There isn't much we could've done about this, but this does bring to mind many other potential disasters and all writers should be prepared for:
- Losing critical project files
- Misplacing paper copies of notes and information
- Dealing with the failure of critical hardware, such as a computer or printer
- Addressing the loss of primary phone service
- Handling the loss of internet access
This is the easiest disaster to prevent, but the hardest for some of us to remember to do. Scheduling daily backups is critical to avoid the most painful of situations: file loss. Whether through file corruption, equipment failure or simply losing your storage media, there is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) worse than losing your only copy of a novel or book proposal.
|Photo courtesy of Leszek Leszekcynski via Flickr|
There are also online solutions such as Dropbox, Google Docs or even e-mailing critical files to yourself at the end of the work day. These types of solutions are also good because they provide off-site storage. That way even if your house burns down or is flooded, you always have your backups in another location. If you don’t feel comfortable relying on online storage for off-site storage, consider storing back up files (either on flash drives or CD-ROMs) at a friend’s house or even in your car.
Misplacing paper copies of notes and information
Managing paper is one of the biggest challenges any writer faces. Little is more frustrating than digging through reams of paper and notebook pages to find those critical notes you took from a phone interview or careful research.
When I start a new project, I select a hanging file folder, label it clearly, and put it in a prominent place in my work area. Then I simply put any information related to that project into that hanging file folder. I also use manila file folders to organize information within the hanging file folder. That way all of the information is in one place and harder to lose.
Another option to consider is to create electronic copies of your paper files by using a scanner or photocopier. With multi-function printer/scanner/copiers costing less than $100 at many electronic and office supply stores (probably even cheaper on Craigslist), this might be an excellent way to “back-up” your important papers. You can also use a digital camera or a phone camera with a decent resolution to capture info quickly.