Online Backup is This Writer’s Best Friend

The last few weeks have been whirlwind. I’m getting my edits back, a friend (once our foreign exchange student) came from Germany for a visit, and I made a quick trip to Colorado to visit family. I managed to get some of my work done in between the visiting and the chaos.

On the plane from Dallas to Colorado Springs, I whipped out my trusty laptop and plugged away at a few edits. I decided to start at the beginning and work my way up to where I’d left off the week before. (I KNOW! No writing for a week? I’ve been a very bad girl…) If I haven’t looked at it for a while, this helps to familiarize me with the characters and what I had to do with them before being so rudely interrupted by Real Life.

Halfway through the flight, my computer died. This is because the battery life, claimed to be at four hours, is oftentimes only an hour and a half, depending on what I’m doing. I save after every line I edit (perhaps that’s OCD, but I’ve lost things before) so I figured I would recommence once I was near electricity.

Well, it didn’t happen that way.

When I got ready to work, my laptop was uncooperative. Downright balky. It turned on, but cycled over and over to the log-in page and promptly did the same.

After the 20th time (I’m just guessing, as I just let it run), the dreaded Blue Screen appeared with gibberish (code) as to why my computer was cranky.

I wasn’t in a panic yet, although with each passing day I was falling behind in my edits. Not to mention my email was piling up even with a Smartphone in my pocket. This is because my brother is a computer genius, and I figured he would save the day. Plus, in the worst case scenario, I signed up for Carbonite online backup. When you have stashed over 400,000 words in four novels and a collection of articles and short stories in one device and you are horrible at remembering to back up your files, the $55 a year seems like a mere pittance for keeping the system safe and me sane.

Well, all of that college education my brother has had couldn’t help me, even though he tried valiantly for two days. Depressed and worried, I carried my six-pound worthless paperweight back to Detroit with me.

The first thing I did was cash in my Staples rewards for a new machine, because even though our office computer guy took the damaged computer to work on, there would be two problems: 1. He is incredibly slow and time’s a wasting, and 2. It probably is dead and can’t be brought back to life.

Yesterday was spent restoring my files. It only took about six hours. Not only did I have the written word in there, there was also all my photographs. Afterward, I had to figure out where they were. (In a Carbonite folder all by themselves.)

The first thing I did was to bring up the current MS and see what happened. It was there! Also the edits, minus a few recent ones that missed online backup by a few minutes.

Of course, it wasn’t as easy as that. I have to bring up each file and then resave them on the computer in My Documents in order to work on them. With thousands of files, this will be an ongoing process.

Tip of the day to fledgling and not so fledgling writers:


I might even buy a flash drive and staple it to my forehead just in case.


2 Responses

  1. I know a lot of people that aren’t in the habit of backing up until they lose an entire novel!

    My advice to writers, if nothing else, when you write something, copy and paste it into an email and email it to yourself. Then it can be opened from any computer. I do this during nanowrimo when I often work on three or four different laptops and a desktop. I just put the date and time in the subject line and email it to myself.

    I’m glad you didn’t lose much!

  2. Thanks, Corina.

    My bro told me to use Google Docs, but I’m a little leery of Google. I’m not sure if they’re the answer or if they are on their way to world domination. I was also afraid Carbonite wouldn’t be reliable and I’m glad I was wrong!

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