You’ve written 250 pages of a 350 page book and something happens.
Your hard drive is highjacked or infested with a virus/worm.
Your hard drive crashes.
You think, no problem, I have a backup copy. But it won’t open, and when you finally do it get open, it’s gobbledy-goop corrupted.
Your jump drive fails. (This happens when you’re creating on a laptop and the battery runs low, and it’s lost. You get gobbledy-goop and can’t retrieve the work.)
Your tape backup fails. (This happened to me twice, which is why I no longer have a tape backup.)
Your disk is corrupted. (This has happened to everyone who uses a lot of them at some time or another.)
The worse case I’ve ever experienced was a few years ago. My hard drive (on a PC less than a month old) crashed. The backup failed. The backup disk was in the same mess as the backup: unreadable.
I lost everything on the computer and had to have a new hard drive installed.
I had run a hard copy of the current manuscript and used a scanner to put it back in. It took three days to scan and correct the errors (I think I could have typed it quicker.) Anyway, I faithfully backed up every day:
To the file.
To a 2nd file dated that day.
To a disk.
I alternated between two disks so that either would be at most a day out from current.
Six weeks later, while still working on this same book, the new hard drive crashed. I lost everything. Again.
Fortunately, I had emailed a copy of the manuscript to a reader for review. She kindly emailed a copy back to me or I’d have had to reenter it again or have it done.
I learned a lesson. Multiple copies are warranted. Ones on your computer and off it.
I created a new procedure for myself and learned of several others’ procedures after they’d lost work.
1. Save the current file.
2. Save a dated copy of the current file.
3. Email a copy of the current file to myself.
4. Plant a copy of the current file in a private folder on the web.
5. Upload the file to a private group at Yahoo.
It sounds like a lot of repetitive effort, I know. But it is not nearly so much effort as rewriting a book or spending time frustrated at trying to open a corrupt file, jump drive, or disk. Or trying to recover from a hard drive corruption or crash.
Been there, done that–several times. Creating multiple backups in various places is much more constructive–and on more than one occasion, it’s saved my hide.
©2007, Vicki Hinze