Years ago I represented a memoir by a man writing about his mother who had a habit of stealing rocks from famous places around the world. Think Stonehenge. She was a compulsive collector of things, and might today be described as a hoarder. This is a topic of interest, as evidenced by a book Jane represented called The Secret Lives of Hoarders by Matt Paxton, as well as the successful TLC show Hoarding: Buried Alive.
I was intrigued by this recent piece in a Publisher’s Weekly blog by Barbara Vey that talks about digital hoarding. We are all immersed in technology, even those of us who fight against it, and it does threaten at times to take over our life (my client Dr. Larry Rosen talks about these things in his books like iDisorder about the “psychology of technology”).
Just last night, I was trying to share pictures from our vacation in Maine and was so frustrated that we have over 11,000 pictures on our new computer and no way to easily organize them. At last glance, I had over 50,000 e-mails in my in-box!
So, how do you writers handle digital storage when you’re writing? Do you save each draft of a novel, or just the current one? Do you organize by book so you have all your drafts and notes in one place? Do you back it up so you don’t risk deleting or losing your work? I imagine that this is a fear that keeps many writers up at night, the thought of losing your life’s work! And how does it all compare to the days of writing by hand? I recently talked about writers who still work that way, hard copies only, which can lead to a whole other kind of hoarding, not to mention all those trees that give their life for the paper trail.
Please do share your thoughts on digital hoarding, as well as any suggestions you have on organizing your work electronically to avoid it. I, for one, could use some advice!