Monday, June 23, 2008

Backup

I've had my fair share of nightmares where I open my laptop and my entire novel has been wiped, or I spill coffee on the keyboard and the whole thing blows up, or every document is corrupted into a random pattern of nonsensical characters...you get the idea.

So I've developed a healthy obsession with backing up my work. At first I sent an email to myself with the WIP or finished story document attached. But those were difficult to organise and I like to periodically delete my emails to stop my email account from getting to big, so I looked into other means.

After some research I bought an external hard-drive, which I just plug into my laptop when I need it. At first I copied the documents over manually but The Ours set it up so that it syncs automatically. However, I don't keep it permanently attached as I have visions of it blowing up along with the computer during a power surge. (I have an overactive imagination when it comes to electricity!)

But you can never be too careful, so when I heard the term "The Cloud" at the weekend I remembered Google Docs, where you can upload, create and view documents, spreadsheets and presentations on your Google account. I logged on and uploaded my novel files in a few minutes. You can view and edit the documents online through your browser and even invite others to edit or view a document or folder - a feature that could come in useful for peer reviews!

This may seem like overkill, but I sleep better at night in the knowledge that my novel won't disappear with a puff of smoke.

13 comments:

Jannie Sue "Funster" said...

Great advice if course.

One word from my experience with other people editing my documents and I'm not sure if this will apply to you but... I had to really be on top of which version was edited and where or else I'd miss some of the edits so eventually had folks e-mail me the changes, which I then inputed myself. Got to be too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. :)

Calistro said...

You've just reminded me I haven't backed up my novel for a bit! I use Yahoo Briefcase.

Debs said...

What excellent advice. I'm going to look into this as I normally back up on disc and also have a memory stick to take work from the laptop in the shed to the computer in the house, which is where the printer happens to be.

Fiona said...

Gives me nightmares too.
I used to save everything as 'lastest draft'. Of course, things when very wrong using that method. What really annoys me is that when I use my stick to transfer things, my docs come up as 'read only' even though I have checked my settings and not saved them as this:(

jen said...

Nothing like a little healthy paranoia :-)

This Cloud thing sounds like the business. Must go check it out...

Yvonne said...

Jannie, that's a very good point. I suppose you could have people save it under another name, and then you could download both and compare the changes (In MS Word, go to Tools/Compare Documents)

Calistro, I'm always forgetting to backup too, it's going to be my downfall one of these days.

Debs, those memory sticks are very handy. I've had bad experiences with discs corrupting so I avoid them.

Fiona, the read only thing would drive me batty too, along with the nightmares.

Jen, I found out about it on a documentary on Bill Gates - I'm so nerdy!

Angie said...

I get a bit panicky about backing up as well, but usually end up with too many versions of one document. Google Docs is a great storing device and I'll be curious to hear how it works in peer reviews.
Thanks for the reminder...must go backup now! :)

beth said...

I've used Google Docs since the minute they came out and I love them. I use the shared feature with editors and co-writers and it works a dream. Now for the cloud...

Yvonne said...

Angie, I think that's it's handy to work in sections - each story in its own document so I just save over the document every day. (If I need to go back I always have a hard copy) I keep other drafts though just in case.

Beth, it's very handy, I swear sometimes I'm several years behind the general population! The cloud is a nice idea.

HelenMH said...

You're absolutely right. It's better to be safe than sorry. I use a combination of memory stick, emailing stuff to myself and printing off hard copies. If all of those fail - I'll just give up I think!

Yvonne said...

Helen you sound as obsessed as me, but it's got to be done. Hard copies are really useful too, and it's nice to see the progression in drafts.

JJ said...

Oh god, I am horribly, utterly cavalier about backing up. I wonder what horrible dream I will have tonight...

Yvonne said...

JJ, I hope you dream of rainbows and puppies. ;)