A friend of mine who is a prolific writer had his apartment broken into not very long ago. Being a writer, he obviously didn’t have many valuables–except that laptop computer of his. When he arrived home to find it had disappeared, he knew he hadn’t just lost a computer: his novel-in-progress had vanished along with it, because he hadn’t backed it up anywhere.
All of us writers out there, when we hear stories like this, suffer that same dreadful pit in our stomach. But nowadays there’s no reason why this should ever happen to you. Free cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive make it incredibly easy to save your work to a desktop folder and synch it up with an online back-up space. Not only is your novel safe from sticky fingers, but you can also access it no matter whose computer you’re using–something very helpful if you like to get your writing done while you’re at work, not that the UCWbL endorses that.
But this brings me to a favorite target of mine: jump drives, flash drives, and external hard drives of all kinds. One reason I never shut up about the wonders of the cloud is that I’ve been personally sabotaged by two faulty hard drives and at least one jump drive, and none of that manufactured obsolescence schemery applies to the cloud. These hard drives are often cheaply made (there’s a reason why people are always giving them away for free), so they don’t handle wear-and-tear very well. And then there’s the fact that you can never quite trust that “Safely Remove Hardware” button to treat your files with care. Ditch the hard drives. They don’t need you, so why should you need them?
Finally, here’s what Guru and Premier have to say about the matter.