Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bummers and busts.

Well, Camp WriMo was a bust. I battled a little downturn in my mood earlier in the month, and could find no motivation whatsoever to work on From the Shadows. Then I got the awesome news about The Beauty in the Black Room and my motivation was renewed. But as seems to always be my luck, right when I was ready to get back to my work, my laptop decided to malfunction on me. I really can't say what happened, I just know that all of a sudden I could not get online anymore. Couldn't access some of the basic programming, or when I did it acted all wonky--for instance, in Word, the cursor kept jumping around and screwing my sentences up when I tried to write. 

Fearing that my data files could be damaged or lost, I bought an external hard drive to transfer them to. But the computer wouldn't or could not recognize the external. It's like it wasn't even there. Same thing with my little flash drive. So, I was able to get a friend who knows a bit about computers to look at it and we even hooked up a transfer cable from my laptop to hers. Her comp acknowledged the transfer cable right away, but once again, mine acted like it wasn't even there. She determined that because of that, and based on the error messages we'd see when we tried to do things, that the issue was not a software problem but a hardware problem--something inside the machine was loose or broken. I figured this might be a result of the laptop having been dropped. She then recommended I try seeing if the CD drive still worked, and transfer the files I wanted to save to disk. 

I was, thankfully, able to do that, but oddly enough the laptop would only recognize three disks--and they weren't even brand new ones. It wouldn't read the unused disks, kept telling me that they were either corrupt or needed formatting before use, something like that. So over the course of a week or so, I painstakingly moved files to those three disks, took those three disks and a 32GB flash drive to the library, and copied them to the flash. Once back at home, I would erase the disks and start over. The process was painstakingly slow and tedious, but I was determined to save all my pictures, all the photomanip art I had created, and of course my novel! 

Then one day last week, when there were but a handful of files to transfer, I nearly had meself a heart attack, because the computer suddenly stopped registering the built-in CD drive! I was in a panic, and kept restarting the old laptop to see if it would pick it up. It would not. At some point I did something I thought was probably futile, which was plug in the 32GB flash drive. Dunno why I did that, because it hadn't worked before. But when I went into My Computer after about the sixth or seventh restart, I noticed that although the CD drive still wasn't registering, miracle of miracles the flash was! So of course I immediately began transferring the remaining files to the flash.

In the course of all this nerve-wracking activity, I consulted a number of friends on whether or not it was prudent to get the laptop looked at to see if it could be repaired. A number of people said that sure, I should have it looked at to determine if it could be repaired, but that in the end, fixing it might cost me quite a bit. One fellow even told me about a friend whose computer was "totaled" over a simple loose wire. So I ultimately decided to put getting it looked at on hold, and to just buy a new laptop. Because honestly, I was going ape not being able to get online properly (was visiting the web via my Kindle Fire) or for very long (library only allows two 30-minute sessions a day). And I really have been wanting to get back into my writing. I want to get back to my book and get it finished so that I can move onto the next one. I want more of my books out there. I want to grow my audience, and of course my sales! 

So, just three days after ordering the new laptop, it arrived. Yay! Still getting used to it, as it has a different OS (old lappy had Windows Vista, new one has Windows 7), and the keyboard feels different. The lid doesn't latch like the lid on my old one does (old lappy: Acer; new lappy: Hewlett Packard). But that's okay, for the most part, as I only ever close the laptop for transportation; when it's sitting on my desk it's always open so it's always ready for me. Of course, I have to revisit and re-save all my favorite websites, but I suppose I am okay with that. It'll help me get used to it. Once I have all the sites saved (the ones I can remember, at any rate!) I'm gonna work on moving some of my data files to the hard drive, mostly just the ones I use most often. And of course, I plan on making some system recovery disks.

Anyhoo, friends... that has been my August. Once I get the new laptop set up, I'm going to get back to my novel. I've two days off from work this week, so I should get my nose back to the literary grindstone one of those days. Having talked about release dates and whatnot some with a fellow indie author, I'm setting myself a deadline to get the book finished. I plan to stick to it, so I gotta get this lappy set up quick! Just wanted to keep you all updated with what's been going on with me. Hope you all are well!

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