February 19, 2015

Don't Panic You're a Writer

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

Valentine's Day 2015 found me still writing a piece as a contributor for an anthology book with a deadline of midnight. Yes, I was pushing the envelope, but that's how it is sometimes. That afternoon I was making progress and feeling accomplished. 

Working with the Notes app on an iPad, I was zipping along. Then it happened. 

First mistake: I was trying to correct as I write. I know better. Every writer knows to just write, get the words on paper. Only then, is it time to self edit. You know what I was doing? Yes, self-editing as I went. I had 800 words of a 1500 word piece.

Second mistake: not emailing various versions to myself as I completed each paragraph. A form of saving. It's why I love writing on paper. It's always saved. Alas, like most, I find myself on the go, the Notes app is on my iPhone, and is a convenient way to write. Normally, I love it.

When it happened I was stunned to say in the least. Yes, in an effort to edit, my finger slipped on the keyboard and 800 plus words were gone from my iPad. I had inadvertently hit the trash can in the upper right hand corner of the screen. My words I'd been crafting since Christmas were gone. There is no retrieve function on this app. There needs to be, but there is not. 

With a deadline looming, I was slowly simmering to a panic mode. My daughter walked in and asked what happened. She suggested I check the same app on my iPhone and email it to myself immediately upon opening the app. I clicked in the app on my iPhone and the old version was still there. I emailed the Note to myself and within 1 minute the story disappeared off the Note app on my iPhone. 

The email went through, and I was able to continue the piece and meet my deadline.

One lesson learned from this experience is you may want to unlink your iPad and iPhone from each other, despite its convenience, if you work on the devices interchangeably. In this situation it was almost a disaster because they were linked via Cloud technology. 

Another lesson was to stay calm and think through the tech problem. There is often a solution if you don't panic. Always ask a tech savvy person who may have a quick fix. 

Worst case scenario if it's lost...remind yourself...I am a writer and just write using pen and paper.

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