Don’t you hate it when your computer crashes? When the power goes out and so does your sanity? When a client decides they want the first version of your work after ten revisions?
Don’t you wish traditional work had an easy Save button?
While everyone has their own method of saving their progress and their sanity, here are my some ways that I save my progress. I’ll go over digital and traditional methods that you are more than free to share with fellow creatives.
One of my friends and fellow writers shared a very neat tip with me.
When a song finishes, save your progress.
Most of us creatives work alongside music and doing a Command/Control + S is quick and easy. This same kind of logic can be applied to television shows and Youtube channels you may be listening to in the background. You simply save after every commercial break instead of a song track.
If your file suddenly becomes corrupted. All that progress you kept saving is suddenly lost.
This is why I recommend to occasionally do a Save As as opposed to a Save. On top of that, take the time to label each version. Either number them at the end such as filename01 or filename_v01. The way you handle it is up to you. The key is to be consistent.
If you feel your computer will be cluttered with too many files. Then make folders to put these archived files away. Feel free to label these folders by date or by what step of the progress you are going through.
For example, keep all your saved files in a folder labeled Sketches or by date like Month_Year.
This tip also helps if you are dealing with a fussy client. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told, ‘Hey do you remember that thing you did three months ago? Can we use it again?’. If you save over your work you’ll lose previous versions that a person may want to revisit.
Remember: Save Early, Save Often & Save As
Often, when I deal with traditional media, I like to make photocopies of my progress. I tend to photocopy my progress after I sketch, then once again after I do my linework. This way if a drawing doesn’t go the way I planned, I could simply whip out my photocopied version and trace over it.
Or if I want to change my pose. I’ll put my original sketch on the bottom and draw over it with a new sheet of paper.
I also love to color, so if I make multiple copies of my line art, I can easily experiment with ways to pretty it up with my Copics or color pencils- perhaps even a combination of both!
While doing this method can result in having a cluttered office, it can do wonders if you want to be more efficient with your time.
If you are concerned about clutter, you can scan your iterations to the computer so you don’t have to deal with the extra paperwork. While if you want to avoid computers all together, purchase a folder to keep everything organized and tidy.
This concept can also be used for other projects besides drawing. Photocopying a scene of your novel before attempting to write out the same scene in a different way can prove to be useful. So there’s a tip for all you writers out there who thought I forgot about you.
Record Your Thoughts
Memories are fleeting. Our minds are constantly being bombarded by new information that sometimes those new nuggets of info overwrite the current ones in your mind. I discuss more about the benefits of writing down thoughts and ideas in 5 Ways to be Productive & Stay That Way.
Personally, I write everything I need to remember down. If I need to save a piece of information for later. I trust a handwritten note more than memory
I started bullet journaling a few months ago and I found that it has definitely helped keep me sane as more and more ideas flood into my mind. I’ve even heard of people who actually record their thoughts by using an app while they talk about all their ideas and then they replay those audio clips when they are behind a desk as opposed to behind the wheel.
This is a method of saving I don’t do often, however the times I do, it saves me a lot of time and brain power.
If I need to remember something, but I’m in a rush. I take a picture of whatever it is I need to remember. If I parked my car in a full lot, I take a picture of my car and the area around it so that I can use the landmarks in the picture to find where I parked.
While these uses do not directly relate to creativity and productivity, I think the time saved from these tips do help you in the long run.
However photographing your progress can definitely be a time saver in your projects. If you share a space with someone else, you can always take pictures of your desk before you leave the room. This way you can remember how you set up your workstation and save time if someone decides to use your desk.
If you are sculpting something out of clay, you can take pictures of your progress and materials so if you ever decide to do a similar project, you’ll know exactly what materials to use and how to do it.
Take pictures of your progress & post them up on social media!
Similarly, other crafting projects could also be photographed while worked on to ‘save’ your work. If you need to, take multiple pictures at different angles so you can fully save your progress and reference it in the future. Remember when you export your pictures to label them or store them in a folder where you can easily find the pictures when you need them. Last thing you need is to waste time looking for pictures when you can be creating!
While saving your progress constantly seems like a lot of work, your future self will thank you for being cautious. Remember Murphy’s Law, save often and if you have any tips or tricks that work for you, feel free to share them below!