The importance of backing up your work

I know too many writers who focus heavily on the act of putting word to paper (or document). What they often tend to forget is the importance of backing up their work. You’ll find two main reasons for keeping a backup;

1.You can save your revisions. This may appear compulsive, but on a few occasions I found myself preferring a previous version of a chapter over what I wrote. Keeping revisions helps restore that.

2. You save hours of work. A computer virus, crash, or accidently delete kills hours of work, often leaving a writer to drudge up, somehow, the words they just wrote down.

So back up your files- often and regularly.

How often do you back-up?

The answer to this question touches upon how much work you accomplish in the given time. I suggest backing up every time you end a writing session. If you work for hours, back up at each break, or even occasionally through the time writing.

How do I backup?

There’s many online services to back up your work online, such as www.myotherdrive.com, which provides 2 gigabytes of storage for free. You can upgrade your account to as much room as you need, but I find 2 gigabytes offers plenty of room for document backups.

Another type of online service includes Google documents, which offer storage as well as online word processor to view, edit, and even share your documents. There are other sites that offer similar service such as Zoho.com.

Flash drives, also known as thumb drives, offer a cheap method to backup just about anything. They cost around $10 for 2 gigabytes, and you can buy larger capacity drives up to 16 gigabytes (for around $60.00).

Not only are these portable drives great for backups, you can install programs called portable apps such as AbiWord, (a word processor), OpenOffice (a software suite which includes a word processor, spreadsheet, etc) or a portable Firefox browser, or even antivirus scanners that work from the flash drive. In other words, you carry a small hard drive (programs and files) in a handy, portable flash drive.

CD-RW, CD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-R are all disks you can burn all your back up files to. You’ll need the appropriate drive, possibly installed already on your computer. You’ll also need the program to burn the files to disk such as Nero, and you’ll also need the proper disks. For instance, if you have a DVD burner, you’ll need the DVD disks.

Memory cards, the kind you use in a camera, could also work as a backup. Insert into the proper slot and copy as you would any drive. Some of these tiny disks hold as much 8 gigabytes and store easily. I find they cost a bit more than flash drives, but if that’s all you have on hand for now, you can use them easily.

Not all computer have memory card readers.

Unorthodox methods.

MP3 players are nothing more than portable music players with hard drives. Obviously, you can’t play the documents, but the file themselves can be easily copied to the player and stored there.

Cell phones, the ones you can sync or plug into your computer can also hold documents.

Whatever your method, consider backing up frequently. Save your work, and remember to run antivirus software regularly.

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2 Comments

Filed under Handy Links and Resources, Writer

2 responses to “The importance of backing up your work

  1. I use these methods of backup:

    Windows Live Skydrive- gives you 25 GB of backup, not just for documents but pictures, music, PDFs (though you can’t view them in-drive) and other things that might linger on your hard drive.

    San Disk Cruzer 4 GB flash drive

    And, the novel writing software I’ve installed makes its own backup copies of your WIP locally on any drive you choose. I have yWriter bak files on my portable 320 GB hard drive and on the C:\ drive of my computer.

    I agree with this so much because I was transferring files with Windows Easy Transfer and in my old computer, WITH my portable hard drive plugged in, I went into my Writers library (running Win7) which houses files on several different drives and deleted what was on my disk drive. I was giving the old computer to a friend so I had to delete them. Thank god for Sky Drive and the fact I just sent two recent short stories out in an email or else all work would have been lost.

    Like

  2. I have flash drives and I bought a 350BG portable HD, just in case. Google docs is also a good option but they do have a file size limit.

    Like

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