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:~: Monday, April 23, 2007 :~:

Friendly Reminder - Back Up Your Work

First of all, a bit of housekeeping. Big apologies for not posting last Monday. To say I had an minor technical issue is an understatement.

Now on to my post. Directly related to my computer issues.

Back up your work. All you writers out there, let me say that again so you understand it clearly: BACK UP YOUR WORK. Right now. Stop reading and go do it.

My laptop, which is less than a year old, decided to die last Sunday night. After a week at the shop, the problem couldn't be diagnosted because the machine kept rebooting. The solution? To send it out for service. I'm looking at minimum two weeks without my computer, possibly longer. And if the problem is serious, they'll have to wipe my hard drive. The worst words a writer can hear...wipe your hard drive.

I'm horrid about backing up my work. Now and then I'll email it to myself, or upload finished work to my yahoo briefcase, but I don't do it routinely. Luckily, this time, I'd saved my WIP on a zip drive just the day before the crash, so that wasn't lost. But all the other files on my computer are possibly lost - including the opening chapters of several books I'd started but hadn't gotten very far in. Thanks to a few choice CPs, I was able to track down a recently revised ms I hadn't saved (thank God for CPs!!!), but my GH finaling ms??? I hadn't saved it since my agent and I made some minor revisions last September. If worse comes to worse and the laptop has to be cleared, I'm hoping she has a final copy saved somewhere.

Let this be a lesson to you...back up your work. Do it routinely. Like once a week. Open a yahoo briefcase or email your books to yourself and save them in a special folder. Keep a zip drive in the top drawer of your desk. And most of all...remember to use it. You hear people say this all the time, but it never hits home until it happens to you. Don't let it happen to you.

Oh, and just so you know this isn't a random incident that can't happen to you...check out Kristen Painter's blog. Considering I was able to find most of my work, I'm feeling really lucky. Kristen's situation is much, much worse.



Blogger B.E. Sanderson said...

I feel your pain. My hard drive crashed last September. Luckily, I'd backed up my writing folders the day before, but I hadn't backed up my photo folders in a long time. I still have the hard drive in hopes that someday someone will have the technology to recover my pictures.

Good luck with your computer. I hope it'll be okay.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Oh, B.E...we won't even talk about the files and files of pictures of my kids I have on that darn computer. Pictures I haven't saved anywhere else. Makes me sick to think about losing all of them.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

I have a gal in a crit group who's after me to do it. She sends me emails every now and again with XOXO in the subject line, which alerts me to the fact she's reminding me to back up my work. She says she'll bug me about it until I email her back and DO it!!

Now that I've found my thumb drive, I'm going to stop and do it right now.

Thanks for the reminder, E.

Good luck with your laptop!!

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Liz Kreger said...

Talk about a nightmare, Elizabeth. Glad you didn't lose your WIP. I've had a couple of scares and now try to back up routinely. Probably not as often as I should.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Good for you, J. And that girl in your crit group is gold.

Three of us on the GH loop have had our computers crash in the past week. I tell ya, the computer demons are running amuck. Those of you untouched so far...go forth and BACK UP YOUR WORK NOW.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Major, major nightmare, Liz.

Good for you on backing up routinely. I'll definitely be doing that more often from now on.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Edie said...

It seems to me that this is something we all know we should do, but until it happens to us, we don't do it enough. It happened to me over a year ago. I did lose stuff. Now I back up every day. Once in awhile--like when I hit a 100 mark, I'll back up in 2 or 3 places.

Thank God yours wasn't that bad, although it's sad losing your pictures. :(

5:20 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I lost my whole hard drive last year. But fortunately I'd done a full backup two days before, so it wasn't a huge loss of work. The moral of the story really is back up, back up, back up. So sorry you lost all your pics :( .

7:54 AM  
Blogger Elisa said...

My computer crashed last July. I had just about everything backed up, luckily, but the one item my computer guy wasn't able to save was my mss/wips folder where I had *all* my writing stuff. I had most of it backed up individually to my email, but I lost things I never thought to back up, like my submission log and most of the story I was currently working on.

I got an external hard drive and I back up everything to that now, as well as email, just to be safe.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Sorry you lost files, Edie. That just sucks. You're right though, it is something we KNOW we need to do but dont' because we figure we have time and it won't happen to us. Good for you backing up routinely now.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

You are very lucky, Michelle. ;)

5:52 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Good tip, Elisa. I'm going to look for an external hard drive.

While I have most of my ms's saved elsewhere, I also lost a few things that bum me out...like synopses for a few of the books. I HATE writing those things and the thought of having to do them over makes me cringe.

5:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned the hard way how important it is to back up material, when I lost the last five chapters of the final draft last year.

I had actually through I'd had the whole thing backed up, but I'd accidently backed up the old version over the new one.

A friend had her house burn down two years and lost every bit of writing she had ever done. She took her computer to a pro and they managed to remove some things from her harddrive, but the damage had been so extensive all they got were bits and pieces. She still basically lost everything.

So--these days my mom and dad have a copy of my books on CD and I backup weekly and give them the new backuped version.

9:41 PM  

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