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Document Look Good? You Should Back That Thing Up

We've all wanted to go Office Space on our computers at some point.
Your breath catches. You start muttering, "no, no, no, no, NO" as you stare at your now dead computer screen. If you were only a little unlucky, your computer decided to randomly shut down halfway through streaming the latest Doctor Who on your less than stellar internet connection. If you were super unlucky, you were in the midst of a blazing writing session where you'd just typed out a major scene that was so right you cried. Only you forgot to hit that lovely little save button and all your perfectly phrased dialog and delicious descriptions were lost to the netherworld.

Computers crash. Electricity goes out. Windows likes to apply updates (every freaking day). Random virus seep their way in. To put it gently, stuff happens. When it comes to your documents, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Autorecover and Autosave

Easiest thing you can do.  You click a box, select how frequently you'd like Word to autosave. Check here for instructions.

But what if your computer is as reliable as the car I had in high school (read unreliable)? Simply saving to your hard drive might not be enough for you to sleep soundly. No problem--there's plenty of other options!

Dropbox
A (free!) online service that stores your documents somewhere else (that illusive netherworld again). Create an account and upload your files. You can even sort them into folders for organizational purposes.

External Drives

Invest in a super cheap thumb drive or splurge for the more expensive yet more roomy (geez, sounds like I'm selling cars) external hard drive. 


Good 'Ol Fashion Email


Have an email account? After every session you can send an email to yourself with the document as an attachment. Create a specific folder in your email to send all the attachments to and now you have a time-dated record of drafts in case you want to revert to an earlier version.

It's a few extra minutes and can seem overly cautious, but well worth it!



Amanda Hannah

Amanda grew up on a big farm in a small town with one stoplight, one school, and a handful of imaginary friends.She would’ve gone to college forever, but eight years and five majors tested her advisor’s patience. So she moved to Germany to explore creepy castles before landing in Spain where she’s perfecting her Flamenco.

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12 comments:

  1. I use Dropbox and Google documents as backpack. Both are free and easy to use. Nothing worse than writing something awesome and then losing it to the PC/electricity gremlins.

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    1. I second the Google Docs. I prefer to write in Scrivener, but I back it up in Google Docs -- since it's online, it also makes it convenient for me to occasionally sneak in writing time on the go (eg, on my lunch hour at work).

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  2. I have a copy of my work saved on my computer, my laptop, two flashdrives, and three email accounts. I don't mess around with that sort of stuff.

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  3. I'm definitely overly cautious. I have many versions of my novel that I'm writing saved.

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  4. Ah yes...I suffered a computer crash a couple weeks ago (more specifically, the hard drive died). Thankfully I'd backed up my most important files on a jump drive, but I now use Dropbox to store an extra copy of my files as well. It's much easier to update than a jump drive.

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  5. I had a motherboard crash a couple years back. The tech people were able to save everything (for a small fortune) but after that I decided to be more careful. I lost 10,000 words on a corrupted flash drive once so I don't trust them at all (I was just trying to move my documents from one computer to another).

    Now I have Dropbox (which has saved me multiple times and has the added bonus of allowing me to easily switch computers to work). Whenever I finish a new draft, I email it to myself as added protection.

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  6. OH MY GOD YES. Over winter break last year, my computer DIED. But, fortunately, I'd just backed up my WIP the night before, so I only lost a couple pages, instead of the whole thing. (Of course, with my luck, those two pages were AWESOME. And not nearly as good when I had to go back and recreate them. But it was not nearly as bad as it could've been.)

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  7. I didn't have a computer crash but I did just spend hours today searching for my USB stick that went missing. It had my WiP of 50K on it and no matter where I looked, I just couldn't find it. Freaking out big time. I did find it in the end and I backed it up immediately on another computer, usb and when I finish writing for the day I'm also emailing it to myself.

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  8. I had to snicker when I saw the Office Space pic come up in my dashboard. Love it! I recently had a massive hard drive crash, so now I'm a serious backer-upper. I have an external hard drive, and I'm kind of ashamed to admit that that thing goes with me everywhere (including sitting on my nightstand when I'm sleeping--weird, I know).

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  9. Can i mention that you can recover old versions of your stuff on Dropbox? That's one of my favourite features if I decide something I edited didn't turn out the way I wanted, then I'd go back and grab the older version :p I've switched to using Dropbox for all my uni assignments, and I try to make all my friends join too :p

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  10. External harddrive, google docs, and then I email to a secondary account. I'm neurotic when it comes to saving. Then again I've had computers crash without warning before.

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  11. I e-mail myself the documents, but I find it a bit of a hassle to have a million e-mails from myself all the time (not that I really use my e-mail anyway). I think I might have to try Dropbox! I'm always paranoid that I'll come home and the building will be on fire and my pets won't make it (overprotective mama, that's me!) and neither will my laptop, and ALL MY WRITING WILL BE GONE.

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Item Reviewed: Document Look Good? You Should Back That Thing Up Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Hannah