I was reminded of a valuable lesson today, which I originally learned six years ago.
In my first year of high-school, I lost a little story I had been working on at school that had only been saved to my memory stick. I left the memory stick on my desk, left the room, and when I came back, it was gone. So was the story.
I started saving the things I wrote in at least two places from then on. Once on my memory stick, and the desktop of the computer I was using at the time. When I got my laptop, I made sure to have a copy on the memory stick and the laptop whenever I could. At one point, I even had a copy on a second memory stick.
In the past year or so, especially in the last trimester of university, I got lazy with saving multiple copies and admittedly only kept a copy on my laptop.
Today, I was typing away at my NaNoWriMo W.I.P WALLS, moments away from hitting 15,000 words (my goal for the day was 15,003), when all of a sudden, my laptop switched itself off without warning! I worked out very quickly that it had overheated... it's a pretty old laptop and I'd left it charging for too long, so it wasn't happy with me. My first thought was, oh no, when was the last time I hit Save in the Word Document? After that, an even more worrying thought occurred... what if my laptop didn't turn back on? Last summer, my little sister's laptop (which she got the same time I got this one) switched itself off with a cloud of smoke rising from the keyboard. I had saved my NaNo to a memory stick on I'm not even sure what day, but it was the only time I had saved it elsewhere and I'd written a few thousand words since.
Luckily for me, my laptop did turn back on and I'd only lost about 100 words after subconsciously hitting Save at the end of the last full paragraph I'd written. I vented my distress and relief to a fellow WriMo over Facebook and she told me that's why she usually uses Google Docs/Google Drive as well as backing everything up on another device... it means there's a copy available wherever you've got internet connection, it's backed up on a hard device or two, and Google Docs has auto-save like Blogger does.
I made a Google Drive account last summer because a friend wanted to share some documents with me for proofreading, so after the near-no-WriMo experience today, I might give it a shot and write straight into Google Docs from now on. We will see how I go!
Lesson/reminder for the day: ALWAYS back up your writing!
My NaNoWriMo-ing is going smoothly and I'm sitting at a little over 15,000 words right now. A little more than a day ahead of schedule! At the moment, Mildred and Kovax have just been dismissed from their third after-school detention in a row for the week and it's raining outside.
Where do you back up your writing? How are your NaNo plans going?