I Appear to be a Pack Rat of Data Files

In getting ready for GDPR (the new privacy law in the EU), I decided to take things one step further and do something that I’ve been avoiding for such a long time. We’re talking about something that I have been avoiding for years. I decided to clean out the old files on my Google Drive and Dropbox, and limit what I actually had on my local hard drive.

OMG, what a mission and a half — mainly because it appears that I’m a pack rat of data files.

Shall I hang my head in shame now?

For years, I have separated my personal writing from my other projects. Because of the way Scrivener works (a word processing program specific for writers), I tend to keep my personal writing limited to my Dropbox. However, in my clean out exercise, I found a whole range of files, both on my Dropbox and Google Drive, that either didn’t belong there, or were mislabeled.

Let’s start with the directories called Sort. Hmm… That’s a warning if ever I saw one.

Paper Files

If it had been just the sorting of paper files, it would have been much easier to sort through.

More often than not, these directories came about because I was backing up my system (most likely about to do a reset of my system) and couldn’t be bothered sorting through certain files. Hence, they all got added to a Sort Later pile — things that never got sorted. You don’t want to know how many unopened bank statements I found in those folders, some of which dated back to 2014.

Then you have the duplicate files that got out of control. It turns out that I had over 30 different versions of the manuscript for Beacon of Hope. Do I really need that many versions of the same story. Granted they were all in varying states of editing, but still… I now have only five different versions: the original from eight years ago; and my latest revision in 4 different formats (Scrivener, Word, PDF and MOBI). (Before anyone asks, I hate working in Word, but submission requires that I use Word.) Even this might be excessive, but my working copy is in Scrivener, and the other formats are what I share with my beta readers. And the original… More times than I care to count, I think of a scene that I know I’ve written at some point, and have to go back to the original version to find that missing scene.

I had duplicates of other manuscripts too. The data duplicate hell needed taming.


I’m not this sort of rat, but definitely a pack rat.

I had an insane number of copies of my profile pictures, and a crazy number of old feedback files. (Yep, data file pack rat.)

However, there was also a fair share of little treasures: small files that were just the rambling notes for a new story idea, many of them created, just so I wouldn’t forget them. Never mind I still forgot about them, but it was awesome to find those tidbits of my working brain.

So… I was originally thinking that Pen Name was the only crime thriller that I had in me. I was wrong. I was seriously wrong. It would appear that my brain has been thinking about multiple crime thrillers for some time, including ones where babies are stolen their mothers, and banks are broken into. There is even one based on true event: a graduation prank that closed the entirety of Downtown Auckland for several hours as the bomb squad had their hands full trying to decide if the barrels of dry ice were explosive.

Then there was the music files. Yeah… Those just stayed in the sort later pile. I don’t even want to think of how many copies of various music files are sitting there.

Multiple copies of videos that I’ve created. Multiple copies of audio recordings. And downloads of emails dating back to 2010.

I’m insane. How could I honestly be that bad with hording data files? I guess it’s because they don’t take up any physical space, and if I run out of digital room… just buy another hard drive, or pay for that increase in my plan on the cloud.

I horde books too, but tell me what writer doesn’t, but data files?

Okay, I’m going to hang my head in shame now.

Tell me, what do you secretly horde?

P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2018

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