Saturday, July 14, 2007


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.

New Procedure:

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

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