Saturday, August 04, 2007

Crash Proofing

If you're a writer, like I am, then you have a huge investment of time in your craft. As I discovered recently, after a near disaster with my hard drive, there are some simple ways of protecting that investment.

Here's some idea to help you avoid losing hours (or even days, months or years) of hard work. Crashes happen. It's not a matter of if, but when. And with their demise goes all your hard work...unless you've taken steps to crash proof. Yes, there are external hard drives or backup systems, but there are also much more unlikely catastrophies such as fires, major floods, natural calamities or burglaries that can not only rob you of your computer, but also any available backup storage systems on the premises.

Here are three quick and easy ways to crash proof your work, no matter WHAT happens to your computer or work space.

1. Google gmail

If you have a blogspot, you already have a Gmail account. If not, it costs nothing to get one. Gmail comes with huge amounts of storage built into your mail system. Simple g-mail updated drafts of your WIP(s) to yourself regularly. In case of catastrophic event, they can be accessed from anywhere that has internet capability.

2. Thumb drives

The carry-your-babies-with-you solution. Thumb drives have become quite inexpensive and easy to use. Just plug into a USB port on your computer, back up your latest work and then store outside your home. I keep two in my purse, one in my car. Other places to store them could be a safe deposit box (not very convenient unless you make frequent trips to your bank), a trusted relative's or friend's house, or at work, depending on your situation. Another advantage to this option is that you can work on your novel anywhere and anytime you have access to a computer with a USB port.

3. Post to a Website (such as Critique Circle)

Use caution here. Be sure it's a reputable website with privacy in place so that only you can access your work. I recommend CritiqueCircle because it's a site I'm familiar with. CC gives the added advantage of having my critiques stored along with my work.

I'm sure there are many other solutions, but these three worked the best for me. Whatever you do, please do use one or more methods of crash proofing your work. A WIP is a terrible thing to waste.


Flick said...

Good ideas, all. I use the thumb thingy. I also have back ups on disks and floppies. Its still a pain to lose stuff though. One word of warning. If you scrap your hard drive for any reason - destroy it with a hammer. We found recently that after our computer had been taken away for repair, the data had been backed up on to another system and tha system was subsequently used by the bombers who hit the London subway. The police came to see us and take a statement because they found all sorts of our personal details on that computer - passwords, emails, credit card details. All taken off our hard drive to be 'saved' and then put back but subsequently recoverable (by experts) from the other computer. I wish we'd never had it repaired. We should have smashed it to pieces but we needed the data off it. So Laurie right - back up everything and then if your computer decides to throw a sicky, you can decide whether its worth the risk of repairing it.

Laurie said...

Flick, wow! What a nightmare that must have been. You make an excellent point. In this modern day of identity theft and data exposure, think twice who gets their hands on your software, and not just because of your WIPs. Some computers have a lot of very sensitive items stored. Pics of your family. Personal information. I cringe to think what's stored on mine.

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