Saturday, January 12, 2013

Writers: Do you back up your work daily?

I had my laptop stolen once while crossing the border between Chile and Peru. I well remember that sick feeling of horror, even though I had backups online and on a flashdrive (kept separately from my computer). There I stood in the bus station, trying to explain to a police officer in my somewhat fluent Spanish how important that computer was. I did lose photographs and a daily journal with drawings as well as a lovely large Guatemalan computer bag. But, once home about a month later, I was able to retrieve my writing -- all of it. 
Hiking in the Valley of the Moon
near the Atacama Desert, Chile

But this experience changed how I think about backing up my writing. It also convinced me to switch to a netbook (easier to hide) before our next overseas trip.

So do you back up your work in progress? How frequently?

Two tools I can suggest:

1.  My Dropbox, a great free resource if you stay within file limits, for the free account set at MG. This suggestion came from my mathematician brother-in-law whom I trust implicitly being somewhat estranged from math. I routinely save ALL drafts into My Dropbox every day. This automatically puts my files into "the cloud" and also updates My Dropbox on my hubby's computer. 

2. Google docs also offers a free service (along with pay-for-more-GBs) that allows you to upload up to 2 GB and manage your documents. You can set your account up to share files with specific people or so that only you have access. 

3. Flash drives are quick and easy. At the end of 2012, I purchased a Seagate external hard drive with 1 terrabyte of memory and back all my stuff up once a month, whether it needs it or not.
I think it was Hemingway who divorced his wife when she lost his manuscript, but that was long ago, in the days when writers wrote by hand or used a typewriter. 

If my words here encourage you to find a way to back up your writing, I'll be content. 

ACTION STEP: Why not jump over to the website for My Dropbox and check it out? Here's the link: http://www.mydropbox.com

Flamingos feeding on brine,
Saltflats near the Atacama Desert, Chile