Backups May Save Your… Freelance Writing Career

writers back up your workEarly last year, at the request of one of my adult children, I began writing our family story. It wasn’t for publication; the goal was to retain some of the family stories and history for, well, posterity.

I’d written maybe 30 pages, complete with illustrations and had emailed this incomplete rough draft to my kids when I hit a snag. Since I wasn’t writing for a paying client I didn’t worry to much, knowing I could get back to it when the time was ripe.

Of course, life goes on and part of life for me was getting a new computer. Why is it that even with the same software or almost the same software the new computer never looks exactly like the old? I always figure I’ll lose at least a day and maybe two getting set up with the new machine.

I deleted it – I think

I don’t remember doing it, but apparently in an effort to tidy up my desktop on the new machine I deleted the family story folder. Over a couple of days I ran several searches, thinking maybe family story wasn’t the right name.

Nothing.

I felt some panic, and even asked one kid if they knew where their copy of the folder/files were – no help there either.

Then I remembered I pay Carbonite every year to automatically back up my computer.

And there was the missing folder; literally a single click put it back on my desktop and, when I checked, everything was there, including the manuscript.

Whew!

What if it had been a writing client?

Now, what if that missing and probably deleted folder had belonged to a client? Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be if you had to contact a client, or several and tell them you had lost your assignments and the writing you were doing for them?

If you’re going to be in the writing business, you simply must be backed up, period. Not being backed up and losing client files can end your writing career – really.

There are all sorts of backup systems, but the ones that work best are those that backup your computer offsite automatically.

I know there are some who won’t use such systems for fear of privacy breaches. I understand that and I’ll ask only one question: How often have you skipped your backup scheme?

Why writers need offsite backup

You can have the best backup system in the world right their in your home or office, and it’s not enough. It’s not enough because every home and every office is subject to fire, flood, wind and who knows what kind of damage.

That old tree might one day fall and wipe out part of your roof and all off your computer and backups.

Your kids could pour water over your systems, or the dog chew on it, or you do something wierd… or, as happens often, and without warning, your hard drive dies.

These days it’s just too easy and too cheap to have automatic offsite backup to risk not having it. I pay Carbonite $60 a year. They’ve bailed me out more than once and I’m now familiar with their service. It’s a business expense I’m more than willing to pay.

And there are even free services. Gizmos has an updated listI haven’t used any of those so I can’t recommend them, but I totally agree with Gizmo when they say the worst time to think about back up is when you need it.

No more excuses! Choose your offsite backup solution right now – there’s no reason to postpone it.

How are you backed up? Tell us your solution.

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman

 

 

Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by blmurch

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon Hurley Hall January 15, 2014 at 5:56 pm

I back up obsessively. I use SugarSync for automated backups, a portable hard drive for occasional backups (weekly in theory, but more like monthly) and also save work to Google Drive and by attaching it to a draft email in Gmail.

Cheryl Bryan January 17, 2014 at 12:13 pm

I’ve been using Carbonite for a couple of years now. It’s VERY cheap insurance, and is also mindless. It does its thing in the background without any maintenance.

You can also use Google Drive or Microsoft’s Sky Drive as a cloud backup — and they’re free, but you have to physically move your files to the drive or save the original file in that drive, which I’m not keen to do, in case I lose Internet service. They’re good for sharing files, though.

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