27.4.13

Xerox, or Backing Up Your Work


X is for Xerox. 



There's nothing worse than a computer failure when you're writing your magnum opus.

That blue screen of death, otherwise known as the death throes of an exhausted computer. 

It's the thing every writer dreads. The blood drains from your face, you stare at the computer in disbelief, you may scream. Or burst into tears.

It's happened to everyone. You click "save" at the end of a hard day's work, and instead of saving, the program crashes. Your work is gone.

In the old days, a backup might have involved you typing out your manuscript on a typewriter and then using a Xerox machine (like how I worked that "X" in there?) to make a second copy. Or you'd have to type out the entire thing again to get a copy, or maybe you used carbon copy paper the first time so you have a smudgy, almost legible second copy.

Nowadays, it's so easy to back up your documents that you can schedule it and forget it. A lot of programs allow you to set automatic saves at certain timed intervals. There are programs out there which give you no excuse for losing your documents. Except that people get complacent, or forget to backup their work, and stuff happens.

I've spent a day looking for a backup when my program crashed without me having saved it. I lost an entire day of edits, and another day of potential editing looking for what I thought I'd saved. Then I had to spend more time recreating the edits I'd lost.

I recommend backing up every ten minutes. Actually, every five if you're being super productive. And then invest in an external backup service, either Carbonite or some other online service, or external hard drives. (I have two external hard drives which I routinely back up to. And keep in a fireproof safe.)

Paranoid? Perhaps. But it's sure saved me a lot of hassle, and I can sleep at night knowing that I won't lose my magnum opus, even in the event of a fire.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go backup my computer...

~I.E.