Tag Archives: backup

Google Drive for Writers

driveforwritersToday I want to share with you some elements of the free Google service known as Drive. This is something like a cloud drive (you can backup files) but also an online program suite. I will be discussing mostly the Docs features.

Google Drive includes:

Docs– This is an online word processor that is compatible with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and even Microsoft Works.

Sheets– A spreadsheet compatible with Office, Open office, and Works.

Slides – A presentation service that easily integrates into web sites or shared with others. Compatible to open files from Office and OpenOffice.

Forms – A service to create and compile information from forms. Includes easy to use templates, click and build features, and saves data to the drive for access later.

Drawing– This includes an online service to create or edit graphics. Saves as PDF, JPG, SVG, and PNG.


Google Docs works similar to most word processors, including formatting, templates, and printing. You can open and save, change file formats, and share/collaborate with others online. This also includes revision history. (Saved my butt when I ‘lost’ an entire chapter of a book I was writing).

You can also add ‘add-ons’ which improves function;

Table of Contents – Creates a table of contents that runs as a sidebar.

EasyBib- Bibliography creator

Speech Recognition- So you can talk instead of typing. This works great for those who have issues with typing for long periods of time.

Mind mapping- This is a great tool to plot stories or brainstorm ideas.

ProWritingAid- This is not free, but as an add on that works in the Docs. It corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Screenplay formatter- For the script writers out there, this add on helps with formatting your doc.

Saves in these formats:

DOCX – Document Microsoft Word file

ODT – OpenOffice Document Text file

RTF – Rich Text Format, works with any word processor

PDF- Portable Document Format, used for downloading files and eBooks

TXT – Text. Very simple with very little formatting but can be read by every word processor.

HTML/ZIP – Hypertext Markup Language is what web sites are built. Often used to upload to publish books.

EPUB – EBook file format that can be read by tablets and smart phones. This is new and is an industry standard.

Google drive can also

Cloud Storage– Back up photos, documents, etc. to your cloud drive. This includes 15 GB free, and you can pay $1.99 monthly for 100 more GB.

Collaborate with others–  Not only can you share files with others, they can view or even edit them. You can also share LIVE with others. Some authors now share their writing in real time for fans to check out their process. Share via email or link on your blog. You can even embed files too

Share anywhere– Google Drive works on PC, Mac, smart phone, and tablets.

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Backing up your work

39645bbe8aaf2fe0040402e9271402dac3c32850I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to regularly back up your writing on the computer (if you prefer to word processing over handwriting, that is).

I’ve known a number of writers who lost hours, days, and even weeks of work due to not having backups. The causes? Anything from viruses, computer crashes, and even corrupt files.

How to backup:

  • To a cloud drive. There are a number of cloud drive services which are free out there in the Web. Simply sign up, and either upload or sync the files to the drive and back up periodically.

ZumoDrive– I discovered my HP Laptop already had this installed. It offers 2 GB of space free, offers an IPhone App, and synchronizes with your computer.

Windows Skydrive is another cloud drive, offering 25 GB free, and links up with with Messenger, their online web apps, and synchronizes with the computer and mobile phone.

If you Google a search, you’ll find a huge variety of choices for backing up your work.

  • To a flash drive. Flash drives, also called thumb drives, are tiny drives you insert into any USB drive and backup like any disk or hard drive. You can get them for $5-$10 and they hold from anywhere to 4-8 gigabytes of information.
  • To CD/CDR/CDRW disc. I think this gets a bit pricey over time, and more complicated than the other methods. Sometimes the ‘burn’ program you use to create the backup will foul up or the disc won’t work correctly. If you can get it to work, discs generally offer 400-700 megabytes, or DVD-r/rw offer up to 708 gigabytes of space to backup your files.

You can also check your word processor for settings that automatically saves as well as saves a back up. MS Word, I know, has the setting to save every 10  minutes, but you can change this to less time. Frankly, I’d hate to lose 10 minutes of writing.

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A Broken Chain

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The WriteChain challenge I placed upon myself fizzled out the other night. I waited too long to do the writing, and my family ended up interrupting me and I couldn’t focus enough to get it done. I found myself depressed over Mother’s Day, and stressed over other things, so I gave myself the day off.

I managed over 5,000 words in nine days, which is more than what I normally do. I was sure to write specifically with the novel, and 500 was doable in light I also blog, write tutorials for my work, and journal.

I think this illustrates that as a writer, you do need a day off from time to time. Coincidently, I got a very nasty Trojan virus on my computer yesterday, leading me to spend almost eight hours of working scans, and trying to work around this stupid thing.

spybot I finally managed to remove its evil presence. I highly recommend Spybot. Its a free program, small enough to fit on a flash drive, and works amazingly well in detecting trouble on your computer.

Malwarebytes   Free anti-malware  anti-virus and spyware removal download I also recommend Malwarebytes. This is also free and can fit on a flash drive. When you run the program, it searches for malware and viruses.

I also tell my fellow writers to BACK UP YOUR FILES. It takes a Trojan or computer crash to sink in how important it is to back up your work someplace other than your computer.

Back up to a flash drive. Also known as a thumb drive, you just plug in and use as a tiny hard drive. I have a number of flash drives for specific purposes such as my computer flash drive for repair and virus checking, another flash drive for photos and music, and another drive to back up all my documents.

Back up to the Internet. There’s a number of sites you can use to back up and even synchronize your documents;

Google Documents


Microsoft Skydrive 


Backup regularly. The more you write and create/delete files, the more often you should backup those folders.

Fortunately, I didn’t lose any data, and my new laptop is on its way. Hopefully, I’ll have it in my hands on the 16th, if I don’t go insane before then.

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The importance of backups

A writer’s worst nightmare is likely the losing of one’s work through no fault of their own. Computer crashes, viruses, or even mistakes with saving can often lose hours if not days of typing. Here are a few handy tips to save your work:

  • Backup files! This is something any computer user should be doing anyway. Putting files and documents on some sort of media (disk, flash drive, or on the Internet) should be practiced daily. I keep a flash drive specific to my writing, and another for my graphics and other important files. I also use online word processor services to save my work, generally using http://www.Zoho.com for this very purpose.
  • Setup auto-saves. Every word processor has the means to automatically save in timely increments. MS Word has the default of 10 minutes, but considering I type up to 90 words per minute, this can be a great deal of words lost if something bad should happen to my document. I get it save every three minutes, and check off the ‘always create backup file’ as well. This is found under the TOOLS, then OPTIONS, and click the TAB button entitled SAVE.

Do not think this won’t happen to you. Every writer I’ve met encountered this at one time or another, so the threat is definitely there. Also remember that by changing the name, location, or format of a file always creates a copy. Having a copy OFF the computer onto something else is very important in this day and age of computer viruses.

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