Every week, on average, one of the writers on my various social networking feeds howls in horror. Why? Because they’ve lost all their work. Their hard drive failed because:
- computers suck like that
- they spilled coffee on their laptop
- the cat peed on their computer
- their toddler dumped their netbook into the toilet/tub/kitchen sink
- their laptop was stolen
- they dropped their device and it shattered
I’m totally serious.
What lesson can we learn from this? Yes. You guessed it: paranoia is your friend (in simpler terms: back your shit up).
A long time ago I used to worry about my house catching fire (long before the era of smart phones and freaking cloud computing). Everything I wrote was on scraps of paper and inside notebooks. Most of it was/is drivel and not worth saving (give me a break, I was ten years old), but I still worried about what I would do if everything spontaneously erupted in a ginormous fireball of horribleness and smoke.
What do you get when you add a childhood fear of fire to my weekly feed of lost-my-writing laments?
A writer who backs up all of her stuff obsessively.
I have five different backups.
Okay, okay, maybe seven.
I backup to an extra hard drive connected to my computer. I back up weekly to a separate extra hard drive. I back up daily to an internet back up service. I copy stuff to a flash drive when the mood strikes (which is about every two days). I backup my laptop work to my desktop and vice versa. I use a cloud service to sync my work from my laptop to my desktop to my phone and there’s a backup built into that. Last, I have a tendency to email myself stuff.
I have never lost my work.
I know I’m just asking for it, putting that out there in plain text, but it’s true. My hard drive failed a little while ago. I knew it was failing, so before I took it in to get it replaced, I made yet ANOTHER back up of my entire hard disk to an extra drive we had lying around (my husband is a geek, so yeah, we have random computer equipment all over the place).
All I can say is THANK THE UNIVERSE I did that. Because the new hard disk did NOT work properly without a lot of flinging of obscenities into the air and wiping of the drive and other crap I still don’t understand.
Dear everyone I know: back your stuff up. I always feel so bad for you when I read your cries on the internet. It makes me cry, too.