by Alison Clifford
What do you think is the most devastating thing that can happen to a writer? Rejection from a publisher? Their book not selling? Or perhaps their copyright being breached?
It’s the loss of hours of work when a computer (or similar) crashes…and they haven’t done backups, and I’ve known this to induce panicked tears in others.
The world we live in is more often than not governed by technology. We work on it, and we play on it. Saving documents, games, emails, and the like is a common practise each day, but hitting the save button every now and then isn’t good enough - especially when you’ve just spent two hours perfecting that chapter, and whoosh, it’s all gone.
I use Microsoft Word to write and it does a regular ‘save’ without prompting, meaning I can usually resurrect a file if the program quits unexpectedly.
But what if your computer sudden had the dreaded blue screen of death? No amount of hitting ‘save’ would be of any use.
So I back it up.
If I do a couple of hundred words in an evening, I back it up. If I work all day, I back up several times. I can’t imagine losing two thousand words and then having to find them all over again!
There are a couple of options for backing up, which you probably already know. For those who haven’t thought about it, here’s what I do above hitting ‘save’.
I have a USB sitting in a drawer by my desk. This is what I use to do regular backups each day, or several times a day. I also have two dedicated USBs for each of my books onto which I save first drafts, edited files, cover art, etc. These currently live in my wardrobe, but I’m about to invest in a fire-proof safe for them. Why two? In case one becomes corrupt. It’s unlikely both will, so I think two is enough.
I use Dropbox, but I don’t have it auto-sync all of my files. This stops me accidentally deleting a file from Dropbox when I bin it on my computer. There are other Cloud type services around, so choose what suits you. Remember though – there is no actual ‘Cloud’. All that is happening is your files are being saved on someone else’s server. I wouldn’t recommend using a Cloud as the only backup. Cloud type services can be hacked, or the provider could suddenly go out of business, taking your files with them.
My daughter suggested this, and I think it’s not a bad idea. Email the files to yourself. The email and its attachment can be saved in a dedicated folder, and the older files deleted.
Another option I considered was an external hard drive, until hubby pointed out that I would lose everything if it corrupted. The USBs seem a safer way to go.
Each person needs to decide what method suits them, but please, make sure you back up your work!
If you have any other ideas for backing up files, please let me know.
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