Home » Dear Auntie Romaniac » Dear Auntie Romaniac: How to avoid losing work?

Dear Auntie Romaniac: How to avoid losing work?

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Dear Auntie Romaniac,

John Steinbeck’s dog ate an early draft of, ‘Of Mice and Men.’ Ernest Hemingway famously lost an entire suitcase that contained his originals and all copies of his early writings. And apparently Dylan Thomas managed to lose the script for Under Milk Wood three times.

Not that I profess to have any works quite as valuable as these ‘greats’ but everything is relative. My old Acer Netbook is on its last legs. It limps into life every day but I know it’s not long for here. I might religiously back up documents and Works in Progress on a memory stick but the question is; should I back up my back up? What do you do, Auntie Romaniac, to protect your most valuable asset; the words and the time you put into your work?

Laura: I have a USB stick and an external hard drive to which I back up everything I type, and I save every few minutes. My worry is that the internal hard drive could fail without so much as a gasp, and just in case my secondary back-up explodes, I keep a third. I think I’m naturally risk-adverse. I was once an insurance claims assessor …

Catherine: These days I write on a notepad and type up when I get a chance. For that, I have no back up, but I try to type it up before the words build up too much. So I do have the added reassurance of a physical copy if all technology was to fail. Once on my computer it’s set to automatically save to Dropbox. The only thing to bear in mind with this set up, is if you don’t have an internet connection, it won’t duplicate.

Sue: Up until very recently I used to email everything to myself but a few months ago I invested in an external hard drive. It has enough storage to keep all my documents and photos. Since getting my new laptop with Windows 8, I also use One-Drive – a cloud storage facility. It’s very easy to use and backs up automatically without me having to remember. Oh, and I still have my memory sticks – just in case.

Vanessa: A couple of years ago, I felt quite confident with my back-ups – I had my wip saved on two different computers plus backed up to an external hard drive. Then one computer died, the other refused to start one day and I couldn’t access the external hard drive. Major panic! I managed to get the second computer up and running but it did make me paranoid about backing up and I now go a bit over the top! I have my ms on three different computers, an external drive, saved to dropbox and I regularly email a copy to myself, my husband and my agent. All I have to worry about now is overwriting the wrong document 🙂

Lucie: I feel I should listen to my fellow Romaniac’s as I am guilty of being naïve to the fact that my computer may throw a wobbler and lose my work! I did used to save onto a stick, then I signed up to Dropbox but I don’t know If I am still saving work to it … time to sort it out myself, I think!

Jan: It’s a good old USB stick for me, too, I confess. Like Vanessa, I also email myself copies of valuable documents and, dare I utter, *also have paper copies taking up half of one of my cupboards!* I do keep meaning to investigate Dropbox, so maybe this is the year to start …

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6 thoughts on “Dear Auntie Romaniac: How to avoid losing work?

  1. Personally I back up to Dropbox and CD. If I have anything particularly valuable to me, I also put it on a stick and upload it to the laptop. Of course, if the house catches fire, the only really useful one is Dropbox…

  2. Im a bib and braces sort of person I back up to two clould sites Knowhow and BT Cloud but also pop finished work onto a memory stick. Sad are’t I?

  3. If you email work to yourself at a web mail address such as Hotmail, you’ll always have it somewhere (so long as yu don’t delete!) and can access it on any computer in case of emergency. Also – I always have each chapter as a separate document so that if I do something careless with the keyboard, the most I can lost is a few thousand words, most of which I’ll probably have printed out at some point anyway. You can always amalgamate into one file right at the end if you want to.

    • Thank you, Judy for your reply – a separate file for each chapter sounds like a good idea.

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