Gut-wrench and panic

fearI just read a nausea-inducing  horror story. No, Steven King had nothing to do with it. Nor, this time, did a plagiarist. (More on that later.) You wouldn’t pay money for this–you don’t ever want to get closer to it than these posts on the internet.

It was a day like any other, for a writer who goes by Joe Nobody, when

Yesterday, after lunch, I stopped by a local Houston Walmart to pick up a case of ice tea.

After 15 minutes in the store, I came out to find my pickup truck with a busted window.

My computer bag was gone, on it were 3 WIPs, one of which was a day or two from going to editing (a novel over 100,000 words).

The parking lot cameras weren’t working. The cop was useless, the store manager annoyed at my distraction.

On the way home, it started pouring rain. I, having no window, didn’t appreciate that.

No problem on the books – I’ve got it backed up…

Believe it or not, it gets worse. Much worse. and it wasn’t the car open to the elements or the truck’s battery running down.

Because he thought he had it covered on the backups. And he didn’t.

The system he depended on to make him whole after this sort of disaster wasn’t functioning correctly, and that one misstep took his story from a highly aggravating, horribly inconveniencing violation of personal space to all that plus outright disaster.

Joe lost three WIPS, what might have been years of work, for lack of a backup, even though he’d taken steps to prevent that. All except the last step of verifying that his backups worked before he needed them. Considering he was using what is purported to be a reliable system, it’s not hard to imagine skipping that step, fatal though it turned out to be.

I’ve just come from backing up my WIPs: everything else is on a couple different forms of media already. Media that I’ve checked for function. If I drop the laptop into a lake, my files are still accessible on a thumb drive, a couple of system external hard drives, and the cloud. I’m pretty sure Google won’t crash, but then I’m also pretty sure the house isn’t going to burn and take thumb drives and external hard drives with it either. But I’m not taking chances, and as final insurance, my betas get regular email updates, which is offsite backup as well as being very helpful to the story. (Inbox, outbox, and betas’ computers.)

Maybe you aren’t an author, but this still applies. What about your beloved collection of ebooks? Pictures? When Mat Honan of Wired Magazine got hacked,  he lost years of pictures of his growing children, his only copies.

So go, back up your data in something offsite and unattached to your main system. Because horror stories are only fun when you can close the book.

2 responses to “Gut-wrench and panic

  1. Both my Scrivener project files and my Word documents (for the later drafts) get backed up not only to DropBox, but also to Carbonite. Most of them even make it to Google Docs when they’re in the beta reading stages. DropBox is free for a small amount of storage and requires no effort to use. Simply save your files in the DropBox directory. Carbonite costs, but you get a lot more storage. Now that I have Office 365 I suppose I could back up to SkyDrive as well.

    But however you look at it, I’m definitely covered.

  2. I had something like this happen to me. I lost my external hard drive and my computer crashed, so I lost thousands of pics, books, etc. Fortunately for me though, my dad was able to recover the stuff on my laptop, and I just found my external drive. So, fortunately, it worked out for me, but I’m much more careful now.

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