I’m pretty paranoid about backing up my work. Call it OCD, but every time I get up to go to the bathroom, stretch, whatever while I’m writing, I back up my open document. I think after not getting to work on this book for so long I probably see the words as more precious than they are (which makes editing really, really hard, btw).
Anyway I’m not trying to break the habit. Among my backup tools-of-choice is a pen my dad gave me that has a USB drive as its top. It’s kinda concealed behind the metal tab I’d use to hook it somewhere, say around the old pen protector of geeky mythdom. I have multiple versions of the book draft on there. When it’s time (say, after I write six or seven new words), I pop the top of the pen out from its chassis, plug it into the drive on the side of my laptop, and gets to backin’ up. Then everytime I get up from my seat in Widener, the library where I’m writing, I eject the drive, plug it back into the top, and take the whole pen with me.
I love the old-school cloak-and-dagger connotations of this object. I love how crazy-pants I know I’m being. That that’s what I take with me. Not my wallet, not my keys, not even my iPhone. A piece of promotional swag that was made for slave wages in Guangdong province.
I know my premeditation will be rewarded, though. Going through this elaborate exercise in redundancy. Because one day I’ll be in the Ladies, and suddenly the fire alarm will go off, and we’ll all have to evacuate the building immediately and in the hubbub the dude in the corner writing his dissertation on post-Cold War Russia (no I’m not making that part up) whom I’ve never talked to will finally be able to enact his plan to snatch my laptop and steal my book draft. Because he’s been waiting to do that. His whole life.
And after the dust settles, after we’re let back into the building and I discover with dismay that my computer’s gone and all trace of him along with it, I’ll pat my pocket to check. And yes, the pen will still be there, along with my entire creation backed up from just a few minutes before. Trust.
(N.B. None of this post was intended as any kind of endorsement for Jenzabar, the company that put its name on the pen. Although if you’re a sales rep from there and happen to be reading this, I’d love an 8GB version. WILL WHORE FOR DATA STORAGE.)