Hint: Now is too late.

Hint: Now is too late.

Recently I ran across yet another tale of woe from an author regarding a hard drive crash and a lost manuscript.

The thing is, the author in question knew damned well how to make backups, and had the hardware and software needed.  Pretty much anyone who uses a computer does–most systems these days come with the tools to make backups and automate the process.

Flash drives are frighteningly cheap these days–I just bought two 16 gigabyte flash drives at Microcenter for less than ten bucks each.

It was just one of those things that gets shoved to the bottom of the priority stack.  I hate reading those things, because it’s hard to comment without making the person feel worse.  If I say, “You could have used XYZ to backup your files” the person is going to think, “Yes, Forrest, I know.”

Knowing how to do backups isn’t the problem.  Getting into the habit of doing backups is the problem.

Personally, at the end of my writing day I copy my current WIP to Dropbox, Google Drive, and my official WIP flash drive, plus I have Windows set up to backup my whole laptop every night at midnight. (I used to use an external hard drive, but it died, so I am using my new 16 gig flash drives for that now.)

It’s become a habit, just what I do as part of the process of shutting down my computer for the day.  (A habit, I might add, that comes from painful experience.  I have lost a lot of writing in hard drive failures over the years.)

As it happens, I have a fair number of writers who follow my WordPress and my Twitter feed, so I am going to suggest a new hashtag.  #ambackingup

I think what I am going to do is to set my HootSuite to autopost an #ambackingup tweet once a day, probably in the evening (my time, which is Central USA).  Maybe I can help to remind other writers to take a moment and make sure that their works are backed up before they shut down for the night.

I’d like to encourage other people to use the #ambackingup tag.  Too often, I feel, backups are neglected simply because writers get busy and forget to do them.   You never know, your tweet could save the lives of countless characters who might otherwise vanish into the digital abyss of hardware failure.


About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008MPNBNS
This entry was posted in Artists That I Admire, On Writing, Who I am and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to #ambackingup

  1. I think that’s a great idea. I tend to forget until I hear of another author’s bad luck. It’s always ‘I have time to do it’ or ‘not going to happen to me’.

  2. sue says:

    I back up every Sunday morning onto a mem key. And I was reminded recently that mem keys can go bad. So I check to make sure no problems.

  3. Dave Higgins says:

    I might be more paranoid than you: as well as on save cloud backups of current projects, I have a daily back-up of everything to a separate drive, and another back-up of important things to a third location that runs at a different time.

    I used to be less thorough, but my computer crashed half way through a back-up, corrupting it.

  4. LindaGHill says:

    Excellent idea, Misha. I email my manuscript to myself once in a while… but I tend to do full backups only when I hear bad news like this.

  5. missL says:

    Great idea. It’s all about making it a habit.

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