Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How to Back up your Writing

I saw a recent discussion on Facebook about how a writer's computer failed and she lost a whole years worth of hard work.  As it turned out after receiving lots of tips and tricks from her Facebook friends this person was able, for a fee, to recover the contents of her hard drive.

Because of this I thought I'd post today about different ways to backup your writing.

E-mail a copy of your manuscript to a second e-mail account every time you write.  This gives you two copies, but since your emailing the file you expose yourself to a small chance of it getting intercepted by some 2nd party.  Also it's possible to have your e-mail account hacked.

Pay for an automated web based backup service.  A recent Yahoo search brought up 27 plans ranging in price from $5.99 per month for each computer at sites like CrashPlan, Backblaze, and
Mozy.  The next tier of pricing was close to $10 / month for up to 10GB of space.

The site I've used for the past year is JustCloud which is now advertised at from $9.95 to $6.95 per month if you sign up for 2 years.  I signed up for a multi-year plan and use it on both of my computers. Since beginning this plan I've used a total of 11 GB of my allocated 272 GB.  I like the idea that I can access my files from any computer with internet access.  I also like that it's not backed up in the same location where the computer is located.  It's a pretty easy system an not easy for a tired writer to mess up.

What's this GB of space mean.  To put a Gigabyte into perspective a 90,000 word manuscript is about 575 KB's.  This means you could store 473,043 manuscripts on the JustCloud system.  While I like to write and have produced lots of stories over the years I highly doubt I'll use up my storage capacity anytime soon.

The nice thing about this type of arrangement is that it automatically backups anything new on the computer once a day as long as it's connected to the internet.  It can be configured to back up more than once a day if need be.

Burn your work to a CD or DVD.
This is as easy as inserting a disc into your disc drive and using your software to copy files.  The bad thing about this is if you experience some misfortune that takes out your computer it may destroy the discs too.  One work around is to store the back up discs in a second location.

Back up your computer to an external hard drive.
These devices are relatively inexpensive and can be setup to backup your computer daily.

Save your files on a flash media stick such as LEXAR.
These devices are very inexpensive and have the added plus of being portable. You can hang one on your keychain and always have your writing nearby.

 Do you have any other creative ways to back up your writing?  If so tell us in the comments.

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