In addition to caring for your physical body when writing, we also need to take care of our mental and emotional health. One of the key issues here is to backup . . .
There are three types of backup that you ought to have to have to have when doing long-term writing projects.
- First, do a backup of your writing every few minutes, not only on your computer. Backup onto a flash-drive (aka memory stick). Backup onto your laptop via the network. Backup onto another computer. Believe me, there’s NOTHING worse than losing a chunk of your precious novel at a crucial point in the story.
Two years ago, I made the mistake of opening my writing of the previous day, then closed it without thinking, thus saving it over my current work. What a tragedy. Sure, I could rewrite the story. But it put me way behind by several thousand words. I nearly gave up there and then. So backup as you go–in different locations.
- Backup at the end of each session onto a Rewritable CD/DVD. Don’t save over the previous writing. Do an incremental backup, so that you can always go back to the previous one if you accidentally delete something from your current work in progress.
- Electric companies seem to take delight in trying to sabotage important writing projects, so prepare for them to cut you off mid-sentence.
This of course is especially relevant to South Africans in our present Eskom crisis, but it’s been known to happen in other parts of the world too! So prepare for power-outages.
If you have a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) or if you’re using your laptop, that’s ideal. At least you should have time to shut down gracefully and not suddenly lose everything you’ve written. (Another reason for the frequent backups friend!)
In any case, keep a battery-powered light, and the most primitive of equipment–a pen and notebook–to hand. If you’re suddenly plunged into darkness you can quickly scribble down the thoughts that were in your head. Then when the power is on again, leave a clear gap in your manuscript and carry on typing your story. When you have a chance, transcribe the written words over to your computer.