NaNoWriMo 2018 Day 16 (11/16)

Last night was a saga for the ages. I settled down at about seven-thirty to begin writing, making sure all my other chores around the place were finished so I could focus on my writing without other stuff taking up space in my mind. I started making some good progress, though it was a bit of a slower start than I’m used to. Around eight, though, I noticed my iPod was acting strangely. Normally, I plug it into my computer and use iTunes to edit playlists and stuff on it since I don’t have it synchronized with my computer. Manually managed in fine with me, since I like having that level of control anyway. The only downside is that it sometimes won’t register because, back around the time I built my current computer and subsequently lost all the data on my old hard drives (that’s a story for another day and involves personally re-learning that wiping a computer using software doesn’t necessarily clear it of all data), some of the data on the iPod corrupted. This corrupted data made it a gigantic pain in my ass to move my music library from my iPod to my new computer since it would crash windows every time it encountered a corrupted file. Which means I’ve spent the last two and a half years tempting fate with eighty gigabytes of music on my iPod that is backed up nowhere else. \

Well, last night, as I investigated why my iPod was acting so weird, I discovered that my daily schedule backup was happening at the same time. Since there was nothing else going on to explain why my iPod froze and iTunes stopped working, I decided to just unplug it and plug it back in. Which is when I was notified that my daily backup had suddenly failed. Looking into that, I discovered that it was attempting to back up my iPod. Which it had been successfully doing until I went ahead and unplugged my iPod in the middle of it communicating with my external hard drive. Excited, I got my iPod plugged back in and started the backup again. I was giddy at the idea that my external hard drive would be able to just copy the data off my iPod and then all I’d need to do is import the file from my external hard drive to iTunes. I started the backup again and went about my business as it slowly worked its way through the weird hidden files on my iPod.

After I checked on it a couple of times without seeing any real progress past a certain point, I put my writing aside in favor of investigating. Surely, it’d be a quick fix. Probably a result of the fact that I interrupted the last backup. It wasn’t. My external hard drive was encountering the same problem I had when I tried to move the files manually. There were corrupted files that crashed windows explorer (which was a significant upgrade from crashing all of windows and, as I found out, is a result of a fix that Microsoft did last summer). This time, though, I could see which file it was that caused the problem. I reasoned that, even if I kept encountering these files, it would still be easier to go in and delete them off my iPod as the backup went through its process than to try to do it manually.

I was wrong. It was not easier. In addition to reset windows explorer and unplugging my iPod to restart the copying process, which is what I wound up doing when I encountered a corrupted file while manually copying the songs, my external hard drive needed to be restarted as well, along with the software that manages it. The only way to truly do that is to restart my computer. As I was resigning myself to living out the rest of my iPod’s days in fear of its eventual death and the loss of my music library, I decided to take a look at the files I was deleting, to see if there was any common factor that would let me preemptively remove them instead of needing to trip over them. Turns out, there was. Some crappy metal album I’d gotten from a friend when I integrated his music library into mine had corrupted at some point, so none of the songs would play on my iPod and they hung every involved software application when I tried to copy them over or edit them. So I deleted every song by them off my iPod.

Buoyed by my success at finding the common link between the files, I started up the backup process again and went back to writing. Twenty minutes later, I was back to investigating since the backup had hung again. What was supposed to be an hour of poking around and letting the automatic copy process of my external hard drive turned into me manually copying every song off my iPod and cramming in what writing I could during the minute I had during a successful copy and paste. I finished it, though, at about half past one in the morning and I even got my writing minimum done. All-in-all, it was a successful night. I’ve copied the music somewhere it will be safe and my iPod should be ready to back up to the external hard drive now. I’ll be able to finally scan and repair my iPod like Windows constantly wants me to do. I’ll be able to restore it like iTunes wants me to. It is done and I never need to worry about it again since I’ll never be so foolish as to rely on my iPod as my music backup.

Even if I didn’t make the progress I wanted, I still made progress and fell no further behind. It may have been weird, frustrating, and exhausting (on account of only getting 4 hours of sleep last night), but last night was a good night. I don’t know how today will go seeing as I’ve got a thing I’m doing with my friends tonight, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ll have a chance to do my minimum writing before the event and time afterwards to do more if I want. As long as my neighbor doesn’t keep me up with his music again, I’ll be good. I hope today is going well for you! We’re officially in the second half of the month and now’s the time to start hunkering down to work if you’ve been putting it off. If you’re on schedule or a head, that’s great, but don’t get complacent! There are still a lot of days left before the end of the month. Plenty enough to fall behind or catch up still. Good luck!


Daily Prompt

Who is your protagonist’s best friend? What part do they play in the narrative unfolding this month? Is it a good part, or are they holding the protagonist back? For today, trying writing about your protagonist’s closest friend and their part in the story you’re telling. Maybe they’re absent and the hole they left in the protagonist’s life is part of what drives them to act. Maybe they’re a voice of restraint and fear when the protagonist wishes to boldly push forward. Maybe they’re a voice of reason and a calm voice to help slow the protagonist down. Maybe they’re wildly emotional and one of the forces pushing the protagonist forward. You have a lot of options and it would be great to see how the protagonist’s closest friend affects the story.


Sharing Inspiration

I love art. Good art is like a feast for your eyes, fighting back against brain starvation and defeating the haunting spectre of white (or off-white) interrupted by splats of black in the shape of tiny little symbols that start to lose all meaning when you’ve been staring at them for well over twelve hours a day. No, I’m not going insane from spending all my free time writing and spending all day at my job staring at text because I’m a software tester and there’s way more of that than you’d think. But that’s mostly because I’ve surrounded my home computer with good art and my friend Carolyn’s art features heavily because she has a mastery of color and detail I find refreshing after looking at a text all day. Her stuff also looks amazing on a computer screen, so click that link up there and check it out! Maybe buy some prints to hand around your desk so you can pretend you’re not sitting in the same spot for a couple hundred hours this month.


Helpful Tips

If you’ve been working every day this month, then you’ve officially been working on the same project for sixteen days. That’s a long time to be doing any one thing. I know we’ve already gone over taking breaks, going for walks, and getting proper rest, bu it would also be a good idea to take some time to work on a different project for a bit. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I work better if I take occasional breaks to do something else. That’s why I have two projects for this month. If I swap between projects every hour, it is easier for me to stay focused or work through difficult spots because I’ve got something else to focus on while my mind works it way through whatever problem came up in the previous project. So find something else to do that’s constructive an engaging! Build a Lego set! Plan a dungeon! Reorganize your bookshelves! Draw some art! Write blog updates! Whatever it is, so long as it is constructive, just go do it!