A few years ago, which is actually not as small a number as I would like given my current age, I tried to write my first book. It was a rambling mess that had a plot which would have made Chaos Theory look structured and sane. It was, after all, a first attempt at writing. Not that this is a good excuse but this is my site so that's the excuse I am sticking with.
Anyway that book never saw the light of day for a number of reasons. Reason one being how bad it was. The main reason was that I got a nasty computer virus (this being back in the day when I knew a little less about computers than I do now) which basically wiped my hard drive.
Being a poor wee lad I had no backups of the file. There was no such thing as Cloud Storage and the concept of using your inbox as a temporary backup location was a mad idea. Meaning all the random crap I had tied together as a rough story was lost to the ether.
Ah well, lesson learned.
Except not really.
Roll on a few years and when I began writing Filthy Henry I made backups regularly. As in each chapter got a little backup action. On a USB stick, a hard drive, the laptop, my Dropbox. The works. All in fear of losing it all again to some random act of computer craziness.
Book one this was done but thankfully never required. Book two likewise, bar a slight panic when I deleted the wrong folder one day. Thank god for backups then.
As I write the third novel I've been backing up each chapter when they get completed. Which is, it turns out, not the best plan. What I should have done is backed up each chapter, even the one I am working on, each time I make a single edit. Why? Well the other day I lost the entire tenth chapter of the third book. I was coming home from work, doing the writing on the bus, when something happened and the tablet restarted randomly. End result being that when I got back to the chapter the file was empty. Nothing. Nada. Zippo.
With no backup to use as a saving point.
There is an upside to it, if you force yourself to look for the silver lining on the crashing cloud. I wasn't entirely happy with how the chapter had been going. Not really sure why, just that it was definitely being flagged for a complete rewrite.
So the crash allowed me to fix up the chapter from the get go and now I am upping the backup routine.
Lesson learned again...til next time.