5 Steps to Not Losing Your Work
This title may seem obvious to most but a lot of new authors and writers don't realize how easy it is to lose their work. My PC crashed recently and the only way to repair it was to have it basically wiped clean and put back into factory condition. Which meant all my novels, rough drafts, cover art, pictures, etc. would be lost. Permanently. Thankfully, I had already learned this painful lesson six years ago when my first computer crashed and I lost all my work. So I've come up with some tips for writers to avoid learning the same lesson the hard way.
1) Have your work/pictures/etc. on multiple devices. The first time I had a PC die, it was my only device that I used for writing. The books I had been working on were saved to the hard drive and no where else. I had to dig through my keepsake boxes and find the first hand-written drafts and re-write them all. Though this was a saving grace, I still lost all the work I'd put into it between the first draft and computer crash. This time around, I had all my work on my laptop (and saved in multiple places - see #2) as well, so even though my PC died, I still had my work.
2) Save your work in lots of places. A PC, a laptop, a zip/flash drive, Google Drive, email a copy to yourself, save it on an extra hard drive, have a printed copy, etc. Cover ALL your bases. It may seem a bit of overkill but you'll be glad you did if your PC crashes, you switch to your laptop, then spill your drink on it, your kid flushes the flash drive down the toilet, etc. You NEVER know what will happen so it's best that you save your work in multiple places.
3) Have a hand-written draft. This one is surprising. A lot of writers don't even bother with hand written drafts/notes anymore. They have their computers, laptops, smartphones, etc. But technology can't be trusted... electronics can break. Having a hand-written draft gives you the last resort if all else fails for preserving your work.
4) Save, Save, Save. Set your auto save timer to every 2 minutes, seriously. Or if you don't have an auto save, hit the save button every few minutes. You never know when you'll accidentally lose your work, thanks to children hitting the keyboard, power outages, automatic updates, etc. If you're saving often, the chances of you losing something major drastically lessens.
5) When working, save multiple copies of your work. Just imagine: You're working on formatting a manuscript for publishing. Your auto save is on. You've been trying to add some formatting that's giving you a headache and all of a sudden, your text disappears. Then the undo button doesn't work. So you try opening the document again but the auto save just so happened to save right after you lost everything. Sound epic? It certainly is. Depending on what the age of your program is, things like that don't happen often anymore. But it CAN happen. Before you start working, save multiple copies with different file names so if the epic failure does happen, you have your original copy, safe and sound.
These may seem like 'duh' tips to most authors but they're usually 'duh' because we've all been there at some point in our writing careers. Hopefully these tips will help someone who hasn't learned yet, so they never have to learn the hard way.