Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Recently several authors I know have lost books, works in progress, and assorted other documents when their computers did a bunk. As Emeril says--Bam! You're down for the count, in complete disarray. There are tons of options to backup your files. I'm not going to get into a discussion of options.

What I want to know is... why would you not back up your docs? Even the most naive individual must suspect that there will eventually be a breakdown in their system. If the documents are important to that individual, then surely they are worth the three minutes it takes to back them up.

However! If the backup isn't in a place other than the computer then if the computer is destroyed due to fire or flood, the backup will most likely also be destroyed. In another life I used to teach computer basics. One of the things we discussed was this issue. Where should you keep your backup?

Number one answer among my students was? Next to the computer.

We played a game of suppose. Suppose your house/apartment burned down while you went to the grocery store. Suppose a tornado whirled in and wiped out your apartment/home. Suppose, suppose, suppose... The truth is that the safest place for your backup is not in your home. The second truth is that you should probably have a minimum of three backups. One on Monday morning, one on Wednesday night, and one on Saturday afternoon. Rotate them. The maximum work lost will be three days.

Too much? Back up everyday rotating three backups such as flash drives or whatever your option of choice is. The important thing is to have multiple backups.

Because backing up means "never having to say you're sorry"!


PS: If you haven't voted in the poll at the upper right, please do so and let us know how many books you read!


  1. We briefly discussed getting a small fireproof safe in which to hold all my rough drafts/original floppy drives/CD disks, but never purchased one. Maybe I need to bring up the subject again?

    And you're right...all it takes is a few minutes of the day. We forget that electronics DO occassionally fail. I simply got 'too comfortable' with my files and 'tomorrow' kept getting pushed back.

  2. Having been in an apartment fire, I am paranoid about this. (1) I carry a memory stick in my purse with important backups on it which I make 4 times a week; (2) I burn a CD once a quarter with archived email and other computer data, stored in my office desk at work (in a different town); (3) I make backups nightly and use that memory stick it in the office on a daily basis. (4) I copy my WIP to the office computer every day.

    My spouse also takes photographs of everything in the house twice a year and we store that disk offsite as well.

    Then there's the safety deposit box at the bank ... where the Really Important Stuff is stored (deed, titles, passports, etc.)

    All in all it takes about 5 - 10 minutes a day to make such backups and I don't have to sit while they're going, I just get it started then walk away and come back to pluck the memory stick out of the machine.

    Just get in the habit. You won't regret it...

    I have little sympathy for those who lose

  3. Been a victim of a computer crash or two and I now keep a little flash drive plugged in and updated. Also copy stuff to a cd. Makes me feel so much better.