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Many moons ago, I sat down to reply to an email. A really long email.

I poured my heart out. Not literally, of course. That would have been weird.

But it was a masterpiece of personal writing. I was confident that the recipient would have a life-changing moment as soon as they saw my delightful prose upon their screen.

The end was in sight as I started the final paragraph, wrapping up the loose ends and signing off with a “Broom Broom for now”. Don’t ask.

As I sat there, half typing, half grinning smugly at my genius, something rather annoying happened.

A power cut.

photo by Jacob Haas

NOOOOOOOO! (photo by Jacob Haas – CC BY-ND 2.0)

I lost everything. Over an hour of writing gone. Around two-thousand words never to be seen again. Yes, this was an era before auto-saving drafts were the norm. That type of thing was reserved for Microsoft Word. Ah, the memories!

Let’s say I was unhappy and leave it at that. In the end, my re-written reply was two short paragraphs and a mumbled annoyance that lamented the lack of a witty and wonderful response after the power went out. It probably made no sense to the person at the other end of the message. No matter; I didn’t care any more.

I write this as a warning to you when you’re tapping away in a state of flow. You’re in the zone and on top of the world. Piffling stuff like saving the document doesn’t occur to you when everything’s going so well.

And despite the auto-saving beauty of so much we do these days, I’m sure the one time you encounter disaster will be the one time that automatic life-saver isn’t there to help you.

For me, it was just an email. That hurt enough.

Imagine the horror if it was, say, one of your essays.

On an allnighter the day before it’s due in.

And you’ve already had an extension.

Please. Press save. Back it up. Do it now.

And breathe.