What was I to do? I couldn't save what I'd done, I couldn't scroll the screen so I could read what I'd just written and I knew I hadn't saved it. Arghh! There is nothing worse than losing work you've spent time writing. And the situation was compounded by that lovely blank weekend - I didn't want to waste a moment of time because of a duff computer.
In the end I copied what I could from the screen - a few hundred words - turned off my laptop, then started it up again. The laptop was working normally and it had saved the document I had been working on so none of my morning's labour was in vain. I carried on and, after 11 hours (yes! 11!) I wrote the words: The End.
Losing your work is infuriating for everyone, for you for that wasted labour, for anyone else who has to listen to your tale of woe. You MUST take precautions to save your work. What you do will vary from person to person, but you need to get a system going. Some ideas....
1) Locate the Autosave or Autorecovery feature on your computer. Mine is set to save every 5 minutes so I should only ever lose 5 minutes work. Macs are usually pre-set to save, but it's optional on PCs - check it out.
2) Usually in the same menu as the Autosave/Autorecovery feature is one to create an automatic back up. Use it.
3) Get an external device such as a memory stick or an external hard drive. Get into the habit of regularly saving your work on to it. I was annoyed with myself because I hadn't saved my morning's work onto my memory stick as I usually do every 20 minutes or so.
4) I also regularly send work to myself as an attachment form one email account to another. It's easy to set up a Hotmail or Yahoo account just for this purpose. This means I can retrieve it should I need to from cyber space.
5) Print out a hard copy. People blanch at this one, as if reckless use of paper will ruin the planet, but let's face it, this is your precious work - it's worth a few trees (and besides, the trees used for paper are a renewable source like a crop of wheat or carrots.)
6) You can get devices that automatically save and store your work onto external hard drives. We're at the limits of my technological knowledge - I know these things exist, but don't use them myself.
7) There is similar software that will automatically store your work in cyber space. Again, not something I use but I know they're out there.
With luck, some lovely reader(s) of this blog will know more about 6 and 7, and will come up with suggestions. And are there any other simple ways to save work I haven't mentioned?
Whatever method you use, however, there really isn't any excuse for losing work. So, while I might make sympathetic noises to your tale of woe about lost work, I'm not that sympathetic. If you haven't got back up systems in place, do something about it - and now!