Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Blowing the Whistle

Posted on Jan 17, 2010 by Lisa Ricard Claro   7 Comments | Posted in brain freeze · horn · whistle
Since my last post was all about tooting my own horn, it seems fitting that equal time be awarded to blowing the whistle.  On myself.  So in the interest of fairness you will now be treated with how I blew it.
On Wednesday last I spent a couple hours sitting in Starbucks working on a flash fiction story for a contest.  The deadline was Friday and I finished two days early, with one day for final editing.  I clicked “save” several times, shut down my laptop, slurped the remainder of my grande skinny caramel latte (only 3 Weight Watcher points, y’all) and moved on.
Friday rolled around and I went searching for my story.  Nada.  It disappeared into the black hole that is MS Word.  I did a full file and document search, all to no avail.  My brilliant flash fiction was a fizzle in the motherboard.  
“No problem,” said I.  “I am a writer. I will write.”  And so I did.  
Though not as pleased with the second version of my story I deemed it not complete trash and proceeded with the electronic submission.  Since the submission guidelines were clear regarding only one submission per author–and get it right, Shakespeare, because once you hit “send” there are no revisions allowed–I triple checked my work.  Contact info at the top left of page one? Check.  Word count less than 500? Check.  Double-spaced using Times Roman 12? Check. Check to every blessed thing that was required, a big sigh of relief, and then, SEND
As is my MO, I blind copied myself on the submission to be sure it went through.  It did, but when I opened the story attachment what did I see? Enough to make me cry, that’s what.  The attachment was wrong.  Where was my contact info? What happened to the double spacing? The file name was correct, and I knew I had the piece submission-ready.  So what happened?
This is where it gets nasty, my friend.  What happened was this:  I am an old bagger who is a technology dweeb.  
See, due to a recent and costly encounter with a computer virus, I now save everything in three places: laptop, external hard drive, and flash drive.  Since I completed the first version of my story while lounging in a Starbucks, it was never backed up on the external or flash drives in my home office.  I decreed, then, that the rewrite be saved in every damn place; and so it was.  Being old and memory-challenged, however, I did not save the final version in every location.  I thought it saved to the C-drive, so that was the file I attached to the submission.  Nope.  Turns out the final draft was ensconced ever-so-safely on the F-drive.  Safe, sound, and destined NOT to be read by a flash fiction judge.  Instead, its evil twin made the electronic journey.
The moral of the story is threefold:  1. Getting old sucks; 2. Computers were created to drive us mad; and 3. Scintillating storytelling is no match for middle-aged brain freeze.
Think of me while I thaw out.
Til next time –


7 Responses to "Blowing the Whistle"

  1. Comment by anita
    January 18, 2010 at 11:33 am  

    Oh, Lisa, I laughed out loud. I know it's not funny for you after all that work which I know was brilliant and should be read by judges. But you have created a perfect piece here for Writer's Digest about what can happen with a submission. Please, send out this blog as a piece because it's great and the computer mess-up probably is the proverbial "blessing in diguise." I love your writing style.

  2. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    January 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm  

    Thanks, Anita! Your kind words almost make me feel better about being a noodlehead. LOL I'll take your advice on the WD submission and let you know how it goes.

  3. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    January 20, 2010 at 12:47 am  

    Um, what? You got a back-up for the back-up for the back-up??? (But I'm giving you props for trying to outtech technology.)P.S. Sorry!P.P.S. I kinda laughed, too. Sorry!

  4. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    January 20, 2010 at 6:38 am  

    LOL Yeah…I'm just a little paranoid. In a bizarre twist of fate, my story is currently in the first round finals, so the editor took pity on me. (I did send a nice little follow-up apology for the snafu. Maybe it pays to grovel…who knew?)

  5. Comment by BECKY
    January 22, 2010 at 12:48 am  

    Hi Lisa! I loved the way you wrote about your "mishap"! I would've been cussing like a sailor…and maybe you did!…But, I also must agree with Cathy C…..If I had that many back-ups, I'm sure I'd get things totally screwed up…not once, not twice, but three times! I usually refer to myself as THE Queen of Forgetful!

  6. Comment by Carrie
    January 25, 2010 at 1:12 pm  

    Lisa…. getting old really stinks..look on the bright side…you still have ten fingers 😀 … Thank God computers don't have swirling blades that your fingers can get caught in!

  7. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    January 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm  

    Oh, geez! Don't give Bill Gates any ideas! Next thing you know Windows will be replaced with something called Workshop and then we'll really be in trouble. Swirling blades, sparking engines, plywood everywhere. Yikes! I can't even operate the TV remote, for pity's sake.

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