If It’s Not Broken, Don’t Transfer Your Novel

I lost three hours of editing today.

For the last five years – wow, that sounds like a long time – I’ve been working under a pen name on my first contemporary romance-mystery novel. After editing my novel over and over, I’m on the last edit before it’s off to publishers.

During those five years, I used five computers, fried two laptops, wrote almost over one million words, slashed 300K words in chunks, killed off people, brought them back, and listened to “Out of the Woods” by Taylor Swift over 5000 times.

This novel is my baby, and I have two other works in progress (WIP). It’s a tough balance.


But this is it: the final edit.

And I thought I’d make life easier by transferring my baby into Google Docs.

First of all, this laptop doesn’t have Microsoft Word. All of my other computers had Microsoft Word. What computer doesn’t have Microsoft Word!

This one. It has OpenOffice, which saves in a .odt. But I save it to a Word format. However, it’s not the same.

I have a newer laptop. Why don’t I used that computer since it’s collecting dust? And it has Word? Oh, I’ll be transferring after today.

I was editing and the so-called awesome idea popped into my head. I did a “save as” just in case the transfer didn’t work. Smart, right? Right?  I saved the edits as Word doc, and I made another word doc with the same file.

Because I wanted to save three hours of editing.

I went into Google Docs, and I transferred the word document. But, when I chose the document I chose all documents rather than Microsoft Word. On this laptop saving as a Word doc is an option, not an actual format.

To my surprise, the file crashed and became corrupt. It wouldn’t reopen. But I had the foresight to save the original document. Phew.
Nope. Somehow, I lost my edits. Three hours worth. Needless to say, I was a little ticked.

Whenever I edit, I back up my work. Thumb Drive. Saved on the C drive – ingrained in me since college should my computer crash – again.

But I guess sometimes, you can’t save everything.

Moral of the story.

Five years working on a novel sounds like a long time. I used to write and edit every day, but over the last three years, it’d been rather difficult. Excuses aside, when you have a method that works – and you call yourself a writer – do what’s working.

Shortcuts are tempting. Especially when you have other works in progress. But if you’re making progress and everything is going well, don’t change your method. Remember, the tortoise won the race, not the hare.

Because I have to make up for those lost hours.

Obviously still not out of the woods.

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