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I have no idea how a flash drive works, but I can tell you how flash technology has improved my life. My flash drives have 100 to 200 megabytes of memory. They keep my data safe and are remarkably portable. Nice, because I go to the farm every four to six weeks to write. Also nice when I have to run from a hurricane.

I got my first personal computer in March of 1987. It had a twenty megabyte hard drive, par for the course for most of the eighties. Dave, the guy who sold it to me, said, “Your hard drive is going to crash. Believe it. Save your data outside your machine if you want to preserve it.”

I did. Fear of losing my precious files made me diligent. I saved on floppies at first. As the years rolled by, I saved on diskettes, tapes, Zip and CD drives. I meticulously dated and labeled those suckers. I had boxes full, stashed upstairs and down. I not only saved individual files, but backed up entire hard drives. I made duplicates and warehoused them in my bank vault, in case my house burned. Sorting and moving those storage devices was a hassle when I went to the farm.

Finally, it happened. My computer crashed almost two years after I got it, right before I sold my first novel.

The hard drive on that original PC had to be “parked” each time I finished writing. I parked and saved, ad infinitum, every freaking day. In that first crash, I’d have lost seven novels with their synopses, plus about thirty partials if that data had not been saved on floppies. I had hard copies in my outsized lock box at the bank, but who wants to key in entire novels—or even partials? Not ole lazybones here.

I did an upgrade, bought a computer with more Random Access Memory, had those saved electronic files installed and breathed a sigh of relief.

Through a succession of computers, I’ve had three more crashes, each accompanied by my own personal crash–a nervous breakdown. Those crashes were unexpected and mysterious, although I’m certain that an electrical brownout in the middle of a snowstorm was responsible for the one at the farm. Yeah, I was writing during a blizzard. Picture me frantically trying to close and save as my words sagged and danced all over the screen. That crash was restricted to my farm machine and easily fixed because I’d saved everything.

Saving and transporting files is now a snap. I have a beautiful setup that stays at the farm: a laptop with an ergonomic keyboard and a printer. Life is sweet. I simply hang an updated flash drive around my neck and go. Oh, WOW is me!

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