Have you read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott? Set in the Civil War era, Jo March wants to be a writer and she has written a manuscript by hand. Low on funds and on time, it’s been a laborious feat to write a single copy. In one scene, Jo’s sister gets angry with her and burns the manuscript.
That scene still makes me shudder.
Hopefully you don’t have a sister who would throw your masterpiece in the fire, but there
are plenty of other potential disasters. Hard drive crash, the loss or theft of your laptop, or even human error. The possibilities are endless.
The only thing you can do is back up your work in progress.
Haven’t done it yet? E-mail a copy of your manuscript to yourself. Then go buy a USB flash drive and use it every day. Look into getting a wireless back up drive or find a cloud-based hosted backup service.
Sure, it’s a hassle and it’s hard to remember to back up your data. But it’s easier than having to write your manuscript again.