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Monday, March 29, 2010

The Importance of Backing up Files: Yes, I'm One of Those

I'm busy editing away at The Guardian's Tree but here's a quick post to tell you one of the most important rules of writing that may seem different.

Back up your files.

You may be one of those kind of people that read stuff like this and then think, "Oh, what an irresponsible person. I would never lose my files, my computer is never going to crash" and so on and so forth.

Yeah, I was one of those too.

And then I lost TGT.

It all started...somewhere, I'm not sure where, but I lost my flash drive that contained the entire, single, completed draft of my novella. Not only was it the one completed draft, it was the only draft containing any editing. Oh, and did I mention that I only had 2,000 words left to edit on this draft?

Needless to say, I was crushed.

Thankfully I had emailed out half of the edited novella to a friend and so I was able to grab that. At least I wouldn't have to rewrite the whole thing. But I would still need to redo the ending--the most challenging part of this story.

So I searched and searched for my drive, still haven't found it.

I gave up for the time being and began searching my computer for old, scraped, files. And after a while I found an older completed draft.


But essentially, I'm having to re-edit half the story.

Imagine though if I hadn't emailed my file, or if I hadn't accidentally saved a back up long ago. That would be a tragedy.

Moral of the blog post: Back up your files--every five minutes.


Barie said...

Whoah, that's real tough Nathan. I never back up anything. I will now though! I do print it out periodicly though. It would be a pain to have to retype the whole thing if I ever had to do that, lol. I'm glad you didn't completely lose it though! I'll keep an eye out for that flashdrive ;)

Beorn said...

What flashdrive do you use? Is it the one in the picture above? How expensive?

Thanks =)

Ian said...

I use a jump drive, and am very paranoid about losing it - I like email as a backup method, but it can be a real pain to try and grab files off of the internet from other least in my experience ("Access Denied...").

Fortunately, having school-provided laptops, the importance of backing up work has been hammered into me for the last four years. :)


Jessica said...

OH NO!!!!!!!!!! Tell the computer to GIVE it BACK!

Computer crashes are one of life's greater tragedies. My computer likes to surprise me with crashes. It is a temperamental little thing that likes to do it about every three months. There was a short period where it did it every month. Pure exasperation. However thank you for the inspiration...I am going to find my drive, it's hiding. Hoping and praying that God will give you the inspiration and memory to make this next draft even better. You have my DEEPEST sympathies!

Nathan R. Petrie said...

Barie, I lost my novel once. But, as you do, I had it all printed out. Unfortunately, novellas aren't broken up into chaptpers so I didn't print as I edited.

Beorn, no, it's not the one in the pic above and it's not expensive :P lol

Ian, I used to live and die by my jump drive but now that I have a laptop of my own...I don't need to worry too much. Unless I put a single copy of something on it :P
Google docs is a life saver though, if only I ever uploaded stuff :P

Jessica, I tried. Seems the computer ate it o.O
Thanks for the prayers, I could use 'em haha

Gwendolyn said...

Whoa. Murderous computer...

I've lost files before - it's enough to send you flying into the insane asylum; especially when it contains 25,000 words from a screen play you've spent months on and the back-up disc is corrupted and can't be opened. *whistles innocently* My dad's motto is "Save early, save often." I have to agree.

Madeline said...

Not to sound ignorant, but what do you mean by "back up"? Save it in more than one place? My

Nathan R. Petrie said...

My jump drive was corrupted a few times o.O Not fun.
I save often...but only in one place :P haha

Madeline, backing up means to save more than one copy of a file in different locations. So if one crashes, you don't lose it.

Madeline said...

Okay, yeah...I use yWriter, so I have a copy in that program and I usually export it to my external hard drive. If I feel really insecure about it I also put it in Google yeah...I think I'm covered lol

Evergreena said...

Oh no! That's definitely a disaster! Editing takes a lot of work!

My computer had hard drive failure last summer, and I thought I'd lost my thousands of photos, music I'd written, and of course the edited version of my novel. I had my rough draft backed up, as well as most of my other writing, but ack! That's a lot of editing!

When I sent the disc to a recovery company, they were able to retrieve all the important stuff, though it cost me a lot. That scared me so much that now I back everything up to an ext hard drive. I won't go through that again!

Hopefully your flash drive will turn up! And if not, may your re-editing go smoothly and quickly!

Galadriel said...

My whole life is on my jump drive. Fortunitely, said jump drive can go through the washer/dryer (2x) and still work.
I also save the same file under different names on the drive, in case one gets corrupted or accidently is saved as something else.
For example, chapter one of my novella Three Dark Roses is its' own document "Chapter One" but also is part of the overall document.

Squeaks said...

I totally agree. In February my hard drive crashed (I have no clue how that happened) and my 3/4 finished novel was completely wiped from the face of the earth. To tell you the truth, I wasn't exactly impressed with my the incident gave me a chance to start fresh. Still, it's hard to think of all the hours and time spent on collecting information and writing...all that hard work flushed down the drain in the span of a couple seconds. I now keep all my work on external disks/hard-drives so I don't have to worry about loosing them again :S

Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Madeline, I downloaded yWriter. I guess I'm just not one for writing software haha

@Evergreena, yeah not fun :P lol
Ouch! That's way worse! When I was 11 I lost all my novel. But I'd printed everything off so all I had to do was retype haha

@Galadriel, yeah I save my novel like that too. Might wanna save to a computer and the internet though ;) Just in case you lose your drive....not that I've ever done that :P ;)

@Squeaks, yup. I have an external drive. I was actually going to back my files up when I found I'd lost my jump drive haha

Celebrilomiel said...

Ohhh, Nathan, that's terrible!

Yeah - Backing up files should be the first thing a writer learns, even before learning to write. xP

I like to copy and paste my stories into GoogleDocs, which also makes them accessible from any computer with internet connection. That's a definite plus for me, because my family has two computers, and I can't use the same one all the time. I am, however, saving for a laptop (his name is Alfred [yes, I name my electronics]), and I'm about 90% of the way there (if I want to buy an Apple, that is).

Ruby Badcoe said...

Yeah, you never know when your computer will be grumpy. It runs smoothly, and then all of a sudden, the system crashes! So, it’s really important that you backup your files. You may use a CD, a flash drive, or a hard disk. It doesn’t matter where you save it, for as long as you are certain that you have an extra copy just in case anything bad happens to your computer. It’s better to do it now than to regret it later.

"Stand tall now and proclaim what you have seen, speak in whispered roars..."