Thursday, November 26, 2009

Backup, Backup, BACKUP!

I can’t tell you how many times it’s happened. Every November, every NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month),  someone I know tells me they lost ALL OF THEIR WORK. Yes, that’s right. Their computer crashed, or they  didn’t have a backup, or something, but they lost their entire novel!

Do you want this to happen to you?

Of course you don’t. But it could, and you should be aware of the possibility.

Yeah, I know. We’ve all been told the horror stories of losing your work. But it doesn’t hit you until it hits you.

For me, that was a few days ago. I was working late into the night, trying to make my word count. I did, I posted it, and I went to bed. It wasn’t until the next morning that I discovered that all of my work from the previous night was gone.

Now, it wasn’t my whole novel that was missing. It was just one night’s work. But that didn’t matter because I proceeded to freak OUT!

One of the things going for me is that I make backups two or three times a night. Especially if it’s a heavy writing night. And this particular night, I was in luck. A previous version had everything I was missing. But the lesson is just as pertinent. Make backups of your novel! Heck, make backups of everything!

Being a computer guy, the rule of thumb is this. You don’t make backups of the things you can afford to recreate. So the question is, can you afford to recreate your novel?

I’m betting no.

So what’s that mean to you? I’ll tell you. Put those flash drives into action and save your novel off once in a while; probably every day, maybe more frequent than that. I have 3 or 4 flash drives and I rotate them, just so I don’t inadvertently over-write a good copy with a bad copy.

But whatever you do, do something! Anything is better than nothing, and if you have a snafu, like I did, any backup is better than no backup!


~ Doug McIntire

You can find out more about this author and his writing at

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