When You Lose Everything - A Tale of Caution
On Wednesday, October 24th, just over a week before I was supposed to launch my Holiday Hats Collection, I woke up as I normally do, grabbed my coffee, and waddled sleepily over to my computer. I plugged in my hard drive, as normal, and heard an unfamiliar whirring, and then ‘click, click, click’. I looked down and frowned at it. Unplugged it and re-plugged it. Whirring. Click, click, click. I took two gulps of coffee and restarted my computer. Tried again, whirring, click, click, click. Shit.
I had switched computers relatively recently. Around that time I had heard horror stories of people losing their work so I went to get a back up disk, however, I became too dependent on it and started backing everything up, without making a local copy. I just sort of forgot to. For an entire month. I ended up losing everything on that disk, and I wanted to write this down as a sort of ‘you’re not alone, but also here’s a recovery plan if the worst should happen’ of epic blog post proportions.
So my first reaction was to take a deep breath. I would take it to a specialist. Everything would be fine. Right? Right. Just look at CSI, they can always recover some data. I looked up the best computer and software recovery in Dublin, and took my disk down that same day. Like I said, everything was on it. Everything that I was currently working on, was on it. Everything that was currently due out, in less than two weeks, was on it.
The people were very nice. They said generally, they could salvage some data if it was just software damage, if there was physical damage it was unlikely to be recoverable and I would get a refund. I would know by Friday if it was likely they could save the data. Oh, and one more thing, in order to do their data tests they would have to crack open the case, which would void any warranty. “Yes, fine, whatever, just get the data back”. I spent the rest of the day fretting and looking over the notes in my physical notebooks for the projects I was working on. Notes were sparse.
I got the call earlier than expected the next day. The disk was physically damaged, none of the data was recoverable, there was nothing I could do. Well, that’s not true, I could take it to a specialist who could see if the data was recoverable from a physically damaged disk for around 1,000 euro JUST TO CHECK. So, I burst into tears, and then I called my mom. What would you do? I just, I couldn’t even wrap my head around how much was lost. It wasn’t just the projects themselves, it was essentially the whole history of The Queen Stitch. Unfinished drafts, photos of on-off projects, templates, invoices… everything. Would The Queen Stitch just die? Was this the end? My mom told me she loved me and that it would be okay. That it was not going to be okay today, but it would be.
I then tried to stop crying enough to go out into public and got myself some wine. I drank the entire bottle and was feeling a lot… well, a lot less bad… when Peter got home and made me mac n cheese. You know from previous melodramatics that this is my favorite comfort meal.
I took the weekend to wallow in self-pity. I’ll be honest, probably could have been a little more productive during this time.
Believe it or not, this is not a blog post about a pity party. Okay, well it’s a little bit that, but actually this is how I pulled it together to bring some things back, and how if this ever happens to you (God Forbid) you’ll have a starting point about getting your life back together.
The first thing I did, was read all the encouraging messages people sent me over Instagram. Usually I don’t post super emotional things. (I generally think it’s really cringe, especially when people are crying on IG stories all the time… I can’t help but think, ‘You need to go get your life together somewhere not on Instagram’, lol) But no! You guys were so encouraging, and kind, and said such nice things about my business, and my designs, and my creativity! I was getting all kinds of emotional (the good kinds) and it really motivated me to stop the waterworks and make a plan.
Here, in all it’s glory, is my plan, for when you FUCK UP MAJORLY AND LOSE EVERYTHING:
1. Stop Crying
2. Create Back-up Folder on your computer
Try to re-create taxonomy of folder system – this will help you remember all the things you’re missing, and all the things you had originally
3. Get Dropbox
Back this up every day
4. Pattern recovery
Existing patterns - See if you can download the patterns from your site, and what kind of charges (if any) apply. Check other Platform sites
Un-released patterns – go through e-mails to see if you can find any pictures, drafts, charts, or word documents
Check google drive as well for earlier copies (TBH this saved me)
5. Photo recovery
Look through shared drives, Peter’s camera, the website, other websites
6. Logo recovery (I had wonderful graphic designers help me with mine)
Go through etsy downloads
Go through facebook convos
7. Template recovery
Go through notebooks to find theme colors
Re-create pattern template with old pdfs
8. Pin Recovery
Go through Pinterest board
9. Invoice Recovery
Get these from your emails – important to keep a record!
So. I hope the above helps you if you’re ever in the same boat. I didn’t actually go in order, of above. I knew my logos were sitting in emails and fb chats respectively so I went and got those first. I then opened my free version of Photoshop (GIMP) and colorized them. GIMP is not as good as Photoshop, but I really think it’s just as good. And it’s free. I originally only had the black versions of the logos, so I simply colorfilled them to the Queen Stitch gold, and then white, for when there’s a colorful background
My existing patterns were a bit more scattered, I have a couple newer patterns out there that are exclusive to certain platform for an amount of time (whether it’s magazines or websites) so I needed to wrangle these. Squarespace doesn’t let you download your own PDFs from the back-end. So instead, I created a discount code for my own site that gave me 100% off, and never expires, so god forbid anything happens in the future, I can download it for free. It turns out though, if you have patterns on LoveCrochet or LoveKnitting, you can download the PDFs directly from the backend. Yay! Something was easy!
So, you may be wondering, it’s been 3 weeks, what’s the situation?
The short answer is I still haven’t done everything on the list, and that’s okay. The key is to ruthlessly prioritize.
I had to re-write my entire Holiday Hats collection from the finished hats themselves, and from draft charts I had created in Google Sheets. I lost all of my progress pictures, but there you go, there is no photo tutorial for any of the hats. (I generally like to include in-progress pictures because I’m a very visual learner).
I completely lost the chart and notes for two new sweaters I’m coming out with before New Years. I love them though so I’m going to try to re-write them. I hope you love them too, because they are costing me double the amount of time they normally would! Haha. However, I still had the progress pictures stored in my phone, so I at least salvaged some of those. E-mails, phone screenshots, and google docs saved me, really.
I am behind on a lot of my deadlines because of this and it’s caused me a lot of anxiety. However, I’ve been upfront with all my contacts on various platforms and they’ve been really understanding, so I’m just taking it one day at a time.
Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for being such a wonderful community, and I hope that you never ever need to use this blog post to recover your own data.