Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A reminder

Recently a writing friend lost some of her work - because she accidentally threw away the memory stick it was saved on and hadn't backed it up elsewhere. It contained research notes for a book she's working on and which has a tight deadline. 

Another friend replied to this news not just with sympathy but the revelation she'd once lost all of her short stories, again because she'd not made back ups. 

Please make back ups of all your work. Computers can crash, memory devices can become corrupted or lost, equipment can be stolen ... 

There are lots of ways to back up your work. You could use memory sticks, cloud storage or make printed copies. If you have a website you could upload it (and keep it hidden). Emailing files to yourself is also a possibility.

Personally I use hard drives, as shown in the photo. The two small ones are mine and each holds everything I've ever written (I've written a lot!) and has space for much more. One usually lives in the camper van, and the other on my desk. 

If you've ever lost work, or would have done had you not made a back up, please share the experience to help others avoid learning the hard way.


Carolb said...

In 2016 I learnt this lesson. My desktop was on the way out, so I copied all my documents and pictures on it to a CD-only it didn't. But I had lots of it backed up on other CDs or memory sticks, so no worries I thought.

Then came the Windows 10 computer; I hoped all my memory sticks would open, and most did, including the one with a complete first draft of my short novel. Unfortunately the next time I plugged it in, there was nothing there- all gone. I was devastated.

Fortunately I had printed the whole manuscript out so I can work from that now, but it does mean retyping it. I now also save everything to a 2TB passport drive, and on a memory stick, and a print copy.

I also keep the memory sticks in a clear plastic box, so I only take out the one I need, and as soon as it's finished with it goes back in the box.

denisewatson.wordpress.com said...

In November last year, I 'lost' eight years of work but, as I couldn't believe I had somehow wiped the file marked 'WRITING' off my computer, I took my computer to a computer shop. After one week of searching, he said he couldn't find the 'WRITING' file either.

In July, eight months later, I found it, purely by accident. I had opened a new file, 'WRITING B (just in case the other file should ever show up) and, one day, when I went to click on this file, I accidentally clicked on 'wordnet', the file right next to it. There was my old file, resting snuggly in wordnet, a file which Google tells me is 'a lexical database for the English language'and not a file that I had ever used, or opened, before. Somehow, a slip of the finger had caused one yellow file to move into another, without me even knowing.

If you should lose something, first check the files next to it, just to rule out this possibility.

Patsy said...

Oh ho, Carol! It's even worse if you did back up and still lost it.

Denise, I've thought I'd lost short stories because I'd changed the file name (which is always the story title) and could only remember the working title.

Anonymous said...

I once thought I'd deleted a whole folder called Poetry Forms that had lots of smaller folder with haiku, senryu, etc but eventually discovered that I'd moved it into another folder by mistake. Took me ages (and lots of panicking) to work it out!

My husband works in IT so he has set up some sort of automatic back up to a drive (or something)

Lindsay said...

A good reminder, I tend to be a bit careless, backing up rather infrequently. I have been known to email myself docs that are important for back-up too.

Simon Whaley said...

I do most of my writing in Scrivener, and those files I store on Dropbox, which is a cloud service (and also syncs to my laptop). So that means I have copies of my work in the cloud, and on my laptop (when I next switch on my laptop and it syncs with the cloud). Dropbox also keeps copies of deleted files for 30 days. Anything I submit gets exported from Scrivener into Word format, and all those files get backed up onto two separate hard drives on a weekly basis. I still worry whether I've done enough backups though!

Patsy said...

Seaview, I love your technical terms!

Lindsay, it's very easy to forget - I hope you've done a back up today?

Simon, I can see the appeal of a cloud based system for anyone who is always going to be online when working, but it's not so good in my mobile office. I'd be in danger of working on, or saving the wrong version I think.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Gulp - an awful possibility! I now use a separate small hard drive as well as a memory stick (or two) but have to remember to update it.

Michelle said...

I always, well nearly always, back up to DropBox. I have a collection of data sticks which contain research, photos, short stories, novels (completed and the first few chapters). Just recently I have been searching for a short story to tweek, it took 3 data sticks to find it! Needless to say it is now backed up to DropBox....just got to remember which folder it has been save to.

wannabe a writer said...

Dropbox is great especially if you are working on more than one computer or are collaborating. Where I was working once, someone wiped every single dropbox file off the computer. It panicked me at first until I found out how to restore them. Its really good for this, but the time limit means that if you don't realise its gone, you could go past the 30 day deadline and loose it completely - always wise to have another back up plan!