Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Did You Save Your Work Today?

About a month ago, a very good writer buddy of mine (Tristi Pinkston) had been merrily writing and then LOST her work. Software and hardware are not to be trusted. Do not assume they are your friends and will be ready to play any time you boot up your computer. I felt really bad for her.

Did her terrible loss make me assess my own software and hardware? Nope. I am just arrogant like that. Tragedy is for the Greeks and other people, certainly not for me.

I didn't back up anything during Tristi's plight.

But sometimes, the divine forces that be, sigh and take pity on my stupidity, rather than use it as a means to punish me like they normally do. I have a day job and had used my work-provided laptop to save my writing. My work determined that those of us with company owned laptops were at a risk for loss or theft and decided to back up all documents and files on a daily basis from our laptops.

I didn't think my employer wanted to save all my writing on company servers so I decided it was time to move all my writing over to my home PC. I moved everything.

Three days later when I was in the office, I turned on my computer and what did I see? The blue screen of death. All the software on my laptop crashed and burned. I lost everything.

Instead of being irritated or grumbling for now needing to rebuild all the links and email correspondence for my work, I breathed deep sighs of relief. The kind of relief one can only feel when they narrowly missed disaster and they know they don't deserve to have survived it. All my important stuff was saved. All my writing and irreplaceable stuff was safe.

I am the profiteer of lucky coincidence. But will you be if your computer flashes its blue screen of death?

The moral of this story: do not assume your flashdrive is incorruptible. Do not assume your harddrive is like a safety deposit box locked in a bank's vault. Do not assume Greeks are the only ones with tragedy.

Right now, while you're thinking about it, back up your work to two other viable save places.

You think writing that first draft is tough? Wait until you have to write that first draft twice.


Karen Hoover said...

Holy cow, Julie, what a blessing! The back-up, not the crash lol. I just hate when this kind of thing happens, but it always seems somehow miraculous when I see divine hands at work in my everyday life.

Annette Lyon said...

Wise words. Now I want to make another back-up, just in case!

Kimberly said...

Oh wow. Thanks for this Julie. It's the sort of thing I can just see happening to me, you know?

I have a copy of my work in progress on hubby's laptop and another on my desktop. That suddenly doesn't seem like enough security.

Melanie said...

My husband (a computer programmer) set me up on Windows Live Mesh. It's cool because whatever I write on my desktop automatically gets sent to my laptop and vice versa. But best of all, it's all sent to a convenient little storage place on the internet so even if both of my primary computers crash, there's still another back up. It gives me huge peace of mind because I'm exactly the kind of person that viruses and random power surges seek out!

Don said...

We geeks like to point out there are only two kinds of people in this world: Those who have lost computer data, and those who will.

I've taken to zipping up my WIP and emailing it to two different accounts through two different services. Hopefully this will never need to be tested, but I feel a little more secure with my project sitting on two different email servers.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Beware the flash drive . . . beware the flash drive . . .

Jennifer said...

Tristi, you are hilarious.

Julie, thank you so much for the reminder! My husband keeps harping on me to save my stuff on the server we have in the basement, and I keep thinking it'll never happen to me and it's too much effort and I already have one saved from not that long ago . . . blah blah.

Well, duh, I just did it in 30 seconds. I took my entire writing folder and copy and pasted it over the network. And our server has dual hard drives, so everything automatically gets saved onto 2 hard drives. So I now have it saved in 3 places. I was also going to put it on a flash drive, but I don't know if I should now after Tristi's comment. :)

And, by the way, I didn't have any of it backed up from before that I could find. At all. Oops.