I drove to Naperville (Illinois) last night to watch an author panel (Veronica Roth, Dan Krokos, Leigh Bardugo, Susan Dennard, Erica O’Rourke) at the legendary Anderson’s Bookstore, and then grabbed dinner and drinks with the panelists, fab agents Joanna Volpe and Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, and others.
Traffic was horrible. I parked my car a few blocks away but arrived about three minutes late. It was packed with a few hundred people. Despite rows of seats, I had to stand in the way back where I could only see by standing on my tip toes.
In my car was my workbag. In my workbag was my laptop. On my laptop is everything I’ve ever written, pretty much.
As I stood in the back I started thinking: did I lock my car?
I went through exactly what I did after I parked. But I just couldn’t remember pressing the automatic lock. I started thinking of someone opening the trunk and stealing my workbag. When was the last time I backed anything up? Two months ago? Three? My editorial changes for one book, and another, and the first draft of a new book, and half a first draft of another book … all unsaved?
I didn’t hear anything the panel said for the next ten minutes as I started to question why I hadn’t backed anything up (I had a laptop stolen from me a few years ago, and a computer crash on me many years ago … both cases I lost a lot of writing … So this is a valid fear). I pictured a gang of drunken thieves running off with my workbag. I couldn’t get the image out of head.
I kept checking the time. Why can’t this panel end already? Talk faster! Isn’t it almost over? I have to check my car!
Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore. The panel wasn’t quite over but I dashed out of the building anyway. Ran for two blocks, and then forgot where I parked.
Oh, and it was like 90 degrees outside and I was dripping sweat by now.
Ten minutes later I found the parking garage. Went up to the fifth floor (why is the elevator taking so long?) looked for my car amid the thousands of other cars. There it was. I hurried over, wiping sweat from my forehead.
The car was locked.
All was OK.
I keep a flash drive in my workbag. I opened my trunk, backed up the last two months of writing to my flash drive, plunged it in my pocket so if the laptop was stolen I’d still have my files, closed the trunk, LOCKED THE CAR, and went back to Anderson’s bookstore.
Obsessive? Just a wee bit.
I really need to come up with a better back-up system, though.