razor, bottles of aftershave lotion and can of shaving cream have precise spots where they always reside. My cosmetics and toothpaste tube end up, well, wherever they end up. He eats the same thing for breakfast every morning and follows the exact same routine. I eat whatever strikes my fancy each morning and my schedule changes hourly.

So I guess you get the picture. :)

However, I'm much more organized with my writing, although you wouldn't know it by looking at my desk/area on the couch where I keep my laptop. I have nice files for everything on my computer. I have a folder for every manuscript, and a folder within those folders for every submission I send. I have an Excel spreadsheet tracking my number of words written daily or hours spent revising or judging or critiquing. I have another document that tracks each manucript for contests and submissions. I have a place for everything and everything in its place.

Except for the synopsis that I needed today as I was getting ready to print my revision to send off to the editor. NOT ONE COPY OF THAT SYNOPSIS THAT I COULD ACCESS!

The problem was that my old computer crashed every time I tried to open a Word document. I could click on "My Documents", then on that particular manuscript's folder. I could see that whole list of synopses I'd written over the months I had worked, and revised, and sent to contests, and revised again. Yet I could not get to them.

So then I had to go into piler mode. I dug through old piles of contest entries--all those dusty Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes. I found several for that manuscript and was thrilled! But then I started reading them. They were all an older version--a version I barely remembered. (Did the niece really have an appendectomy in that version? Did the heroine really propose to him halfway through the book?!)

At least I had something to go on. But it took me literally all day to write that synopsis. It's a draining activity, and I had to take a break to read email. Yes, I'm good at procrastinating, too. (And you guessed it, my husband has never procrastinated in his life. Of course.)

I learned a lesson today. No matter how oraganized we might be, files can still get lost or become inaccessible. I'm truly thinking about using one of those online backup services. Just think how much easier it would have been today if I had.

Any recommendations out there? Do you use one of those services?



Myra said...

Missy, Missy, Missy. Yes, I use an online backup service. Quicken. Costs me about $15/month for oodles of storage space. There are less expensive options depending on how much space you want. My computer is set to automatically back up my important files every evening. It's saved my you-know-what more than once. :>)

Missy T said...

Thanks, Myra! I need to do some research.