Continuing this post series with a tip for not losing your shit (in several senses of the word):
Save early, save often, create redundancies.
After two destroyed hard drives, four lost USB drives, and countless crashed programs, I think I learned by now not to take anythign for granted. Trust me, losing hours of graphics work when your program crashes before you can save is nothing compared to months of writing progress getting lost on a damaged hard drive. It still physically pains me to think of all that material lost to the aether…
Save early. If your program has an autosave function, use it. Doesn’t matter if you just started a new document or you just wrote a paragraph or two. Save it. Trust me. Every time a new operating system comes out, glitches happen. Every time a software updates, glitches happen. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Save.
Save often. Again, this should be muscle memory. It’s just Ctrl+S, half a second and it’s done. In MS Word, you can even set it to create backup copies of your file at specified time intervals. If you write in Google Drive or similar cloud-based applications, you can export a copy of your file in a Word document for safe keeping. For the love of your sanity, use these tools. It’s one way to make sure your work doesn’t disappear, along with a piece of your soul.
Create redundancies. Whenever possible, back up your files in several locations. Dropbox makes this easy, when installed on your computer. It saves a copy of your files on your hard drive, and creates a virtual copy in cloud storage that gets automatically updated whenever you’re logged in and online. You can install it (with the same login credentials) on multiple PCs and all of them will be updated the same. But in case you forget your login or don’t want to rely on cloud storage, invest in a good external hard drive, or even a USB drive with a big enough memory, and back everything up regularly.