April 26, 2018

A Writer’s Confession in Our Tech World

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

I broke my own rule. That should give you a clue as to where this blog post is going.

Here’s the backstory, I write mostly while on the go, using my iPhone and the Notes app. Once I finish a piece, I email it to myself, so I have a copy in Notes and in an email for easy retrieval. However, a work in progress is only in Notes. 

Those of you who have had tech issues while writing in today’s world probably are getting a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, right about now. Yup, I broke my own personal rule.  

My rule is that I never download an Apple update for at least 6 weeks, which gives Apple time to work out the quirks in their latest download. 

Well, you can suspect what happened. Yup, without thinking I hit the download button which popped up when I turned on my phone on Thursday morning last week. That afternoon, I tried to access my Notes to work on my story in progress and it wasn’t there. In fact, no Notes were there. Nothing, nada. 

After the realization of my situation and several mental head slaps, I began to try and figure out some stuff in this our tech world. My millennial children helped, knowing I had a deadline on my anthology story. 

First, I turned my iPhone on and off. By then, I had already done that 3-4 times and recovered notes linked to several of my emails. Of course, not the story I needed to work on. 

Second, I went to settings and turn off automatic iCloud updates. My last update was 2 days before the download. The reason that is important is because the information (my story) was floating around somewhere. By Friday, some of the Notes were coming slowly back. 

Third, I googled “lost notes app on iPhone after IOS 11.3” and searched out potential ideas to recover my story. It was helpful to know others had this same issue, but I found no real solution. 

By Friday night, my story was still not in Notes, so since I was under deadline, I half-heartedly began rewriting my story from scratch. Yikes. Then, you guessed it, mid-morning Monday my original story appeared. Now, I have 4,000 words on a 1800 word piece. I’ll take that problem because at least I’ll make my deadline. 

What can you learn from my tech-tale? Here's my Take Away from this experience.

First, never break your own rule. Wait until the kinks are worked out with any download. Don’t be the one that finds the download issues.  

Second, if you write on a iPhone, tablet, or computer email your daily work to yourself, so you can easily recover if you lose a document. You can delete all these once you have a finished a blog post, story, or book.

Third, you may want to go “old school” and write using paper and pen, and then use technology for only your finished product. Personally, I’m so used to using my Notes app, I’ll still use that, but I’ll email my daily progress.

Lastly, go to settings and save all your Notes to your iCloud email. Once your Notes have been moved to your iCloud email, delete Notes off all other emails, so it automatically saves any Note to iCloud without having iCloud to have to update.

We, as writers, have to use technology for most submissions and communications. The trick is to try to be savvy and smart when using technology. Technology is here to stay and we need to learn how to navigate the issues that are a part this tech world.

So that’s the confession of this writer in our tech world. I’d love to hear about any tech issues you’ve experienced and how you handled it.

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