If you are one of the lucky ones, you've never lost a large chuck of your work.
I am not one of the lucky ones. Luckier than some, I suppose. When I was in high school, I wrote a lot of poems and short stories and character sketches. I kept all of these on a floppy disk (which wasn't floppy at this point, because I am not THAT old, but old enough to still know what a floppy disk is).
And one day, the floppy disk was gone. Poof! I have no idea what happened to it, and still don't to this day.
When you realize you've lost a large chuck of your work it feels like someone has sucker punched you in the gut. I am not being literary here, either. It really truly does feel like you've lost your breath. You feel physically ill, like someone has just informed you a beloved relative has died.
You think I would have learned early on to back up my work. I did, sort of. I saved all of my writing files to my laptop, so when I lost the flash drive containing all of my work, I actually had a back up. Sadly, the backup was like a week old, so I still lost some work. Lucky for me, I wasn't in the middle of writing a book, or I would have been devastated. Or more devastated than already I was.
Enter this lovely post by Janice Hardy: Protect Your Writing Files.
I was painfully reminded again that my writing, now more prolific than ever, was still in danger. I have an external hard drive. Everything is on my external hard drive. I had considered making copies on flash drives and giving them to friends and family, but then I would run into the same problem: they would be quickly outdated. Lo, come Dropbox. It matches your files up with a copy on the Internet, so you can work from whatever computer and have access to your files.
I am not done playing around with it yet, so I can't give a full report, but I already feel much safer. My writing is now protected. Even if you decide to not use Dropbox (it's free, so it shouldn't be a monetary reason) I would highly advise you to back up your writing somehow.
You don't want to learn the hard way, trust me.