A writer without her computer is like a woman living in a pitch dark desert! A publicist without her computer is a professional on the edge of terror. Twelve days ago, (on my birthday, sheesh!) I was gifted some horrible, nasty, computer controlling villains who literally stopped my life dead in its tracks until the Tech Guru at the repair shop was able to revive my creative heart and send home a faster, more smooth, fully recovered and newly protected machine.
I just wanted to share the ten levels of hell without my computer. I’m sure it’s not new to most of you, but it sure was new to me.
1) All my writing was out of reach. Computer gone, what’s a writer to do? I mean really, when was the last time you wrote with a pen and paper? Hell, I didn’t even have an empty spiral notebook to work with and found myself scribbling on those cute little lined yellow 5”x7” pads. Six of them. I used to really like those things too. Now I’m so traumatized (and finger cramped) by the experience, I may never be able to purchase a pack of those pads without having heart palpitations. Not to mention … I can’t read my handwriting!
2) Where was I? You know the question. I have a laptop available but my backup was weeks out of date. All my novels are on the desktop. I had no way to truly pick up where I left off, and with the panic and stress of being overthrown by a whole Trojan army, I simply couldn’t think straight! But, I did what I could and kept on writing.
3) I need ginko biloba, dammit! This publicist has clients … yes, clients … plural … in the dead center of several projects. I was faced with recreating at least two complete proposal outlines from memory. But there again, I trudged through, sigh.
4) Where is everything? Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING I research is bookmarked in my internet listings. Everything I need for my writing, everything I need to keep up to date with in the publication and publicity business and everything I stored away for special client projects, past, present and future is in that list. Talk about having your hands tied!
5) My email, now that was fun. I have Outlook Express which feeds from my yahoo account. Every time it fed into Outlook Express, it was filed appropriately and simply disappears from the yahoo account. Sooooo, from the moment I opened my laptop, I was in the dark. Who remembers email addresses or phone numbers these days? We’re so reliant on technology, all we do is hit a button or type in the first few letters and voila, connection. Seriously, I had to call everyone and tell them to email me so that I’d have an addy to work with! By this point, I had pulled out a large portion of my hair.
6) The vacillating prognosis. Four days after dropping off my computer at the repair shop, after they’d quoted a price and promised that they could remove all the nasty stuff with no damage to my files, they called with bad news. Techie Guru was suddenly saying the Trojans were far too deep and everything would be lost … but, hold a minute, he’d call back in a few moments. His next call was semi good news, he could get all my files saved onto a disc, but the computer would be wiped clean and I’d need to put everything back on. Now, I’m about as computer savvy as a gnat, so this was extremely distressing. That, and the fact that it would cost even more to do this. Yes, I cried. Two days later, I received another call that they finally discovered the way to clean the nasty viruses off and everything would be just dandy. It was time for my coronary.
7) Seeking technical support. Like a woman about to give birth, I talked to all my computer proficient friends and heard all the horrible possibilities. They told me that it still may not work out and I should be prepared for the worst. I think I may have had a stroke about then, my eye started to twitch and my head was about to explode.
8) Seeking emotional support. Now I called all my friends and family. They were sympathetic, insisted that everything will be fine and yeah, that helped … a little. The twitch continued though.
9) Seeking spiritual support. Yes, I went to church. I knelt at my bedside and folded my hands, praying to the God of computers to help me through all this. I even started reading Spirit Cards. That did help, a lot.
10) The aftermath. Finally, my computer came home! It runs fast as a whip, has a full disc backup of everything that was on it and … well … looked all different. Needless to say, I was happy as a clam but confused for a good twenty-four hours until I could put everything back the way I’m used to seeing it. Guess I’m more a creature of habit than I thought. Now I have kick-ass protection and several fail safe procedures before anyone or anything can download a damn thing on my baby. And now … I can work and write again.
Needless to say, the whole experience was horrible. I still have nightmares about it. But I’m nothing if not persistent and determined to use my tenacity to not only get back on track, but learn to roll with the punches.
Where did I get the damaging Trojans? I followed a link on twitter. Techie Guru explained that it wasn’t placed there by the poster, that Trojans are out there, laying in wait until there’s a crack in the foundation then they attack. It has taken me a day or two to feel safe and comfortable enough to log on to twitter or follow a link, but sometimes a little faith is needed.
Now, I’m back in the saddle again. Long gone are the days when using a Trojan meant being safe … now a Trojan means completely the opposite. I have chosen to trust my Tech Guru (who I actually asked to marry me, he was so kind and helpful and calm) and trust in the new security systems I now have installed on the computer.
Onward and upward!