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Writing Tip #16

We live in a world where notebooks are an endangered species. Pens are antiques. In this day and age of technology, it’s so much easier to get an idea, type it out and save it “forever.”

“Forever.” Ha. Ha…ha…ha…ha…oh. No. No.

Know your files.

On a basic note, figure out a naming scheme for your files so you can find stuff. I can’t even tell you how many things I can’t find because I just called it something like, “doodymcthunderpants.doc.” Preface the file with what it is, the working title and then a date. So, for example, “shortstory-doodymcthunderpants031812.doc” Long, yes. Will I find it, though? Yes.

Print out your drafts. There are two reasons for this: first of all, it allows you a physical copy to comment on, proofread, show off to your friends, use as TP when you’ve been abandoned in the Rockies. The other is because you’ll really want a hard copy to work off when your computer explodes.

And your computer will explode. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but your computer can decide at any point that it is no longer one for this world, generate a little extra heat to that CPU and bzzt. The End.

Late last year, my computer passed away. My husband and I built a new one from scratch. Bought all new parts, a new case. I highly recommend this “exercise” (it didn’t feel like one at the time). Know everything in your computer. Know how to recognize when things aren’t going well. And clean it. God. Once every 1-3 months. Every little bit of dust is another million degrees of heat.

And be ready. Because even if your computer is a really stable guy with two-and-a-half kids, a wife, a nice job and a great body…your computer can always have a pulmonary embolism.

Back. Up. Your. Shit. There are places online to do this. Now and then, I use Google Docs. I also have a MyBook external harddrive. I’ve also been printing. I email stuff to myself.

I’m excessive.

I urge you to be excessive.

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