From the Department of Redundancy Department
Today is going to be a very basic lesson. One which we often forget about in the hubub of getting our words down, our stories plotted, and NPCs sorted out. It is the backup.
There comes a time in every person’s life where they wish they were a luddite. Notebooks do not crash, though they can be lost. Notecards do not crash, yet they, too, can suffer water damage to make them illegible. The computer, our keeper of secrets and words and many other things, can be our friend, but can be our enemy when we rely on it to keep our words safe for all enternity. Entropy exists. Everything is perpetually moving to a state of non-being. Your hard drive is no different. It seeks to find its final resting place, so there are a handful of words I cannot emphasize enough: back up frequently and often. Yes. I was redundant, but that’s the whole point. You want to have layers and layers of your data stored safely away. Why? You may ask. This isn’t high school; that’s why. Your dog eating your homework may be all well and good one time and buy you an extra day to write the paper you should’ve written to begin with, but these words you’re writing now. Why, these words are far more important.
These are the words creating worlds, painting pictures, and are certain to contain the secrets of fun and entertainment. Do you want to lose them? Of course not. You probably have redundancies in place for a lot of things in your life. You may have your emails in a dozen places; you may have lists of numbers jotted down in a notebook or synched up to your desktop; you probably even have lots of backups for your characters when you’re playing a video game (if you’re doing the latter, I’m sure you are). So why not your words?
It’s not hard work. You can use the cloud–Dropbox is grand (and it’s free). And there are other sources too. As a matter of fact, I recommend Carbonite. The main files on my computer are stored in Dropbox which is then saved in Carbonite. Multiple levels of redundancy are guaranteed to give you peace of mind.
I know these are among the least sexy words I have ever written on this site, but they are among the most important. There is nothing more crushing to a project. Nothing more certain to bring it to a grinding halt then if you lose your words. It’s not starting from scratch. It’s starting from scratch knowing you’ve done a lot of this work before. Trust me–the hard drive will wait until you fill it full of words before it decides to go south, taking your words away forever.
You might think I lost a bunch of work. Not lately. It just occurred to me to share this with you. If I’m giving some insights to creating stuff, I should go ahead and provide some basics on how to protect your hard work.
Until next time, I backup, and bid you adieu!