I cannot express how strongly I urge you to learn from the horrible lesson I’ve just had. This week I learned why it’s so important to keep your computer healthy and your work backed up to the nth degree.
Although I don’t rely on my laptop for my day job, I rely on it for my writing life to a much bigger extent than I realised. I’d always shaken my head in disbelief when I heard of people losing work through tripping over a power cable or spilling a whole cup of coffee and losing a major piece of work. My experience wasn’t that dramatic. My computer just stopped working one day and the computer geeks were unable to save him despite their best efforts.
This brought up a number of difficulties. How was I to write up the pages and pages of first draft I’d written by hand over recent weeks? (After almost losing that notebook recently I was keen to have a back up copy!) How was I to continue with this blog? What of the years and years of work that was stored on his hard drive? Well, fortunately my three major pieces of work were backed up on an external hard drive and in ‘the cloud’. Well, Books One and Three were; only an early version of Book Two was on there but fortunately because I write first drafts by hand and never throw anything away (yes, being a hoarder does come in handy!) I’ve been able to salvage it.
What has suffered from my somewhat haphazard attitude to backing up is my blog. All those lovingly prepared blog posts I had stockpiled to use on the blog – and a big chunk of the previously used posts – are gone. Just like that. Yes, it’s not a huge amount of work and some still exist in handwritten form, but some of the ideas and draft notes I’d made straight onto the computer do not and I’ll have to try and remember what I planned to say. No mean feat when you have a memory like a sieve!
It’s frustrating to have that happen. Not the end of the world because I don’t have any deadlines or suchlike, but enough of a shock for me to resolve to turn over a new leaf. I’m going to ensure that I back up everything new I write, both in the cloud and on my external hard drive. I’m going to back up at least once a week for longer projects and at the end of shorter ones, so I make sure nothing significant is ever lost again. And I’m going to become even more keen on keeping handwritten versions and notebooks, regardless of the amount of space they take up in my flat!
So, please, learn from my mistake and back up everything. You never know when your computer may reach the end of its life without warning and you end up saying ‘If only I’d….’. Bear with me while I get the blog back up to speed – it’s going to take a bit of time, but it’s the only way to go!