Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

NaNoWriMo check in

Yesterday the wheels fell off the bus…

On Day 7, I managed to pass 20,000 words! Despite my growing apathy toward my characters… I decided to take a couple days off to really think about the direction my story wanted to go and try to flesh out my characters and create an outline for the rest of my novel.

On Day 10, I woke feeling good, strong, ready to put in a 10,000 word day. I managed to procrastinate until about 3pm. I sat down with my Alphasmart NEO, my favorite tool for getting a down and dirty first draft done, my constant companion through many Novembers. I started to cut and paste entire files to empty file slots so I could return to somewhere around word 5000 and take the plot in an entirely new direction.

And somehow in the middle of it all, I managed to completely delete over 19,000 words.

Yes, you read that correctly.

When I had completed my rearranging of text I went into each file to check and make sure all was well… I had two files of old content, both had the exact same 1081 words in it, and the rest of my seven day writing frenzy had disappeared into the ether.

So I took a deep breath, swore like a sailor, and hit delete file, completing the purge.

On Day 10, I was starting with a blank slate…again.

Oddly enough, I felt a strange sense of calm. After the initial shock, I felt lighter. I really had not been liking my novel. My husband thinks maybe I did it subconsciously on purpose, and I am beginning to think he may be right. After the Great NaNo Debacle of 2012, I sat down and kicked out 7829 words in four hours and guess what! I like what I am writing. It is starting the same as last time, but I am taking more time to fill in the scene and while I am still not entirely sure where I will end up on the plot, I am liking the characters much more this time around.

Maybe it did happen subconsciously on purpose, or maybe my muse has a really strange way of kicking me in the ass… Either way, the journey h begun, again… And I intend to ride the wave!


  1. So glad your accidently on purpose error has you going forward with extra vigor. I had a similar mishap on my first NaNo but it was not on purpose. After writing all evening frantically I ‘saved’ & as I closed the laptop lid saw…nothing! Yep 16K words gone…as you can imagine the air was blue. Writing that fast you can never claim those words back so although I had some idea I had to rewrite it all.
    Go forward and good luck.

    • Thanks Mandy!! Trying to keep a positive spin on the whole thing. Four years of NaNo and I have never lost a single word. Could NOT believe they were gone.

  2. I’ve lost work before, but I don’t think I ever lost that many words from one story. I don’t think I’d be so positive about it. Best of luck!

    • I figure there is nothing to be done but be positive. Those words are gone and the only way to go is forward! 🙂

  3. phoenixrisesagain

    well that is a turn of the story ~ I am sorry to hear that you lost it but as I know you were not really happy with it all I think this was meant to be and something much better will come from it. But I am really scared now that I lose my stuff. There is no way I could write the whole lot again. I would give up really…. take care and go and write that novel because no matter what I want to read it 🙂

    • You would rewrite it because there would be no other optoon! 🙂
      I have always used an alphasmart for nano and never transfered data to the computer to be saved in a secondary place before… Rethinking that approach! 🙂

      • phoenixrisesagain

        Maybe that was the lesson to be learned 🙂 I saved everything double yesterday …..

        • I am thinking that I need to save to the computer hard drive and about 12 thumb drives to be kept in various locations just to cover my butt in the future! 🙂

  4. Oh no….I think I would just sit there and cry for a while. I love your positive attitude tho…wow! And thanks for the reminder to back my story up…yikes!

    • I had always thought that if something that catastrophic happened in NaNo I would throw in the towel and have a minor breakdown. But two days later I am back at 13439 and liking my story much better. I promise to not try to move any large chunks of text until December, at least not before I have safely backed up my work in about 20 backup locations. 🙂

  5. OMG! I’d want to cry if that happened to me!

    Wow! You are an inspiration honey 🙂


    • Thanks Vikki! Oddly enough, there were no tears and I didn’t even need to dip into the wine stash! 🙂 Must be that I really was not meant to continue the story in that vein. Don’t get me wrong — I would LOVE to still have those words in my total wordcount, but I guess we just move forward. 🙂

  6. Gah! I did that once on my last book. Luckily, I had made copious notes about that chapter, and by consulting them I was able to reproduce most of it. Technology has its disadvantages too!

    • Would love to just blame the technology but it was 100% user error. 😦 Four years of NaNo and I never lost a single word… Live and learn – Not only can’t I edit in November, I can’t move large volumes of text to another file either! 🙂

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