Let’s stand at the finish line for a moment because in some ways, this will tell us how to start.
At the very end of NaNoWriMo, you will upload your file to their web site so it can verify your word count. (Don’t worry, you can scramble the letters to jumble your content and it will still preserve the word count.) You may update your word count as often as you’d like throughout November.
In order to get your finisher’s certificate, you have to upload a file with all of your words in it.
So, back at the starting line, here’s how to be kind to your finishing self — write on one platform and back up your work to an alternate location after every writing session.
Maybe you’ll write in a Microsoft Word file on your desktop then save a copy of it to a Dropbox folder, or write in Google docs, then email a copy to a non-Google email address. Or perhaps write in 750Words.com and export the month-to-date file and save it to a network or a cloud server. (Go to “Settings,” “Search and Export,” bam, the whole month’s file is right there.) You could save a copy to your iPod or to your Kindle.
I do not recommend working off of a hard drive, even if you back up your hard drive constantly. Hard drives die and if it is a severe death, restoring off of a back up by an IT professional takes days which you may not have. Similarly, I do not recommend saving to a thumb drive as your primary source. Thumb drives die, go missing.
You’ve come all this way — don’t let this important detail trip you up. Keep a back up separate from the source.