I just came across this post by Cid Tyer about “versioning”. I like her system – my own way of doing it is incredibly disorganized and can do with a jazz-up of Cid’s description.
Versioning is one of those tricky necessities when writing on a computer. You’re working on a piece, and you save it. Simple enough. Then the next day you come back and scrap half of what you worked on the day before, substituting it with something different. Save again. Then realise you actually liked what you had two days ago – too bad. It’s gone.
By saving versions of your work as you go, you can always recover any earlier work you’ve done.
I like to do a lot of editing long-hand, which means I have print-outs of earlier drafts of my work with notes scribbled in many a margin. I’ll probably keep doing this, but at least by saving different versions of a WIP I can save myself the hassle of hours of shuffling through paperwork for the right edit.
It’s also nice to sometimes show yourself just how much a work has evolved. Early vomit drafts of pieces that ended up working often make me feel better when I can’t seem to find my way into or out of something new. Sure, it’s bad now, but it has potential to not always be that way – look what happened with this other piece!
So today I give “versioning” a thumbs-up.