Contrary to what some readers might think, a writer’s life is not a bed of roses. (Okay, I know that’s a cliché, but I wanted to use this photo I took at our church picnic yesterday, so humour me.)
My daughter is going to think this post is directed at her, but it isn’t. Not really. It could have happened to anyone. Losing an important file is devastating. Losing a manuscript is every writer’s worst nightmare. To get a couple different perspectives on what I’m talking about, check out literary agent Rachelle Gardner’s post, “Never, never, never lose your work.” Then perhaps slip over to read DD Shari’s post, “Une petite freak-out.”
We all save our documents. I guess the question becomes HOW do we save them? Shari’s manuscript was duly deposited in Dropbox and regularly saved, and yet a month worth of ‘saves’ after May 7th were apparently ineffective. She’s lost her last month’s work. My important files are also in Dropbox, so now I’m nervous.
How do we back files up to avoid freak-out situations? I thought I was being thorough by also having Time Machine automatically backing up our computers on a Time Capsule… until the Time Capsule died. I also have significant files on a flash drive but I learned of a writer who inserted her flash drive one day, only to find it had been damaged and wasn’t recognized by her computer, so she couldn’t access any of its files.
Rachelle recommends using a remote (off site) backup with a system of automatic saves. She mentions Carbonite, Mozy, iCloud (for Mac users) and Dropbox, but her readers offered several other suggestions as well.
Shari says we shouldn’t get obsessive about it, but one of the people commenting on Rachelle’s post says,
“I have both Dropbox and Carbonite. I also periodically copy files to a flash drive. But just so you know, if you have an interruption to the internet or your computer hangs without crashing…you will lose everything until a reboot restores everything to normal. Lost half a day’s work because I think a power surge froze the computer but it looked like I was still being able to work. I merrily worked but the automatic save didn’t save, and finally after a system crash the whole system went back to an earlier time…So even those aren’t total fail safes. Murphy works around your best-laid plans. Best you can do is mitigate damage and move on.”
I don’t like dancing with Murphy. That’s always risky. After reading other people’s horror stories, I’m thinking I need to take another look at how effective my system would be in various worst-case-scenarios.
What’s your idea of a dependable way to ensure the safekeeping of your manuscripts or other important files?
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