Here’s a lesson to learn from my experience. Don’t wait to have your own.
Stop for a second to close your eyes and consider just how much harm losing data from the past one day, week or month would do to your life. Now open them, go and back up, especially if you are in a period of doing some intense writing, but do so even if you think you aren’t.
Here’s a horrible experience to show you why. In fact, I got quite lucky – considering the circumstances –, since I had a full back-up from about two months before my hard drive said ‘bye-bye’ and quite a few files saved online. Still, it is hard to describe the loss of even what I’m aware of having lost – not to mention what I might still discover. *Shivers and types on silently*
There is the immediate loss: I was in the process of preparing a paper and a presentation. I was working offline on the train on my way to the uni town, so when – almost at the end of the journey, of course – blue death took over my screen, I lost about a day’s work: typing, assembling spreadsheets, analyzing data… Recreating all that the next day is way more painful than having to write something from scratch. You know you already did it, and that it could all be there in your head… if only you could recall what it said… just the essence… It’s impossible.
Then, later, when you’re happy with your new hard disk and all the data you managed to restore, one day you will start searching for that particular file – that short story or character description you grasped so wonderfully, when was it… oh. That week. Or the game you planned to launch and crafted so carefully, with all outcomes considered, rules worked out, but didn’t add as a draft post on your blog… Well, there. Rewrite. That’s what I’m doing.
Please. Back up your files. All of them. I mean, now. In case your cell phone says, two days after your computer screwed up, “SD card not found”. You know, the one that contains the interview recordings for your thesis…