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.