Daily Archives: August 30, 2007

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August 30, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

with Gina Black

Today my topic is one we’d all rather NOT think about, although many of us take precautions.

I’m talking about what happened to me just a week ago: my hard drive crashed. And, yes, it took everything with it. This was the second time that happened to me. The first time was a slow drawn-out process where I could tell it was going and I quickly backed up everything. Since then, I bought an external hard drive and back up frequently so I thought I was safe from data loss. But the truth is, you have to be very diligent and crafty to achieve that and I hadn’t been due to my travels and various other things.

What can you do to guard against data loss completely? Burn candles? Light incense? Pray to the computer gods?

Maybe that will help, but the best way to keep the bottom from dropping out is to have a redundant backup program that you adhere to with the fervor of a religious zealot. All it takes is losing your WIP once to get you there. But it’s even better if you do this without the upfront data loss.

Here are my suggestions:

1/ Have an external hard drive and back up your data and preference files (and anything you’ve customized) on a regular basis, like weekly, biweekly but no less than monthly.

2/ Have a safe place on the internet where you can backup your files. If you have a Mac you can purchase a .mac account. There are loads of other services that offer to backup your data files, but here are some suggestions that are by no means exhaustive of what’s available.

  • Start a yahoo group with your critique group or you could have your own. Save your writing files in the file area. Make sure it is NOT accessible to the public (yahoo has a “management” area where you do this).
  • Get a gmail account (they come with a HUGE amount of storage) and email your WIP to yourself every day at the end of your writing session. If you don’t have a gmail account and you want one, leave me a message in the comments and I’ll send you an invitation.

3/ Put your files on a USB flash drive (one of those little things you plug into your computer). Be aware that these drives can fail, so this must be part of a redundant system.

4/ Burn all your old an unchanging data files (like those manuscripts you’ve sold or the ones that are gathering cyber-dustbunnies on your hard drive) to CD. Get them out of your house unless you are impervious to fires, earthquakes, or loss. Put them in a safe deposit box, or give them to a trusted family member or friend. CDs can fail too, so it doesn’t hurt to have two sets out there.

5/ If you have a Google account you can upload your WIP to the “documents” area and even work on it there. This is a good way to do things if you float from computer to computer. It’s easy to download them onto a local host at any time.

6/ If you have a website and it has a secure area, you can FTP your files there.

Whatever you do, do something and do it now. If I’d been a bit more diligent about backing up my finances (my writing files survived), I wouldn’t be losing part of this upcoming three day weekend to resurrecting three months worth of transactions instead of revising my WIP.

Somehow, Gina manages to work some writing time in around her internet adventures. In addition to posting here, she blogs on The Gina Channel, Romancing the Skein, and Title Wave.

And yes, her computer screen really has burned itself into her glasses.

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