Every field, hobby or endeavor has its stumbling blocks that over time have ruined careers or at the very least reduced some artists to babbling heaps of humanity searching for the true meaning of... Why? You know... like why me? Why now? Let's take a look at some of the major stumbling blocks to keeping your artistry, career, sanity or all three in line.
Poor or Non-Existent Data Retention/Backup Plans
You would think that with all the online and local backup options available today that nobody would lose any of their work. However, some artists still get caught short. Losing work is painful... losing all or part of a project before delivery could be a disaster. A simple online backup service can solve this problem for less than $60(US) per year. The added bonus is they also store files that are retrievable anywhere you have an internet connection so it's like having all your assets travel with you but not crowding your laptop or device. The real kicker here is your current projects are stored automatically while you work... no action is required on your part to back them up.
Out of Date Software and Drivers
It should go without saying that we need to keep our system and all software up to date. Yet, a lot of us don't really do this until something forces us to do so. Keeping your operating system up to date can be automated and software publishers are making it easier for us to update their software. Make it a point to setup auto-updating when appropriate or make it a habit to check for updates regularly like every Monday or Wednesday. Don't ignore those driver updates!
Keeping Notebooks and Desktops in Top Condition
Keep your machine cleaned and cooled with no interior build up. Desktops are easy for the average user to open and clean, but a lot of us don't really want to open our laptop and if this is you then be mindful of where you set it down. Keep the vents cleared. Try removing dust buildup carefully with a swab or toothpick instead of blowing the dust back into the compartment and possibly overworking the fan bearings if they are in the way of the blast.
UPS - Uninterrupted Power Supply
If you are in an area prone to storms, particularly electrical storms, or if your power tends to brown out as it does in some rural areas investing in an Uninterrupted Power Source (UPS), it can save a lot of future headaches. Modern UPS devices are much more reliable than they were in their infancy. This author is running close to 5 years on a UPS now. It is recommended to use automatic shut-down protection software provided by most UPS manufacturers. A USB connection from the UPS to your computer controls the shutdown in case of a power emergency.
Virus Protection and Script Blockers
Is free good enough protection for your artwork? Or should you invest in more protection like pro versions that have script blockers? If it's within the budget, every artist should consider a strategy of buying up in protection to gain more security features particularly if you use that machine for cruising the internet. For something as important as your life's artistic work, the protection provided by free antivirus versions may not be enough.
Seasoned users are a careful lot by nature, but complacency in any one of these areas can lead to the loss of art that cannot be replaced. For a lot of us trying to duplicate a work is never quite the same as the original no matter how hard we try. Not having a plan to deal with these stumbling blocks can rob a creative person of more than just output. It can stab deep into the creative soul.