Do you remember Fibber McGee’s closet? When he opened the door, everything fell out. Of course, this was a radio program (Fibber McGee and Molly), so we only heard all the racket caused by things falling out, but we could picture it vividly in our heads.
This is what has happened to my computer. It got so loaded up with stuff that everything fell out. Well, not literally. Still, I had been saving files into my external hard drive since 2008.
I went into the E Book (not to be confused with e-books you order from a publisher, but the name my computer gave to the external hard drive) and sent all the files I wanted to save back to my hard drive. Then I tried too delete all the old files that I no longer needed. What I didn’t know was that these files were secretly replicating themselves–to infinity and beyond. There were folders within folders within folders with the same files. It was like looking into a hall of mirrors. And, they were so corrupted I couldn’t open any of them.
Being quite dumb about computers, I tried deleting the files one by one. I soon realized this was going to take a long time. Like eight hours a day for the next six months.
Then I got a brilliant idea. I reformatted the thing. It warned me that I would lose all my files. Yes! Exactly what I wanted it to do.
It took a long time, but my E Book is now ready to start all over. Meanwhile, I cleaned out all the files in my hard drive and deleted quite a few outdated documents and duplicate photos (which for some reason go into two separate but equal photo folders).
I feel organized and ready to start afresh.
I just hope I didn’t delete something that I am really, really going to need down the road.
But if I haven’t needed it since 2008, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
I can’t advise anyone too strongly that you need a backup system, whether it’s the Cloud, Dropbox, an external hard drive, or a memory stick, especially if you are a writer. It isn’t a question of if something is going to happen to your Work in Progress, but when.
It’s good to have an extra closet where you can keep copies of everything you write.
It’s also good to give the closet a thorough cleaning every few years!