File Backup – Flipping the Bird to Your Computer

I’ve always loved my computers because they hold globs of magic; my passport to the entire world, my recipes (for dishes I’ll never cook), my exercise plan (which I do plan on using), Behler files, and my writing. Since my computer holds my life in its dainty cyber fingers, I treat her like one of my children, so if she threatens to crap out on me, she’ll give me some warning.

Sadly, my computer doesn’t hold the same feelings for me as I do for her because when she does crap out, I have no warning. I dutifully press the ON button and await my morning magic – only she doesn’t greet me with her usual beep. Instead, I’m greeted with a blank screen (cyber humor for flipping me the bird). My computer knows me well. She senses my rising panic and chuckles softly to herself, thinking she’s really uncorked my bottle (which, of course, she has).

My latest dalliance with being uncorked was a few months ago. Oh, she thought she got me good. B*tch. But I one-upped the rancid wench by having a file backup system. When she blew, I sent that ungrateful ratbag directly to Computer Heaven and stole our family computer…and rescued my cyber life from my offsite file backup system.

Every author should have some sort of file backup system. Whether it’s a backup hard drive or offsite system, you need one. A couple of our authors have written us in a panic because their computers decided to take a dirt nap, or their computers were stolen – and took their manuscripts with them. They didn’t have any backup system in place and, luckily, I had a copy. But what if I hadn’t? I hate to think of the hysteria in the author’s office…and mine. The beagle would have had to perform emergency CPR. Patooi.

I hear this problem all the time – author has a deadline, computer senses fear and flips its lid, renders author clinically insane. Dear authors, save your sanity and deny computers their propensity of dying when it’s least convenient. Get some sort of file backup in place. Once it’s gone, it’s so hard to re-write or replace. Preferably, get a backup system that writes in the background and works automatically. I used to save to a zip drive, and I’d forget to back up. My computer knew this and went kablewie after I’d written five chapters and hadn’t saved them. I. Wanted. To. Die.

Flip your computer the bird and revel in the fact that you’re smarter than that bucket of bolts and sand by having a backup system. There is no better feeling to create, knowing that it’s preserved forever. And….your editor will really appreciate it, too.

8 Responses to File Backup – Flipping the Bird to Your Computer

  1. Lots of easy ways to do this now, too, Lynn. If you have a Mac, worth investing in a Time Capsule which takes automatic backups on an hourly basis. There are equivalents for PCs. But also get yourself a free Google Drive or Dropbox. Both appear as folders on your computer. Copy the file to the folder and hey presto you have a backup saved in the Cloud, so even if the house burns down you still have a backup. Being a belt and braces (suspenders you might say) person, I have both a Time Capsule and copy any WsIP to Dropbox every day.

  2. Yeppers, I have Dropbox, too. Problem is, I constantly forget to save the files to it. I use CrashPlan, and it does the thinking for me…which I really need!

  3. stephanieberget says:

    Lynn, CrashPlan sounds like a program I’d better check out. I send email to myself with my WIP attached, but I sometimes forget.

  4. Julie Rowe says:

    I use DropBox. It’s an online file storing/sharing system. You can use it to just backup your files or you cn upload your manuscript, enable your editor to access the manuscript for editing, then start working on those edits without using email at all.

  5. sara bowers says:

    Best advice to writers ever!

    Personally I use dropbox. I work right from the files on it so I don’t have to remember to upload plus I always have the latest version no matter which computer I work from. I also have an external back up plan that I use every now and again. Loose the MS once and you’ll never do it again.

  6. tbrosz says:

    I’ve had multiple backups of my data files, both on and off site, for years.

    What makes me nervous is my applications and system files. I do “system images” on a regular basis, but I’ve never had to reconstruct a computer from a system image before. Will it work?

    In the past, I’ve rebuilt my computer system from scratch, by laboriously re-installing the operating system and all the applications. If you’re working with a new computer, this is probably the way that creates the fewest problems. But what a pain.

  7. Lynn, I always thought you were the smartest knife in drawer. Don’t let that PC upstage your cerebreal vortex – or whatever. The key as you say so eloquently is an autoback-up. (Notice the auto?) I got me a bunch of Dells so I use Dell Stage auto back up. Runs in the background and I couldn’t lose a file if I was me. I also have a wireless network at home with a two terrabyte drive wired in that regularly snoops around for things to back up.

    I also got me google docs for those things I work on with the work PC that I shouldn’t be working on with the work PC and another portable 800 gigawatsit drive to do the occassional parnoid back up -you know just in case. Lots of picures on that one.

    It is necessary becuase I just changed my DDS’s (Dear Devoted Spouse’s) hard drive when it took a leapof faith with no net and crashed – right about the same time the DDS got mad and punched her PC out. (I am no tmakign that up.) The two incidents might be unrelated and so might my kids. Without that two terrafirma thingy, she would have been toast.

    And we won’t go into the teen’s mother board that I replaced because children might be reading this.

    Good luck with your back. Up.

  8. Thanks for the reminder! I usually send my ms to Kindle so I can edit it, but that would mean retyping the whole thing until I learned how to convert from azw back to word. =)

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