How Often Do you Back Up Your Manuscript?

So I woke up one day and my computer didn’t turn on.


No satisfying noises, no flashy colours. Nothing.

Before I started to cry, I thought about when I’d last made a backup of my work.

Three days. Three days of irreplaceable words. Could I find them in my mind again? Maybe. Maybe they would even be better, but maybe not. Now I’m wondering why I don’t print anything.

Three days is too long. What was I thinking? Lucky for me, I think my computer got damp from dew. A day later, after I hadn’t touched it – and that was hard – it worked. All my writing was there.

What did I learn?

  • I back up every night now.
  • I back up onto a separate hard drive.
  • In case we take a lightning strike on our boat, I also back up off site. I use a server somewhere out there on the Internet and put my work there once a week.

How often do you back up? Enough to keep you 🙂 ?


10 thoughts on “How Often Do you Back Up Your Manuscript?

  1. What a terrible feeling.
    A company I worked with several year ago didn’t want to pay to backup “offsite” instead relying on a local network backup drive to store the backups of the business database, work done and other files.
    That was fine until a “kindly” burglar made off with the server, desktops and the network storage drives!
    The last offsite backup was on a pile of DVD’s, four months out of date. It took nearly 6 months of work to recreate most of the lost data from hard paper copies, and there was still information irretrievably lost. Some customers ended up getting free advertising as there was no proof of contract!
    You’d think the other business partners would have learned from this experience – no.
    So BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP. (Then backup again!)


  2. Oh, heavens, I know how you feel! I DID lose 4 days of work once so I invested in Carbonite. It’s like $60 a year and everything on my computer (except my free blog at WordPress) is backed up. All my pictures, my writing, my music, even the software programs I use. It’s the best money I’ve spent and if I lose anything, I can log in to the site and retrieve it simple and easy. I know I could have bought my own external hard drive but this is easy and it’s encrypted something like 3 ways. As for my manuscripts and my writing…additionally saved to thumb drives. I don’t want to lose any of it. I’d cry. I’d be devastated. I don’t want to think about the mess my family would have to deal with. 🙂 It wouldn’t be pretty.


  3. I used to teach Computers to high school kids and saw hundreds of kids in tears because they didn’t back up their work and lost it. Experience really was the best teacher there. You’d think that I back up my stuff, then, right? I save to two hard drives, two USB sticks and I do a paper backup of my manuscripts. Also I have a flash drive offsite with my sister. Am I paranoid? Not really. Just careful. And still I lose things like a post almost done which WordPress eats or something. I learned to save my draft there often and especially before posting up on my site.


    1. I’ve lost posts too. Don’t know why. At least it’s not as devastating as part of a manuscript. I usually write my posts offline in word and then copy to wordpress. Sometimes it can take me a long time to get a very slow internet connection when we are on the boat, so it drives me crazy if I lose a blog. Now if I lose it, I copy it out of word again. Not so annoying.


  4. I just renewed my Carbonite subscription today, and like ‘kford,’ I’ve found it to be such a relief to know that all my writing, and my music, and everything else I might be working on is backed up minute by minute. The only drawback I can think of is that you need to be on an internet connection for it to update the backup.
    I used to back up my Scrivener file at the end of every writing session, but decided to go with Carbonite because so many times I was simply too tired to do it.
    Just in case, because I’m so paranoid when it comes to keeping backups, I use ‘Time Machine’ to backup to an external hard drive once a month.
    As you can probably see, I really hate losing words-and almost never do! 🙂


    1. That’s good point. For me, during the 8 months when I don’t have a good internet conniption, it might not be the right choice. I like to disconnect when I’m writing. It’s too disturbing to have incoming email etc, and too tempting to check FB. Better to disconnect and concentrate.


  5. Yikes! This hasn’t happened to me (knock on wood) but I’ve seen it happen to plenty of critique partners. Sooooo frustrating:( I just signed a pub deal this week so now I’m even more paranoid about backing up my stuff, hitting the save button every few minutes. So now I have a bigger problem–OCD;)


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