I come across intriguing and surprising things on social media just about every day. Today’s prize? This gem from the BBC:
Now, as you’ll see if you click on the link above and read the article, this piece is a few years old. But it showed up again on Twitter with just one question posed to writers–would you do what this guy did to save your writing?
Responses in the thread were mixed. But the majority of people had a common point. Why would you ever need to run into a burning building when there are tools like Google Drive that make it so insanely easy to back up drafts?
Dissenters gave two main rationales, the first of which was their choice of tool. The assumption is that writing will happen on technology like a laptop, but this isn’t always the case. Many writers prefer to draft on regular, old-fashioned paper, for example, while others use options like typewriters. In these cases, it’s the experience of the process that makes the difference.
Secondly, some writers mentioned that their writing needed plenty of revision away–that is, they simply didn’t have enough faith in what they’d produced to say they’d take a real risk for it.
Now, if you just think your work sucks and don’t care to save it, well, okay. That’s your choice. But I’d be quick to remind you that more than one writer has been shocked at their own success.
And if you believe in yourself or at least have hope that someday you’ll have a draft others will care about as much as you do, then you have an obligation to figure out how you will create a backup for your work, whether that’s photocopies, to-self email attachments or the cloud. This is first and foremost because you need to respect both your life and the life of anyone who would try to rescue you in the emergency. But strictly from the standpoint of the craft, once a manuscript is lost, it’s usually lost forever.
You owe it to your readers, be it current or those imagined for the future, to ensure that the worlds, characters and situations you envision will last beyond a lifetime.
So although the method is entirely up to you, just do everybody a favor.
Back that sh-t up.