If you think manuscript01.doc and manuscript02.doc saved in the same folder is enough of a backup then you're in for a world of hurt. If you think multiple files saved in separate folders is enough, you're still going to get a taste of pain.
Computers house fickle little gremlins who have a nasty habit of deciding to cause crashes at the worst possible times. Keeping your manuscript on your computer, with no other copies anywhere else, is a huge mistake.
Not only can your computer suddenly fry, but something could happen to your house (heaven forbid), so store your work somewhere completely different.
- USB storage devices are clever but easy to lose
- CDs and DVDs aren't as durable or reliable as you think.
- Printing is durable as long as you don't lose the pages to termites, fire, water, pets etc. You get the picture.
- Dropbox is a free online service.
- Trusted critique partners are handy.
- The method I use: a smart IT husband who has set up an automatic backup system on 'the cloud' or whatnot. I don't understand it. It just magically happens.
Bonus tip: keep in mind that when a writing program releases an upgrade, it doesn't necessarily allow backward compatibility for all its previous versions. Always save your old files up to the new version to make sure you don't lose your older work.
You have been warned. Now go make copies of your work.
Have you ever had a bad experience where you've lost a portion or all of your manuscript? How do you protect your work?
A big THANK YOU to Alex J Cavanaugh. I received his awesome YOU ROCK award. This, and the kind words he said, made me very happy.