Sunday, July 29, 2012

Do you know where your stories are?

This post is very late, please accept my apologies. I had everything typed up and ready to go and then I left my laptop on a plane somewhere between St. Kitts and Washington DC. It could have been devastating. Of course, there was one absolutely brilliant short story that I had written that I have now lost (I dare you to prove otherwise), but other than that, everything was backed up, so my loss was the hardware, which is significant but thankfully replaceable.

So this post is on the mundane issue of backing up. We can write the most articulate and mind-blowing stories, however, if we don't back up, we are basically playing the lottery with our work.You don't even have to be as careless (I prefer 'temporarily confused') as I was to lose your data. A power surge (ok, maybe that only happened in Ghana), a random hard drive crash or a virus (a whole other topic) can cause you to lose all of your data.

You can use CDs, DVDs or flash drives but my personal opinion is that it is never a good idea to keep anything sacred on media that is so easy to misplace or to sustain damage. External hard drives are also a good option, although you need to keep them somewhere separate from the rest of your hardware so that if there is a physical problem - power surge or fire, it will not affect your originals and your backups.

Cloud backups (backups to online servers) are becoming very popular now and are a good option. Some are free, but most are inexpensive. This is a good option once you go with a reliable provider.

What do you use for backing up your work? How often do you backup? Share your experiences with us.


William Doonan said...

I'm so paranoid about losing data that I back everything up multiple times. USP sticks all the way, but I also use Carbonite, an online backup service that runs automatically.

That way, I don't lose track of my cannibalistic sixteenth-century conquistador mummies!

Anonymous said...

I use just about every backup technique under the sun (though not all at the same time). One method that you haven't mentioned, though I believe it's quite popular, is to e-mail your work to yourself or a trusted friend.

Jewel Amethyst said...

I do use an online back up system just in case. But I also have a habit of emailing my work to myself so that I can access my files from anywhere in the world by logging into my email.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oh wow, the biggest danger of carrying your laptop with you. Glad you didn't loose anything else besides the brilliant story. I know you are telling the truth. :)

Eugenia O'Neal said...

As a nominee for Most Absent-Minded Person in the World, I've lost manuscripts or, rather the most recent versions of manuscripts because I've forgotten to back up. This drives my IT friends crazy but one of them installed Dropbox on my computer and everything is now automatically saved. (Or so, I'm told.)

When I remember, I will also email manuscripts from one of my email addresses to another. And I have a jump drive on which I'll save things every now and then.

In the BVI we have power surges and also outages all the time so Dropbox has been particularly important.