I'm a writer, not a programmer. I'm just now for the first time learning about version control and how it works, and I am wondering how version control could streamline my workflow.
For years, I've used my own cobbled-together version of version control. My folders are littered with files like resume-2012-06-01.doc, resume-2012-06-15.doc, letter.txt, letter-old.txt, letter-v2.txt, story-notes.txt, story-notes-with-character-sketches.txt story_draft1.txt, story_draft2.txt, story_draft2-shorter.txt, etc.
Since I work alone, I won't ever be branching or merging---only committing as I go, and occasionally referencing an older version of a file.
What are the best practices for using version control to manage a solo author's writing workflow?
I'm on OSX and I'm planning to use either Git or Mercurial (still deciding which one).
- Should I version-control my entire Documents folder as a single repository? (It contains subfolders like Documents/stories/anguish/characters/, Documents/stories/anguish/drafts/, Documents/stories/anguish/brainstorming, Documents/resume/, Documents/letters/, etc). Or should I create separate repositories for each project? Or even separate repositories for each subfolder within a writing project (/interviews/, /web-research/, /story-drafts/, etc)?
- Are there advantages to having multiple smaller repositories rather than one big one?
- Should I still maintain some version of version control myself, manually? Like draft1.txt, draft2.txt, draft2-shorter.txt, etc? Or should I let the version control system do all this for me?
- In the past I tried to never delete anything, and instead stashed old files in folders called backups/, archives/, or old-version. Now that I'm using version control, can I feel free to delete files I don't need anymore?