As an illustration student it was drilled into me that you must regularly save your work. Computers crash and discs and hard drives fail - save two copies, save three, save after every tiny edit on photoshop.
I've never lost work as an illustrator, and I've tried to take this lesson through to my writing. I work on my WIP in two different locations on two different machines, as well as occasionally on my phone. In order to have a constant, growing back up which I can access from anywhere, I've taken to writing on an email which I send to myself every few hundred words. This way, should both my computers blow up, and should I drop my phone down the toilet (It's almost happened! More than once!), I have copies in my sent emails as well as my inbox.
I've been using this method of backing up work for years, and it saved me when my computer crashed while editing my almost-complete dissertation and the only copy I could load up was the one I'd emailed myself an hour previously. Unfortunately though, I can't protect myself from my own stupidity.
There is nothing I can do to recover work I've spent half an hour working on, have highlighted to copy into word (to check my word count in the hope of a morale-boost), and accidentally pressed backspace instead of copy.
Lesson here: Don't be an idiot!
I spent a long, frenzied half hour trying to recover it but unfortunately it wasn't to be. I'd already copied it onto clipboard but having word-counted it I selected something else and copied over it. I rewrote most of it but it left me feeling both stupid and cross, so I gave up soon after. On the plus side though, it was only 471 words so it could have been much worse!
We live, we learn, and I shall be a lot more careful in future!
Another lesson I learnt this week was about wearing very smooth socks on tiled floors. The answer is resounding DON'T!