The Back-Up

Yesterday I spent about a half an hour backing up my writing.  Not all of it actually, just the stories and other things that I’ve worked on for the past several months.  That amounted to eleven files in MS Word, and five Excel files.  I’m really bad at backing up.  It’s not that it takes that much time, and it’s not difficult to do, it’s just that I sometimes feel I can’t be bothered.  I’d rather write than back up.  Not a good idea; that means I may go several months between back ups.

I generally back up to two flash drives.  Both are 2 GB drives, and each has plenty of space for all the writing I’ve done, and that includes several novels, including a separate file for the front part of each novel that contains the title page, table of contents, epigraph (look it up), dedication if any, and any other stuff that normally goes before the novel itself.  I use two flash drives in case one gets misplaced, waylaid, lost, destroyed or what not, then I still have the other.  But is that enough?

I’ve noticed lately that many people use outside storage systems.  The two I’m most familiar with are Carbonite and Dropbox, but there are probably others.  (This is termed “cloud storage,” or “storing in the cloud.”  Where the “cloud” came from, I have no idea.)  The idea is that your files are stored outside your home and if anything happens to your home or apartment, like a fire or a huge meteorite that destroys everything, including your computer, flash drives, etc., your data and files are intact in a large storage mainframe somewhere far, far away.  Unless it gets hit by that big meteorite.  It’s a good idea and I’m seriously considering it.  The first couple of GB are usually free or cost very little.  The only drawback is that your files are on someone else’s computer, and potentially readable by some unscrupulous twit.  The chances of that happening are miniscule I figure, and not a serious drawback.  It may be money well spent.

Another way to save files is to e-mail them to yourself, and the email is stored in your e-mail server’s computer.  That’s possible, though if you make changes in a file, you have to send it to yourself all over again, and that could become tiresome.  With a flash drive or cloud storage, you overwrite the old file and don’t wind up with a series of older, outdated and updated files.

There are other things you can do, like print the files and hold them in a different location, perhaps a safe-deposit box.  That’s possible, but a novel of, say, 350 pages, is rather large, and several of these would require a large box.  Could get expensive.  Better to rent a small safe-deposit box and put your flash drives there.  But that might get tiresome going back and forth to the bank just to get your flash drives.  In any event, there are things you can do, and not doing something is foolish.  Even a simple flash drive is better than nothing.

Some people use an exterior hard drive on their computer, but I figure that’s not too good because it stays near your computer.  Storage should be oriented toward someplace outside your home or outside wherever you use your computer to be safest.  How about you, what do you use?

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