Back Up Your Things! – Every Writer’s Personal Nightmare Just Happened To Me

Yeah, I was going to write about something else today. About writing something new and loving it and I had a plan to tell you all about how I work with a fresh idea.

Then my laptop died.

Before you ask – yes, I’ve checked everything. Different batteries, different chargers, different batteries and chargers in different laptops. It’s done. Burned out. Broken. Dead.

Of course, this is a major nuisance. All my stuff is on that laptop. Everything is neatly organized in structured folders. I have pictures from holidays that I went on years ago. I have all my games. When I first realized it was well and truly dead, I got really frustrated.

Then I remembered I store all of my stuff in the cloud.

Sure – I’m tech savvy enough to crack the corpse of my laptop open, excavate the hard drives and sift through them for the files I need. Stuff is rarely truly gone (a fact that’s important to remember if you ever decide to throw out an old computer) – but all of that is a massive pain in the butt.

The way I’ve set my stuff up, I could keep writing my stories on my phone only a moment later. Or on my other laptop that I have lying around here somewhere…

Basically, I store all my writing in a cloud service that I sync on 4 different devices, and then I regularly (once a month) copy a static version of that folder on two of the devices.

Here’s why:

  • In cases like today, I have immediate access to everything in three other places. Doesn’t matter if I break or lose my device, I won’t lose access to any of my stuff – (Unless I somehow haven’t synced it, but I very rarely work completely offline).
  • I always have older versions of things available. Say I accidentally upload/override a file on my main computer, and say I can’t restore an old version. As long as I cut my internet connection, if I turn on one of my other device that haven’t synced yet, I’ll have access to what ever old version was last saved. Sure, it will be very inconvenient and I might have to rewrite things, but it will be there.
  • Since I make regular copies of all the stuff in the cloud that I keep saved locally, I don’t have to worry about the cloud suddenly disappearing (not that I do, but I know some people might). Even if it did, I could also use the solution from the step above, as long as I stop my device from syncing and deleting everything.

So in case you hadn’t been reminded in a while – BACK UP YOUR THINGS! Sure, your nephew who’s good with computers can probably help retrieving your things when he comes home to visit your sister during the summer, but do you really want to risk leaving your files in just one place? Do you?! No, didn’t think so. Also – retrieving files from a hard drive only works if you have access to the hard drive. If you drop that laptop overboard on one of your weekly river cruises with the girls from college, it’s gone.

Anyway – that’s how my day is going. How about you? Do you have any back up related nightmares to share? Ever lose a draft? Delete a finished manuscript?

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