It is said that Hemingway’s wife lost his suitcase of manuscripts on a train. Hemingway had to rewrite, and we all know that it was a fairly happy ending (for a Hemingway story, anyway) that he became a grand success despite the loss.
But damn, who wants to go through that agony? Nobody, and we have lots of options today for backing up our works in progress.
The easiest thing to do is join a free cloud data service. Google Documents gives you 15GB of free space, and I think all of the ladies have an account with Dropbox. The free account gives you 2GB of space to start with, but I believe some of us are paying for the expanded options.
Once you have an account, you just save your document twice at the end of your writing session. The first time to your computer, the second time to your cloud.
If you are extremely paranoid, you can also save to a USB stick (as either a third backup, or instead of trusting your data to the Mysterious Glow Cloud – depends on where your particular paranoia takes you).
There’s also the extra hard drive option. I primarily use a laptop, so I have to be very careful about backing up everything on my computer. If I drop my laptop, or spill tea all over it, or (heaven forbid) have it stolen, my hard drive is still at home, in a safe location, with all my data.
I have a little confession: I don’t know how to make a mirror image whats-it of my computer. My operating system is in Japanese (my second language), and I don’t have the patience to wade through why it’s not working. I think I may have copied my entire external hard drive back onto my computer . . . .
But, as a stopgap measure, I’ve been copying my “library” (documents, videos, music and pictures) to the hard drive, as well as the entire C: drive. I figure if something happens to my computer, at least I’ll still have the important contents, if not the entire system.
Copying to the hard drive should happen at regularly scheduled intervals. It should happen at least once a week, and maybe daily if you are making a lot of progress (say, doing the NaNo and collecting a lot of research and racking up a good word count). I say “should” because it doesn’t always happen. Backing up my computer took me a good four hours (I made Mistakes, though). Doing it often makes the procedure go faster because you know what you are doing. Do it as often as you can, and feel free to let this be a spur to do it today.
And remember, it can be like a lucky amulet: according to one of the corollaries to Murphy’s Law, a backed-up computer will never crash, burn or be spilled upon (-:.
My list of options for backup is by no means comprehensive. When was the last time you did a major backup? Do you have a favorite method that makes you feel safe and warm in the middle of the night?