The Dog Ate My Homework

 In Author

Going back a couple months…I started the month of November with high hopes. For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). A whole slew of writers—who are just this side of crazy anyway—push themselves to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. Although most novels are eighty to a hundred thousand words, completing this goal is a huge step toward a finished manuscript. With no intention of hitting fifty thousand, I dreamed of producing at least half of the prescribed word count.

Back to the dog and the homework…First a confession, I’m kinda old school. In fact, I’d venture to say I’m REALLY old school. Thus, I’ve always saved my manuscripts to flash drives instead of uploading documents to the cloud. Early in November, one of my two flash drives disappeared. After a few days of futile searching, I decided one was sufficient. A little over two weeks into NaNoWriMo, my computer’s cooling system shut down, and I took the laptop to a repair guy. I wasn’t sure the files it contained could be recovered, but I felt secure with most of my writing on a flash drive that I guarded as voraciously as a dragon guards his treasure. Meanwhile, I borrowed an old Compaq laptop, uploaded my manuscript, and continued working.

One day, I heard a strange metallic crunching as I sat engrossed in my story, feverishly pecking at my keyboard. I actually did pause for a moment, but when nothing seemed amiss, I continued writing. Twenty minutes passed before my husband tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, do you know what this is?” as he showed me three mangled pieces of plastic and metal. I nearly had a heart attack. It was my flash drive! My dog must’ve snatched it off a ledge behind my working area.

Now let me just say that I love my dog to death. I’d jump in front of a moving car to save him. But for one brief, terrible moment that afternoon, I thought his days on this earth might come to a swift end. Luckily, my husband calmed me down, convincing me that we could recover the files off my laptop. Besides, most of my current manuscript was on the Compaq anyway. It also didn’t hurt that my dog managed to look sufficiently ashamed of himself. Of course, it’s possible I only imagined that part…

You may have guessed that NaNoWriMo fell by the wayside this year. Between technology issues, a two-week vacation, and the holidays, I’m a bit sheepish to report that the only writing I’ve done since November has been done by hand—like I said, old school. After three weeks with the repair guy, my computer was declared toast, but I was able to download my files. I ordered a new laptop in November but didn’t receive it until mid-December, and I’m still trying to work through the idiosyncrasies of Windows 10. I also purchased a couple of new flash drives, and I admit some of my files have found their way to the cloud. Baby steps…

So, what’s my message for the New Year? Be flexible. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we planned. And sometimes the dog does eat your homework. When this happens, don’t freak out. Take a step back, reevaluate, and when you’re ready, move forward. One of my favorite quotes (attributed to various sources), and my mantra for 2018 is: “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape!”

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