A line of thunderstorms rumbled through northern New England late this afternoon, knocking the power out in our town (among a whole bunch of other towns) for over four hours, right about dinnertime. The only place on Main Street with power was the local video rental, ice-cream shop, and pizza joint, because they had at some point invested in a generator. And they were doing a land-office business, selling pizzas and sandwiches and ice cream to a whole bunch of people — including us — who didn’t want to open their refrigerators until the power came back on. At the point we got our pizza and took it home, they had seventeen pizza orders stacked in a holding pattern waiting for oven space, and were down to their last five foot-long sandwich rolls.
And thus we see the virtue of having a good backup.
Backup plans and equipment are a good thing in the writing business as well. Don’t throw out the old computer when you upgrade; you never know when you might be facing a hard deadline and looking at a dead machine. (We had to drop back once from an Atari ST to a nearly-antique Atari 800, under just those circumstances.) Don’t forget to keep backup files of completed and published works (otherwise you may find yourself laboriously rekeying something you wrote a long time ago; and yes, I’ve done that, too.) Don’t forget to keep backup copies of works in progress — save in multiple places on your hard drive, save to the cloud (Microsoft Skydrive, Google Drive, Dropbox; or what the heck, all three), save to removable media. That way, if two weeks before a hard deadline the state police start knocking on doors all over your neighborhood and yelling, “Get out now, the water’s rising,” you can, if need be, finish your work-in-progress on a library computer a hundred miles down the road.