I'm pretty irritated at myself today because I have misplaced my flash drive on which I keep my manuscript and pretty much all my other writing, short stories, letters, blog posts, guest blog posts, critiques and so on.
It's not as tragic as it sounds because I WILL FIND IT but also because I have most of those files backed up. The backups are not 100% current and I will lose a few pages of the re-write of my manuscript but I'm pretty confident I'll remember what I wrote even if I can't find the drive. The old blog posts aren't a big deal because they're on the blog, of course, but it would be nice to have the originals for posterity. Critiqued chapters aren't a big deal because we email them back and forth so much they are on Gmail, which brings me to my next point.
Please make sure to back up your work. Especially if you are an artist or creative person. I know that Access/Outlook report for 2009 quarter four sales figures is important to your company, that's why they have automatic backup services if they are worth a damn.
As creative people we pour our heart and soul into our pages (or drawings, or tracks) and it would truly be a shame to lose those creations for ever. Please make sure you back up your work.
Here are some options you have: first what I do is simply to keep a USB flash drive. Then I sync its contents with my desktop at work and my laptop at home periodically (the current problem is that I got lazy and hadn't synced for a few days, and then now misplaced the drive). You also have to make sure you are aware which version of a file is most current so that you don't overwrite the wrong version. Both Windows and OSX have detailed file/folder views which show the last date/time that a file was updated - you could also include the date in your file naming convention if you so choose.
I also email my manuscript to myself every other day or so. Gmail has nearly endless storage and this is a good option for a sort of last line of defense. It's not perfect because you end up with a bunch of old versions and sometimes they're a little hard to find but it is WAY better than losing everything.
There are also hardware options, like an external hard drive that has a one touch backup function; I believe that Western Digital and Seagate both have options.
Software is also an option, either run locally on your own system or backed up to online servers. I don't recommend this kind of thing because it generally isn't worth the money unless you have large amounts of important data to backup but here are some links if you want to research it for yourselves:
HP Upline reviewed by PC Magazine.
SOS Online Backup (beta) reviewed by PC Magazine.
Wuala (beta) reviewed by PC Magazine.
That's all I have for now. Don't forget to come back tomorrow for Faith E. Hough's guest blog post!