Without technology I definitely would not be as effective of a writer. Oh, sure, before my family had its first computer I wrote everything out by hand. But once the keyboard was in my hands I suddenly wrote everything faster (and because of all the writing I did, I can churn out, not kididng, about 120 wpm) and now juts CRINGE at the idea of writing just about anything long-hand. Heck, let’s face it kids, if it weren’t for LJ/bloggers in general I wouldn’t even keep a diary.
Suffice to say, I do all my writing, save for random notes I sometimes actually feel compelled to write when I have no electronics around, on the computer. It all started when I was in middle school and we got our first computer. It was a clunker, a total piece of work from the early 90s (and back when Unisys was a company making monitors, apparently, because that’s what he had) but it was our first ever, and I put it to awesome use. Computer guy pointed out to me the ever shiny “Wordpad” that comes with Windows and the rest was history.
Back then I was a very, very prolific writer. I wrote about a new novel every couple of months. Much of this was thanks to having not many other responsbilities in my life, and less distractions such as the internet…I would come home from school everyday and sit in front of the computer: writing.
That computer sucked, and was so behind that it couldn’t even play CDs (let alone burn them) and this was before there was such a thing as USB. After my family bought a brand new computer (and brought internet along with…oh boy, dial up!) the old clunker was moved into my room. Now I could write in my room! Which I did, for many years, all through high school.
It was on that computer (that I never named unlike my computers I have now) that I wrote the first drafts for Nagnomei: The Key of Nixey and The Scrolls of Europa. I also wrote quite a few shorts stories and novellas, as well as song lyrics and poems that rested on that harddrive for many years After I graduated high school my parents bought me a big, shiny laptop. Transferring files was easy…kind of. Since the only way to move files off the Clunker was via the archaic A-drive (floppies!) and my laptop (that I still have and am typing this on now) I had to use my family’s computer as the go-between: put the floppy into Clunker, transfer files to Desktop, put files onto USB, transfer files to Laptop. Problem solved.
The Clunker stayed in my room for another couple of years while I went off to do college things. As you can probably guess, now with a handy laptop I do all my writing from it. (And my other tinier laptop, but that’s for on trips). Finally, this past winter, I decided it was time for the Clunker to leave. It was taking up valuable desk space in my room, I never used it, and I wanted the space to be able to put my laptop down when I wanted to use it in my room while at home. I decided that it was best to backup everything, even old files I never touched since middle school. I took out a bunch of old, clean floppies and saved all my files on them before saying goodbye to Clunker as it went off to the dump.
The floppies went in a pile on my desk, never to be touched until I wanted them. Well, this past week, I wanted them.
You see, during my last major rewrite of The Key of Nixey here, I realized I needed to research something I originally said in a deleted scene in an old draft that I didn’t have on my laptop. Well, that meant taking the appropriate floppy over to the family computer, transferring it to USB, and bringing it back to my laptop.
There was just one problem: I couldn’t access the files.
My family bought a new computer (from the old one I originally used to transfer files) sometime ago, and even though this one had a floppy drive, the computer itself refused to acknowledge anything was in there. Fearing that it may be a corrupted floppy, I tried inserting other ones, even a clean one, and still the machine refused to tell me that anything was in there. I asked my family if they ever used the floppy drive before, and they said no…maybe it’s just dirty, but no matter how I looked at it I just couldn’t help but feel betrayed by technology.
I really, really want those files now. As the kids say today, “fml”.