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... And Then It Didn't Save, a Cautionary Tale

There was sheer genius displayed on this now blank screen only minutes ago. 

You'll have to trust me about this.

Who knows if you'll ever get to read it because now it's gone.

Aside from the somewhat devastating feeling that I lost something I worked hard to create, there is the inevitable feeling of idiocy that sets in when I know that I'm to blame for the setback.

Last night as I putting the finishing touches on the post that was supposed to go up this morning, I went to save without doing my usual, "copy all" "just in case" and here we are.

For whatever reason, the program booted me off and asked me to log in again and I lost it all. I'm not even going to attempt to rewrite the other post again for a few days because it took so long to put it together the first time.

Ironically, I tell my students all the time to make sure their work is saving, but using Google Docs makes it so easy for the user because it autosaves every minute. It's very hard to lose work. Back in the days, it was easy to lose a night's worth of work with an accidental stroke of the delete key leaving the user in despair.

So to avoid the unimaginable frustration I felt and the embarrassment of knowing it could have been stopped, remember the following:

  • Writing directly onto a computer is both easy, but potentially hazardous. Teaching students to write by hand first, at least a brainstorm or a draft can always be useful (I like to write things out when I'm doing more poetic work, but my blogs are usually directly onto the post).

  • Always make sure that you are logged into your platform and if you take a break and you've left the window open over time that you log back in before you continue writing 

  • Make sure to have a copy of what you've written doing a "control a" or "command a" and then copy all of the document before you hit save, just in case. Maybe even paste it somewhere else, like a notepad, a blank email or anywhere that will hold a copy

  • Save as you go and not just at the end.

  • Writing can always be replaced, but sometimes when the good stuff comes out the first time it is hard to get it back the second time around; it may come close, but not always. When you're lucky it will be better. That's what I'm hoping for.

  • Take a break from writing before you start up again.

  • Try to see it as a positive experience that can be learned from. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to share the draft I was going to put into the universe and now I have another day or two to think about it.

This is one of the reasons I would recommend using the Google Educational Suite with students because of one its best features is the revision history and autosave features. Even if students accidentally delete their work, the revision history will let them revert back to an earlier draft which will surely save them the unfortunate disappointment of losing it all.

Do you have a tale of woe where you worked so hard and lost it all? Share your story, maybe yours turned into a success story? I'd love to hear that too

This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in August 2015

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