i just lost almost all of my work which i loved and was proud of. any tips on how to Not Give Up On Writing Completely?
my professor once told me a story: she had a friend in college who wrote her graduate thesis, it was there, it was typed, she was happy with it
but this was a time before auto-save or google doc or a great way to back things up (tho she could have and didn’t), and she was almost done after years and years of work. And then her entire computer broke down.
It’s hard drive crashed and she lost every single word of her 120 page graduate thesis in one night, the computer would not turn on again, it was fried.
My professor said that her friend was going to give up, she was going to throw in the towel and not finish, do something else with her life than grad school, this was it. She had been given the sign to stop. But she didn’t, she decided that the only thing left to do was pick herself up after a week of mourning and start all over. She cried and hit some things and cursed technology, then sat back down again.
She rewrote the entire series of chapters in a couple months and you know what she said? It had never been better, in fact, it was immensely improved. All the information was still there in her brain but after writing it once she could now re-write the whole thing with bigger-picture cognition and synthesis.
This professor teaches at a university now and she says that losing her entire graduate thesis was the best thing that happened to her- it made her better.
My professor told us this story in the context of one thing: she was telling us to write our term papers, then close/delete/get rid of that doc and write it all over again from scratch. It’s the best way to make the best second draft you can imagine. I sometimes do this technique now and those papers are the ones that come out the best (however difficult they are to do).
I know it’s hard, I know it hurts, but everything like this pushes you, makes you stronger, makes everything you write from this point on more coherent and lasting.
The difference between millions of other writers is not innate ability or a better ‘muse’ or head for words, the difference among writers is between those who stop and those who do not.