As far as I'm concerned, remembering to hit Ctrl+S doesn't cut it. Crazy things happen. Laptops get dropped or stolen.
I once knew a man who had his TV blow up in a lightning storm. Granted, most computers have surge protectors, but they aren't fool-proof.
Papers blow away or get eaten by dogs or get shredded by accident (ps - I love shredders. Don't leave me alone with a shredder and any stack of paper you truly love).
Are you feeling paranoid yet? I hope you are, because I am willing to bet you didn't go back up your writing immediately after reading the first sentence of this post. Or you have that feeling of resistance brought on by someone trying to boss you around.
Here are a few backup suggestions:
- If you live in a household with more than one computer, make a habit of storing updated copies of your work on both (or all seven).
- Pick up several USB flash drives. I like to keep one at home and one in my purse. Why several? They can have a limited life span, depending on the sort of abuse they go through (Tip: either use the kind with a cap or get a little carrying case if they are retractable - dirt is not your friend).
- Print out hard copies.
- Photocopy hand-written copies. Or scan them. Or type them out.
- Email your files to yourself.
- Make use of an online file hosting site.
- Coax an external hard drive into backing up all the files on your computer. I say coax because mine needed a fair amount of coaxing to backup files from both a mac and a PC, but I already know it was worth the effort and we are now fast friends.
- If you need some excitement in your life, find a way to involve a safe or safety deposit box in the process. I've heard of people keeping printed copies of their manuscripts in the crisper in their fridges.
Making use of any or all of these resources could save you headache, heartache and your computer from being tossed out a window. If you see a method you don't currently use up in this list or down in the comments, I hope you will try something new this week.
Think of it as an insurance policy on your sanity.