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Posted on December 15, 2013

I am desperately afraid of my computer crashing and losing all my writing. It is a phobia that has caused me to go a little overboard in how I save my work. I am curious if other writers go to any added lengths to assuage their fear of turning on their computer to find their story erased.

I write in Microsoft Word and save my writing on my computer, on a thumb drive, and then again in a Dropbox file. If my computer crashes, I can retrieve the story from Dropbox or the Boba Fett thumb drive. Part of me also fears coming home to find my computer stolen and my stories in the hands of ne'er-do-wells. I stored it on a cool Boba Fett thumb drive to safeguard it from thievery. Of course, my paranoid mind then wonders if the discerning thieves might run off with the cool Boba figure, so I started backing it up in Dropbox.

I witnessed my daughter losing all her stories in her thumb drive when it was dropped and saw how crushed she was. This led to the use of Dropbox as the third avenue of safeguarding.

And this is not the end of my backing up.

I save in these three places whenever I add a new chapter to my stories. Now when the books get posted on Google docs for my fellow writers to look at, I treat that document as the final version and make corrections directly to it based on their comments. I then save that document to the three places mentioned earlier. I do this in case I ever find that Google has lost my file.

Finally when the book is all done and in its publishable form, I save it to the computer, in Dropbox and on trusty Boba. I also email a copy of the file to myself and let it lurk in my emails. Not only that, but the epub site Keith has set up for me has another version of the final file, too.

All of the above mentioned are electronic storage areas. I also print a paper version and slap it into a binder to read for editing purposes. I still find I can catch more of mistakes on paper than looking on a screen.

Sounds like I have my bases covered, huh?

So what levels of paranoia do you ascend or descend to with your writing?

I've been meaning to comment on this post because it "spoke" to me as a fellow author terrified of losing his work to a computer glitch. When I'm writing my first draft in Word, naturally it's not published anywhere in any form, so I routinely upload a copy to my web server (something I can do easily since I'm a website designer).

Once it's finished, it goes onto Google docs for a while (therefore a third copy) and then I save that edited/commented version back to my computer. But still, my main (and sometimes only) copy is the one I upload to the server.

Then I produce the book as an epub, and that's when I have a good and proper second backup... although technically speaking it's on the same server as the other backup, so if the server crashes then I might be in trouble. But HostGator, the server host, have backups of their own servers, so in the VERY unlikely event that the server crashes and dies, they can restore everything from perhaps the previous Friday.

I really should be more consistent with my own local backups to external drives. I have a great little 64GB flash drive sitting right next to my computer, and I never use it!! Okay, note to self: make a copy of everything TODAY.

Will do. Later.

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