Have you checked your old computer files lately to see if they’ve been updated to the latest version of your software programs? Or do you have ancient documents in there that can be removed? I use Microsoft Word, and as I’ve been revising my earlier novels, I’ve been saving many of my notes in the .docx extension rather than the older .doc extension for prior versions. This is essential so you don’t lose your data if one day these forms become incompatible. Or if they become too old to convert. I even have some left over from my Word Perfect days before converting to Word. I am also changing text files to Word for preservation as I find them.
As I go through each book, I’m eliminating files that are no longer useful. This saves storage space. But now I’ve run into another issue. While revising my very first futuristic romances, I’ve noticed quotes for reviews in my files but not the reviews themselves. I have print copies of these reviews in folders for each book. Some reviews are even missing from my list of quotes. That’s because these books were written in the days before everything went online. Reviews were printed in journals and not posted in digital formats. So I don’t have copies of them in any of my computer files.
This matters to me, although it probably won’t matter to my heirs. I hope they’ll preserve my digital files, but who knows? During these plague days, we have to think about our legacy. So is it worth my time and effort to type in each one of these reviews to the appropriate book file? Probably not. I can check instead to make sure I have all of the appropriate review quotes in my online files.
This is the perfect time to clean out files and make sure they’re up to date with the latest file formats. Sort through those old book files stuffed with newspaper clippings and correspondence. Keep only what is still meaningful today. You may even consider keeping a “writer career” scrapbook highlighting your most memorable moments.
Do you periodically sweep through your files to clean them out, or are there files in your virtual folders dating back to the beginning days of the computer era?