I was halfway through a new post discussing my tips on how to survive the revisions process when my computer screen made a little ‘pinging’ noise and went completely black. No amount of button pushing thereafter could resuscitate it. This computer wasn’t resting. Like a Monty Python parrot, it was dead. All of this happened at 5 p.m on Friday. Sheer panic.
Monday, of course, is a holiday. ‘Family Day’ here in Ontario, a completely stupid holiday, invented by the Ontario government because February didn’t have one. And what about those of us who don’t have families to holiday with and work every day, I thought angrily, but who bloody well need our computers?
I managed to reach Charles, my pal at Compu-lite (a small company that does commercial work mostly, but which has, for years now, for reasons unknown to me, allowed me to bring my small computer woes to them for a nominal fee. Big plug here for Samesh and Charles: they’re amazing.)
“Oh, too bad, Peggy,” Charles said. “Your computer died on a holiday weekend? Hmmm. That’s a problem.” He did a quick diagnosis over the phone and decided it was a power issue, that whatever the internal parts are in a laptop (I’m sure he knows what they are technically, but I don’t) were no longer working. “Your computer is still under warranty. Take it in. I’d love to help you, but sorry, we don’t have the parts.”
Sigh. This necessitated digging through a number of files for the three year warranty that I was pretty sure I had thrown out when my hard drive died after Future Shop told me that they’d replace it but not my data or my software.
$ 350 worth of useless warranty (I’ll never buy another one) and three times that much to Samesh to get my data restored and my computer working and there I was, back at square one, hoping I could find it and sweet talk the Geeks into fixing my broken hardware.
Pack rat that I am, I found it minutes before I was to meet with clients and sign up a legal document for their house sale. I was already in withdrawal, wondering how long I’d be computerless and just how much my Blackberry would compensate for what I’d lost.
And that’s when I thought maybe I should check the power outlet, just in case it wasn’t the computer. Plugged in the vacuum cleaner. Nope, the outlet worked fine.
But that’s when I realized my idiot spaniel, chasing his ball around and around last night, had managed to disconnect the part of the power charger plug-in where two parts connect, so that the laptop had been running on its battery all day and the battery had finally expired. Problem fixed. Family Day can now be celebrated.
After all of that, here are my revision tips.
(1) Revise and then leave it alone for a few days. You’ll be surprised how stupid some of the brilliant changes you made turn out to be.
(2) Read your revisions out loud and see what they sound like. Your ear will pick up what your eyes don’t.
(3) Keep all your drafts, because sometimes you’ll want to use the bits and pieces that you edited out before as you further refine your manuscript.
(4) An important one. Make sure you and your editor are working on the same draft. ( I spent most of this week revising the wrong draft, only to find out when I was 90 pages in that I was making changes to the wrong version. That took hours to sort out.)
I will now add to that:
(5) Keep your clumsy (but loveable) dog away from your power charger if you can, and if you can’t, check the power cord before you panic when your computer makes a ‘pinging’ noise and turns black. And to be on the safe side, get a back-up system. I still don’t have one but it’s just moved to the very top of my ‘to do’ list.