Thursday, January 13, 2011

Protecting Your Livelihood - Part 4

Currently reading - Greywalker by Kat Richardson

I guess I and other pundits can't say this often enough--BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!!

This week a member of one of the local RWA chapters lost her entire manuscript.  Yes, the WHOLE FREAKIN' THING!  She'd only saved it to a flashdrive, not to her harddrive, and the flashdrive decided to croak.  Add on that (a) she's a published author and (b) her manuscript was due to her editor in a couple of weeks, you can feel the heart-stopping panic she experienced when she opened the file, only to see nonsensical characters.

If you use any computer, multipe backups are a necessity, not a luxury.  External hardrives would be the most expensive option, other than another computer, but even they are relatively cheap compared to the ER bill when you stroke out over losing an entire manuscript.  Flashdrive, hardrive, burned to a CD, or copied to floppy disk (assuming you can still find one), it doesn't matter.  Multiple versions of your file--even better.

I've been lucky.  The most I've ever lost is a couple of pages because I literally do all of the above at different stages of the week.

And when all else fails, have a geek in your pocket.  This writer was lucky.  Another RWA gal and her computer wizard husband were able to retrieve the file through some techno-magic, so our writer friend will meet her deadline after all.


  1. Having one of your copies off site is a good idea too, in case your house burns down and you're too busy corralling kids/dogs/cats/insurance/photos/etc. to go grab your laptop/disks/flashdrive. Sending yourself a copy in Gmail periodically works nicely.

    Back in the Paleolithic, when floppy disks were the only backup option, smart folks had three sets of backups. Suppose you lost your main file and stuck your backup in the drive to retrieve it. But it was dead. Damn. Well, floppies die, so that's not unusual. Luckily you have another set. Stick backup number two in the drive, and... that one's dead too! At this point you get a clue that your it's your floppy drive that's hosed and is eating disks, but you're DEAD unless you have a third set of backups.

    I can't even feel sorry for someone who had her file in one place and one place only, and then lost it. :/ I mean, duh! That's like leaving your lunch outside in Seattle in January [glance outside] and then expecting people to cry with you when it gets rained on and ruined. [sigh] Kids these days....


  2. Angie, some people have to learn their lessons the hard way. It's no different than telling a two-year-old GK not to touch the stove when I'm cooking, but the little booger does it anyway.