This past week, the hard drive on my laptop failed. Totally kaput, computer wouldn't boot up, gone. After the initial moment of panic, I realized that I was okay. I had backed up my data only a few days before on my external hard drive, and even more recently when it came to the writing I backup on Dropbox. Everything was safe.
This wasn't the case the first time my hard drive crashed (on a different computer), back when I was in college. I hadn't backed anything up. Ever. I was a hundred pages into the second draft of what would turn out to be my first finished novel (you know, the one I spent 8 years on). I would have lost everything, if it weren't for a data specialist who retrieved most of my word documents for a pretty sum of cash. It was awful. Worst breakdown I've ever had.
With NaNoWriMo coming up, there will be a lot of talk about backing up your work. If I remember correctly, there's an entire week dedicated to reminding you to do it, if you're part of the NaNo communities.
So, here's your early reminder to back up! And back up your backups. Keep them in multiple places, just in case. The advice I heard was at least one hard copy backup and a backup in the cloud, with potentially a second hard copy backup in a different location (you know, in case of fire or something). Multiple backups and archives will only help make sure your work stays safe and accessible. Make sure you back up frequently, too. At least once every other week or so, preferably more often. The more often you back up you work, the less data you'll lose in the event of a crash or other awful thing.
Take from me: there's nothing quite so relieving as knowing the latest draft of your story is safe and sound.
kickstarter for the anthology she has a story in is almost funded! Throw money at it and enjoy her story "Glitter Bomb," plus twelve others.