Woah hang on there… Back Up !!!

November 10, 2009 at 10:09 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

So you’re on a roll.  You’ve just banged out five thousand words of your novel. You’re convinced that you’ve just written the precise words that you  will win you the nobel prize for literature and then it happens.

Your computer decides this is the exact time that it will show you how evil the world truly is and how much we are at the mercy of computers.  It freezes, or even worse it dies.

We are now in the middle of NaNoWriMo and the laws of the universe has said at least one of our fellow wrimo’s will have had computer issues thus far.  I myself have had a laptop that has decided to be very poetic about its death and slowly begin malfunctioning before what I have no doubt will end in a very dramatic complete refusal to turn on.

So basically what is the moral of this story.  Back up your work!  I know many people who will back up their work with multiple files on the one computer but if your motherboard fails completely it doesn’t matter how many copies you have, you are never going to see them again.

There are a few options with backing up your work.  I have used USB drives, email accounts and external hard drives at one point or the other and they all have their merit.

USB:  Is small and portable, easy to update but also easily corruptible and damaged.  It’s not uncommon to get viruses and physically break the thing when handling it too roughly.  Generally it’s a short-term solution.

EMAIL ACCOUNTS: Is virtual and clearly portable but requires internet access.  It also can drag up quite a lot of your space which depending on how much stuff you’ve got on there can slow things down quite a bit.  It’s also pretty inconvenient if you don’t have constant access to the internet.

EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES:  Now these are pretty much bigger stronger versions of USB drives.  They are slightly more pricy but personally I feel they are the safest option; for my work anyway.

So you probably already knew about these methods of backing your work up and are rolling your eyes going ‘well no duh’… But I think that we all fall into the trap of being confident that our computer will co-operate with us when we wake up in the morning.  Prior to my computer giving my evil looks I confess that I only backed up after every ten thousand words or so and even then it is always an afterthought.  It’s not as if I don’t mean to back up my work, but it’s a tedious process, having to find my USB or hard drive, having to re name the file.  But it is such a vital process.

Moral of the story, backing up your work is important.  The computer is not always your friend



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  1. I have a surefire way of making sure my laptop plays ball during November. It is already on notice, and I have threatened it if it even thinks about acting up I will throw it out. I think I have managed to frighten it enough that there will be no problems…

    Have you had a look at the 1Tb external hard drives? I picked up two of them nearly a year ago, and still haven’t come close to filling one of them, never mind two. A terabyte of space will go a long way for not much cost, especially when they are only £60.

    Since I have taken to using Wordpad for my writing needs I will never run out of space, and the lack of hassle (plug ‘n’ play) is one of the most comforting aspects of modern tech… I remember waiting on a cassette to spool around while the stuff I’d written was recorded. Not fun.

  2. I’m saying nice things to my laptop in the hopes that it will keep functioning until I get home and can back up my work, because as soon as I read this I realized I hadn’t backed my work up in quite a while. *gulp* Please don’t die, laptop. I think I will go and email myself some of my work, just to be safe. *is paranoid*
    Once upon a time when I was about 10 and saving on floppies, my computer crashed, wiping out my 100-page (gawdawful) novel. I thought to myself, “No matter! I have a BACKUP!” And then the floppy decided to die. *headdesk*
    In other words, I’m in complete agreement. Back up your work in lots and lots of places!
    @bigwords – What is this strange cassette you speak of? ;)

  3. The cassette was the 1980s Amstrad equivelant of the floppy disc, or the CD. It took about half an hour (or more) to load a game, but saving documents only took five minutes or so if they weren’t too large. They were the same C-90’s as music albums used to come on… And I’m suddenly feeling very, very old.

  4. i love my external harddrive – makes me feel safe.

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