Blowing the 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 –