Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Bug Ate My Work, Don't Let It Eat Yours

The other day I was happily typing away, making great progress on a side-story that I had been working on intermittently for months. In the midst of typing, the entire document suddenly turned into asterisks. Every single word magically poofed into an asterisk before my eyes! My story was completely destroyed within a millisecond.

I tried everything I could possibly think of to bring it back, but the document had already been auto-saved and my attempts were useless. Unfortunately, I had not saved this particular story on my trusty flash drive (which I normally do, but since it was a side-story, I didn't bother) and was not connected to my Apple Time Capsule, so all of my hard work is literally gone forever.

My world is crushed. :( I'd gotten way more attached to this side story than expected.

The program I was using is the 2011 Microsoft Word, which I chose to use because it is practical and efficient for my business as an author. Upon doing research, I found that the mysterious "asterisk attack" was a bug within the MS Word application. Supposedly, the bug has been fixed and can now be prevented with a simple software update. I am skeptical.

The good news is that I have found an awesome program called, Scrivener - a word processing program made specifically for writers by Apple. I may just have to give all of my stories a new home. :)

I am sharing this with you as a reminder to always back up and save your work in multiple formats, regardless of how big, small, or seemingly unimportant. Technology is wonderful, but it can seriously backfire on you.

Lesson of the day: Never forget to back up your work!!!

Here are 6 ways to protect your precious documents:

1. Frequently save to a flash drive

2. Print hard copies

3. E-mail document to self or someone trustworthy

4. Back up on an external hard drive, Time Capsule, etc.

5. Create multiple saved versions on your computer

6. Regularly update software

Have you ever had technology backfire on you? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Melissa Kline


  1. That's awful. I'm so sorry.

    I used to email drafts to myself. But now I have Time Machine, which updates a couple of times a day. Hopefully I can shut down my computer and retrieve the old copy if anything awful like that happens. Several months ago, I was typing a paper for school, and spilled tea on my internal mouse. I hadn't saved the document anywhere, but the computer (pre Time Machine). I was freaking out. Luckily, the computer was okay.

  2. How awful, Melissa! Thanks for the reminder to save, save, save.

  3. I am fully aware of how dangerously on the edge I love with this! I have got to come up with a good back-up system. Sorry you lost your story - I hope you're able to remember it even better!

  4. Oh man, that definitely sucks but it's good it made you more aware! I'm obsessive about saving online after I lost EVERYTHING on my computer two years ago- ish. I definitely need to backup my whole computer, though, again!

    Have fun getting back to your story. Even though it'll take some work, it'll be worth it :)

  5. YIKES! Technology ... just this morning, Blogger messaged me that my blog had been deleted for unusual activity. WHAT?! Do you know how many a to z posts I've written and scheduled for next month? Sheesh! I panicked, but luckily, I was able to solve the problem and all was restored. Nonetheless, I copied and saved all of my April posts to another location, just in case.

  6. I do all of that...religiously!

  7. Hey Swagger- I fixed it. Here's how to get your paper back:

  8. Hi :) the same thing happened to me a few hours ago and my work was due midnight so yes my owrld is crushed. I cant believe I have to rewrite an entire math hl investigation T.T over again