File Structure! The one thing you should never, ever, ever fail at! This is about as important as being able to read and write. Most of the time we work in one version and stay in that mode and mood to develop our ideas or conecpts in whatever medium we decide to work in. I work across multiple mediums across multiple software platforms. The one thing that has always been super important to me is File Structure.
File Structure is pretty much organization of your files. I like most people who start out--start out the wrong way (and yes, there is a wrong way) and get really messy. Most times you don't save or save often and you loose a file. You loose hours of work. This happens a lot when programs crash, your computer is dying on you or you spill coffee on your machine. To save some headaches, save, and save often. Once in a while--probably every 2 weeks to a few months back up your files across multiple storage areas (on a cloud server, external hard drive or data DVD disk). Its important--even though they'll be collecting dust you'll wonder whats in there and find a gem. I used to never think I would want them but--it's true. 5 to 10 years from now you'll wish you just simply had the project files rather than just the files or sources to the files you worked on today.
The second big thing is within structure you need a place for your sources, different files for programs, different places for renders and maybe a whole new section just for ideas (if you can't stop thinking and constantly have to write them down, props for you--I've yet to get to this point, but I'm sure I will soon because of HitRECord). But it's important to seperate these things out when you're working for yourself, and when you're ever working professionally for a client. And like how most of us work on HitRECord, we have to source / cite things--and the best place outside of the HitRECord site that keeps a history log of your most recent downloads and recommends--keep your source files away from your project files and renders. You don't ever want to confuse yourself. Plus, most programs don't store video, image or audio in the actual project file (Flash does, but most programs don't) so you'll wanna keep things organized so you can reload or find the footage or file you're missing in your project--if you're ever missing it.
Also in the picture, I've highlighted "__File_Structure" and "Source" because the contents in it are how I've setup the structure and the system so I don't have to constantly remake the folders and rename them. That's a tedious task. So I just copy them--and paste them. They're named quite generically. I suggest doing the same thing too. The "Source" folder is highlighted just so you remember to flush that out too. Stay organized.
Lastly--file naming. Make sure you name your work with reasonable titles and be willing to abrevate those titles, when they're too long, you'll skip past them if you're looking for them next to hundreds of other files. You'll notice that in the picture above I've got many different projects for HitRECord. Half of them are completed or haven't been touched in a long while. But I keep the naming simple, and I use underscores often. Underscores are extremely useful because a lot of programs to this day don't work on the same computing language. So usually when you have a "space" between two words--sometimes the program will not read that file. This is definetly true when you're ever building a website on your own and uploading images. Sometimes things are "case" sensitive as well--so make sure you do everything with intent.
Make sure you get into the habbits of your habbits of making content. Be tedious and backup and be organized--you won't fail at making art or being able to get your work out there but when the time comes and you can't find your work or totally lost it--I'll be the voice in your head that says, I told you so!