I had a scary moment yesterday when I went to turn on my laptop and I got this error:
My two and four-year-old boys had been playing with the old Dell. They like typing their names into Word, and writing all sorts of magical stories in a language only they understand. Anyway, when the littlest guy finally gave me the machine back, I didn’t bother doing any more work but just tucked it away under the bed.
Later when I powered it on to do some manuscript polishing, I realized something was hosed. I don’t think its the kids’ fault, since I watch them when they use it and they are pretty gentle. The laptop is eleven years old, and although the hard drive, memory, and CPU have all been upgraded, it’s been begging to be replaced for some time now.
Of course I freaked out…the laptop isn’t worth anything, but the dozen short stories, the completed novel, and the three unfinished novels on the hard drive represent countless hours of work. Thankfully I keep all my files in multiple locations and had a complete backup on my downstairs PC. It is about a month out of date though, so all the latest changes to my current story were at risk.
Which leads me to the point of this post: backup your stuff every day! Or, at least every week. As a writer, you need to ask yourself how much rework you are willing to accept…for me, it is somewhere in the range of 2-3 weeknights of work, or one weekend. Redoing a month’s worth of work would have been miserable, especially knowing it could have been prevented.
As it turns out here, the motherboard on my laptop is what died. The SSD still worked when plugged into my desktop, so I was able to pull all the latest stories off (phew!). But it could have easily been the other way around.
Backup your stuff!