- Backup your work.
- I don’t care what else you resolve. See 1.
I have very few good habits, but computer backup and regular review of my backup schemes is one of them.
Here’s what I do these days:
- I’m on a Mac at home, so I backup to an external drive on the desk with Time Machine. Easy. This is in case of disk corruption or some other failure. I’m sure there’s some PC equivalent.
- My wife is a freelance writer and editor, so all her working stuff is in a folder that lives in my Dropbox folder, and that syncs to the cloud and to my work machine. In practice, this should mean her most recent working files plus a decent version history are effectively impossible to lose accidentally and are easy to retrieve from several sources.
- I use Backblaze to backup the whole Mac to the cloud (including things like photos, etc. that don’t go to Dropbox). There are lots of options for this service, of course, but Backblaze works well for me.
Annual cost for all my backup schemes is around $100.
If you’re a writer, you owe it to yourself to do number 2 at least. Do it right now. Dropbox’s free storage allotment will be more than sufficient for many years’ worth of manuscripts, and thus for no money at all you can have good, basic protection from lost files. Just move your manuscripts (your intricate folder structure or the mess of files in your Documents folder—however you work) into your Dropbox folder and leave it there. If you’ve got multiple machines, you’ll also have easy access to your files from anywhere.
(Yes, of course there is a tale of authorial woe behind this post.)