Saturday, February 18, 2012

Writing Tips- Backup! Backup now!



Why backing up is important:
My teachers are often telling us to forever back up our papers. That way, we can find a copy in case we need to work on it at school or at home. This is also important for writers. Say you've been working on that 80k word novel for three years and you just finished it. It's amazing and you know that it'll be a best seller for sure. You surf the net looking at potential agents and publisher whom you know will love you story just as much as you do. Afterwards, you go out to a party to celebrate.

But when you come home, its all gone.

Your computer contracted a deadly virus from a site you just visited and it not only destroyed your computer, but it deleted your novel. Not having saved your novel anywhere because you believed this would never happen to you, you locked yourself in your house and weep while desperately trying to rewrite the whole thing.

Don't let that happen to you!
Now I know we've all heard stories of where our fellow writers lost their work and are devastated. Knowing this, we've all hopefully backed up our files somewhere. Because we don't want this happening to us.

If you believe that you'll never lose your work, you're wrong. Fact of life, you can and will lose something story/work related at least once in your life. 

For me, I have my files backed up on at least five different places. I've emailed copies to my friends, kept files on multiple email accounts, have versions of my stories on Google Docs, keep all of my work updated onto Dropbox, I have various versions on my flashdrive, and I keep versions on my mom's computer. I also have printed versions.

This way if something ever goes wrong, a version of my work will be saved somewhere.

What you can do:
Here's a list of suggestions of different places to save your work.

  1. Your email: If you have an email account, or several, periodically attach files of your work onto emails and either send them to yourself or save them as a draft. 
  2. Your friends and family: If you have friends who are interested in reading your work, send them a copy of it. Ask them to save the document. This way if something ever goes wrong, they can send the version to you. 
  3. Flash-drives: I'd like to point out that although this is a obvious choice, it may not be the smartest choice (in my opinion). Flash-drives are easy to loose and there's always the chance that things on it might get accidentally deleted somehow. Or contract a virus which will not only wipe out your files, but spread it to other computers. Flash-drives also have a battery life, your work is stores magnetically on there and eventually that magnet will fail after about ten years. And lose your work. Yes ten years is a long time, but they will still eventually fail. 
  4. Online storage places: Besides emails, there are various sites out there, like Dropbox, where you can store stuff. Dropbox is my favorite because when I install it on my computer for free, all I have to do is store my files in the Dropbox file. If I have an internet connection, it will automatically save my files any time I make changes. Even small ones. 
    1. Internet Writing Sites: Although I keep small versions of my work on sites like Inkpop, I don't know if I would say this is a smart idea to rely on these places in case you lose your work. On Inkpop, I know that we can't copy and paste stuff. Plus, you can't download anything you upload. I don't know about other writing sites, but I wouldn't recommend this as a source to store documents. Just saying. 
  5. Google Docs: You have to have an internet connection but I like Google docs because you can edit your work online from anywhere. But I recently found out that it has a storage limit (like most things) and wouldn't let me upload my 55k word novel onto it. Anyways, even ignoring that, its still great. 
  6. Physical copies: One of the reasons I don't like printing stuff out is that I end up using a ton of paper. And then I make changes to them on my computer and the printed copies are then outdated. Which bugs me. But if you print your work out, keep them in safe places so that you won't lose them. Fire-proof safes are preferable. 
Those are my top five places to store documents and other important stuff.

Dropbox  (If you want to join dropbox and you use this link, you [and me!] can get extra free storage space. Hint, hint. ;)
Google Docs



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