conference paper writing

So I'm finishing up the conference paper I will be presenting in a couple of days. I write a thoughtful, carefully constructed paragraph. And my word processing software freezes. It happens sometimes for no apparent reason, when I've been typing too fast or doing too many things at once. Or when I haven't rebooted in many days. I knew that I hadn't saved the new paragraph yet, and I doubted that AutoSave had caught it either. So I phoned my voicemail and read the screenful onto it. Closed the program, restarted, checked the autosave file. More was there than I thought, but the new paragraph wasn't. And then I had to listen to myself reading my words at least five times in order to get it all retyped. But at least I thought of it before I restarted the program.

My very first conference paper was really carefully written. Well, actually, I don't remember writing it. What I do remember was practicing reading it aloud, numerous times. At home, and then again in the hotel before the session. Over the years, my prep time for such things has declined dramatically. I still read the paper out loud a couple of times to check the timing and figure out any awkward sentences that need to be fixed. But thankfully it's not a nervewracking experience any more.

Once the paper is finished, that is...