Sunday, January 16, 2011

Public Service Annoucement: Back Up Your Files

If you are one of the lucky ones, you've never lost a large chuck of your work. 

I am not one of the lucky ones. Luckier than some, I suppose. When I was in high school, I wrote a lot of poems and short stories and character sketches. I kept all of these on a floppy disk (which wasn't floppy at this point, because I am not THAT old, but old enough to still know what a floppy disk is).

And one day, the floppy disk was gone. Poof! I have no idea what happened to it, and still don't to this day.

When you realize you've lost a large chuck of your work it feels like someone has sucker punched you in the gut. I am not being literary here, either. It really truly does feel like you've lost your breath. You feel physically ill, like someone has just informed you a beloved relative has died. 

You think I would have learned early on to back up my work. I did, sort of. I saved all of my writing files to my laptop, so when I lost the flash drive containing all of my work, I actually had a back up. Sadly, the backup was like a week old, so I still lost some work. Lucky for me, I wasn't in the middle of writing a book, or I would have been devastated. Or more devastated than already I was.  

Enter this lovely post by Janice Hardy: Protect Your Writing Files.

I was painfully reminded again that my writing, now more prolific than ever, was still in danger. I have an external hard drive. Everything is on my external hard drive. I had considered making copies on flash drives and giving them to friends and family, but then I would run into the same problem: they would be quickly outdated. Lo, come Dropbox. It matches your files up with a copy on the Internet, so you can work from whatever computer and have access to your files.

I am not done playing around with it yet, so I can't give a full report, but I already feel much safer. My writing is now protected. Even if you decide to not use Dropbox (it's free, so it shouldn't be a monetary reason) I would highly advise you to back up your writing somehow.

You don't want to learn the hard way, trust me.


  1. I totally forgot to backup when I started writing but NEVER AGAIN! After the great loss of 2010 in which we never found out what those thousands of words said because we can't remember but MAN they were good (I think).

    So! The moral of the story is backup everything! I also have a spare harddrive because WE ALSO LEARNT THE HARD WAY that when your father offers to help with computers you backup the ENTIRE system.


  2. I lost everything in 2005 power surge that completely destroyed my desktop (despite being plugged in to a surge protector). *tear*

    Since then I back things up like crazy. I have two thumb drives (mostly for photos and writing) and an external hardrive. Plus, I use Google Docs to occassionally save a draft or two.

    For those of you who have Macs, the Time Capsule is a really easy way to automatically back up your work.

  3. @Mia: There's nothing worse than losing lots of words. There's no way you can ever recover them. *sniff*

    @Wannabe Writer: Yes. It's like being tramatized. Once you experience that sick feeling in your stomach you try like crazy to make sure that never ever ever happens again.

  4. The imformation above is so good.This may sound crazy but i never forget to backup any single document i know is important and i use a backup software on my computer called Safecopy backup.This is an online backup but it has saved me from spending tons of money.There are some others like Carbonite,Mozy,SugarSync and many more others which offer simillar services.

  5. Yeah, the days of the floppy disk! It hit me then how important it is to backup files – contents that I’ve worked on for countless nights and gone one second! Thankfully, it’s a lot easier now to backup files to another location. I do it now not solely to duplicate copies but for protection against viruses, or in any case, a computer failure. -->Ruby Badcoe