Today I’m going to talk about something very important. Something so colossally important that it could change your writing. Today I’m going to talk about: backing up your work. Now, you’re probably thinking, “that was a really dramatic introduction for something as simple as backing up your work.” But trust me when I say the dramatics are necessary.
Picture this: You’ve spent the entire day writing. Hours and hours pumping out a great first draft. This is the first time in weeks that you’ve had any inspiration and you’re so proud of everything you’ve got so far. Then it happens: your computer crashes. What do you do? When was the last time you saved your work? Did you save your work? Oh no, what if you didn’t save it? It’s all gone! All that hard work for nothing!
Now, hopefully you do save your work on a regular basis (if you don’t then please start) and hopefully this never happens to you. But lets face it, technology hates us at the worst possible times. I am notorious for having bad luck with technology, whether my computer crashes or my phone stops working or something, technology and I are not friends. However, despite this I still continue to use it. But very, very carefully.
Now, I’m no tech expert, so when I say ‘backup your work’ I’m literally just talking about saving it on your computer and somewhere else. I know there are ways to actually backup your stuff on the computer, but I tend to stick to simpler methods. First: email; this one is probably my favourite cause it’s so simple. When I finish something really big, like an important scene or a scene that has taken me hours to write, I’ll email what I have to myself. That way, if my computer crashes, spontaneously combusts, or is somehow stolen out of my hands, I can still access my work. The second thing is an external hard drive. These are great because you can actually just keep your work on it and then plug it into your computer. Then if your computer crashes everything on the hard drive is protected. My biggest issue is if the hard drive stops working or is stolen then you literally have no backup of your work. The third method I like is a USB stick. I love these things, I have a ton of them and use them for so many different things. I have one specifically dedicated to my writing so, like I said about email, if I finish something important I can immediately stick it on the stick. But again, like with an external hard drive, if the USB stops working then you might be kind of stuck.
I think the best method out of these three is probably email (though this itself presents many issues like the fact that I always worry about my work getting lost in cyberspace). So honestly, the best overall method would probably be printing your work. Now I know that isn’t always an option (I’m broke and therefore cannot afford to keep buying paper and ink), but honestly it’s worth it. At the end of the day, even if I can only print off a couple pages of what I feel are the most important scenes that can’t be lost, then at least you’re guaranteed to have saved something.
Really though, save your work. Please. Just all the time, press the save button or [Ctrl + S] will save your work. I could tell your horror stories of all the times my computer has just decided to stop working and I’ve been close to breaking down simply because I didn’t know whether my work would still be there when I got it up and running. So save, save, save! All the time! Working on something right now? Save it. Think you already saved it, but can’t remember for sure? Save it again just to be safe. Save your work from the spontaneously combusting computers by hitting save. Is the word save starting to look weird to anyone else?
Has your computer ever crashed while you were in the middle of working? Did you freak out cause you couldn’t remember if you backed it up?