Five Ways to lose your WIP on your PC

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Photo by Kat Jayne on

Recently, I lost an entire chapter of my novel. A stupid mistake that caused me precious time and lots of angst rewriting. It was agony to redo, when I couldn’t remember those great phrases and dialog I’d labored over weeks before. I remember a few other times I lost documents.  So here is my list of how to lose your manuscript in ten seconds.

  1. Never save. This is the curse of older computers. Most PC save automatically. Even if they shut down, there is a temporary save option. If you’re not sure, go to settings to choose how often your word program saves.
  2. Don’t save on the Cloud. Fear of the unknown or new technology can keep you away from a great place to store data. I use One Drive, it’s Microsoft’s piece of the cloud. I can access that from any device. If my computer dies all my docs are secure in the Cloud.
  3. Don’t save on a flash drive. It takes a few extra minutes to save work on a flash drive. Again, if your computer dies, you have a back-up. If you’re worried someone will steal your manuscript, then plug in the drive and write to the flash drive only. You can carry your words around on a keychain hooked to your person.
  4. Write when your exhausted That is the prefect way to increase your chances of overwriting your latest draft. Exhaustion is an evil taskmaster. I saved chapter 20 as chapter 12 and when the warning message came up, do you want to replace chapter 12 I clicked yes. Then I shut my laptop lid and walked away. If I had left my work up and not shut the lid, my computer nerd peeps could have rescued it. Once you shut the lid on a laptop, the computer finalizes the replacement. Only some heavy-duty cyber skills can retrieve those words, you risk losing some important files while they deep dive for it.
  5. Don’t heed the battery low light.

It is so easy when the low battery message flashes to think I have enough time to finish this one line before I plug it in, then it’s the paragraph or the page. Then blackness fills the screen and if your computer has no autosave, you are doomed.


Can you add another tip for losing your manuscript permanently? I need someone to commiserate with.


13 thoughts on “Five Ways to lose your WIP on your PC

  1. Well said, Cindy. I would add to your writing exhausted segment, you can do as I did last night, and if you have a really sensitive mouse pad like mine and have your manuscript jump to a previous chapter and begin writing right in the middle of it. Then, when you are saving at the end, you get to go back later and find just where you wrote that brilliant prose that you just could not go to bed until you finished.

    At least I enjoy reading my own work! (I made a few tweaks along the way as I looked for the errant paragraphs this morning.)


  2. Good post! I’m sorry you lost a chapter. That is rough.

    My methods: I save constantly (and have auto-save set to every minute, though I’m not trusting that entirely), email myself an attachment of the entire project (gmail to Yahoo!–that way i have it saved online in two places) after each session, and use a flash drive when I remember (I need to be better about that.) I need to utilize the cloud better.

    After having my mom accidentally save her document over my first novel at the tender age of twelve, I am now paranoid. Cheers! ~Beth


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