If I had a mantra, it’d probably be “flash in, flash out”. That’s how often I carry my flash drive and how important it is to me.
Some writers like to keep notebooks and write stuff down with a pen or pencil. Unfortunately, not only do I have horrible handwriting, my writing speed is slow. I prefer the feel of a keyboard (or *gasp* a typewriter) and do my writing in front of a computer. I’m also not rich however so lugging a laptop is out of the question. The simplest solution for me is to use a flash drive. It’s plug-and-play and I can virtually port all my documents from one computer to another. And unlike external hard drives, flash drives are small and easily fit into your pocket’s pocket (you know, that part in the jeans where you’re supposed to hide that small thing—one commercial I remember for a jeans company was a guy enters the store and buys a condom and stores it in there and the shopkeeper’s jaw drops when he finds out the guy is dating his daughter). It can also resist some damage and right now the only disadvantage I’m faced is that it’s easy to loose the caps on your flash drive.
I remember back in the day where you either had to resort to CD-Rs or zip drives to backup your data. The problem with the former is that once you burn them, you can’t change ‘em and writing for me has been pretty much revision, revision, and more revision. Zip drives on the other hand, aside from being costly, had you lugging it around as well as everyone else didn’t necessarily own one. More old school geeks might remember disk drives and floopy drives but I found them too fragile and too little in terms of memory. Right now I have around a hundred documents neatly stored and safe in my flash drive (and acts as a back-up too).
Of course if flash drives is the present, I can’t wait for the future. I easily imagine flash drives of the future having wireless access, so that you don’t need to physically plug in your flash drive to access the files stored in it. Maybe the computer in front of you will prompt you for a login and password and viola! Your files are all in there and disappear when you log out. If wireless is the way of the future, flash drives don’t necessarily have to be a device on their own but part of something else: your mobile phone, your watch, your belt buckle… the possibility is endless.
Unfortunately the future is far off and I’ll just make do with what I have right now. At the end of the day, it’s just a tool and if I don’t write at all, flash drives are useless.