Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Time for backups

I realise it's been about two weeks since my last blog post. I apologise. Life stuff got in the way. Despite that, I've been able to write and I've been able to back up my work.

The other day fellow Romance author Julia Quinn suffered a computer hiccup that caused three newly-written pages of her WIP to go missing. That sort of thing make you want to freak out when it happens to you.

Thanks to a clue from a fan and some deeper digging, she was able to find a copy of those three pages hidden on her computer.

And there was much rejoicing and grateful sharing of some really nice prose on her Facebook page.

Most writing programs have a little temporary file backup they create of works in progress, just in case the computer goes *hiccup*, as they are wont to do. These backup files have saved my sweet rear end more than once. (They have also made me look like Scotty at work on occasion.) However, if the computer works as it should, and you close down the program properly, those temp files most likely are not kept.

By day, I'm an IT professional and have been for the past twenty-five years. I know a LOT about computers, how they work, how they fail, and have personally seen some of the absolute worst things that could possibly happen to data.

Back up your work.

Do it regularly, do it frequently, do it multiple times, places, methods. Don't just rely on a single thumb drive to hold the unique contents of your laptop. Make more than one copy, and store at least one of those copies off-site. Don't keep all your backup copies together in the same location as your original, ie, that thumb drive in your laptop bag.  (Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not disparaging the delightful thumb drive--far better than the floppy disks they replaced. Just don't make a thumb drive your only backup.)

If your computer dies, if your laptop is stolen, if your house burns down, do you have access to your backup copies, should you need to restore to new hardware?  Consider keeping DVD copies of your work at a friend's house or at the day job, and keeping stuff in some cloud somewhere.

Losing three pages of brilliant prose can hurt. Imagine losing three years or even three decades of work.

Back up your work, folks, back up your work.

You have been warned.

Her Grace has always believed in backups, since her first storage medium was the failure-prone 5.25" floppy disk.

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