I Never Thought I Was a Pack Rat

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25 August 2009

A string of technical difficulties this past week:  overload of my laptop hard-drive; a bug in my email program that wreaked havoc on my email archives; my laptop power cord went kaput; Internet connection issues (related to the email bug).  Ugh.  At such times, my version of road rage rears its ugly head, and I become a very, very, very unreasonable human being.  I begin to see the occupational hazards for tech support people.

In all this, I’m having to evaluate the contents of both my hard drive and my email archives (some 8,000 emails).  Time to sort and purge.  God, it’s painful.  I pride myself on the fact that I strive for a clutter-free environment in my  material life.  But in my digital life?  Uy yuy yuy.

Email archives are essentially personal journals.  What is the future of the email archive?  Will we soon be seeing “The Collected Emails of David Foster Wallace” in hardcover?  

As for hard drive files, I’m struggling with the twenty-three complete and partial drafts of Long for This World, each dated approximately monthly over a period of two years.  Any counsel from writers and/or highly-organized digital archivers out there?  “Get an external hard drive,” one friend has already advised.  I guess that will be my online research task this week.

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4 Responses to “I Never Thought I Was a Pack Rat”

  1. Brad Green Says:

    If you trust them, you can store these documents on Google Docs. I do both: the external drive and Google Docs. The search functionality of Google is a great aid.

    You may not be the sort of writer that likes to talk process, but if you are, I’d love to hear more about the writing of your novel, how you went about it, things you learned along the way…etc.

    • sonyachung Says:

      Thanks for all these suggestions. I’m researching external HDs and googledocs (and a new printer, and a new power adapter, and… argh!); Hotmail has become a kind of nemesis for me, so I’m a little suspect, but I’ll check it out.

  2. Danny Says:

    I sympathize. My Mac went to sleep Saturday night and wouldn’t wake up Sunday morning. I type this from a new Mac.

    I backup all important stuff to my Hotmail account (the longer you have e-mail with them, the more space they give you), Google Docs (as has been mentioned), and my external HD (which also seems to be on the fritz, meaning I may have lost 95% of my electronic info–years’ worth of letters, e-mails, school stuff, lessons, iTunes adjustments, photos, so on and so forth).

    I seriously considered going computer-free. But at this point in time, that feels like more of a hardship.

    But 8,000 e-mails?

    Wowsers.

  3. Surya Says:

    I created a new email account, and email each draft to my email. Helps its gmail.
    During my first draft, I was paranoid and emailed my daily work, just in case my hard disk and the back up disk failed..That’s a lot of virtual redundancy, I guess. Oh well. :)


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