When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t find my in-progress manuscript on my hard drive. The pathway was gone. The backup disc? Blank.

Forty-seven thousand words, vanished.

My response was predictable: “Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck. Oh, fuck.”

My wife woke up and stepped in, as I was basically useless. She found an April 11 version — 35K words ago. Nothing else. We called the computer doctor and rushed the hard drive in, and he was able to rescue the file, minus yesterday’s progress (about a thousand words).

I’ve never been so happy to have lost a day’s work. Honestly, I don’t think I could have started again; it would have just been lost forever, and I’d have moved on to one of the other story ideas stashed in my head. I’ll tell you this, though: Up until today, I never had the proper appreciation for how devastating it must have been to Hemingway when his manuscripts, tucked into a suitcase, were lost in 1922. From the standpoint of literary quality, his loss was certainly much bigger than mine would have been. I wonder if he cried; I was on the verge of it.

So, now I’ve learned a new trick: I’m no longer backing up my work just on a disc. I now have a webmail account that gets my updated scribbling, nightly.