Monday, April 26, 2010

Ruh Roh

My computer crashed last night.

I lay awake for ages, cursing and panicking. Today was supposed to be my writing day, and I didn't have any access to my files. So ok, I could postpone the editing I was hoping to do and simply start on something new (I did), but it made me realize something quite fundamental.

A lot of my life is on my computer.

I may be just beginning, and my collection of writing is small, but what if I'd started a novel, what if I was quite a way into it...and I lost it? What if there was a fire? What if my computer was stolen?

Shit shit shit shit shit.

I'd learned from previous crashes to have a partitioned hard drive. All my personal files are separated from the operating system, so if in case of a crash like this nothing will be wiped. Hopefully this time it will be a repair, not a complete reformat. But what if my hard drive was irretrievable?

About 1am, I decided I'd better start making backups. Something basic for the time being - put everything on a flash drive I can pop in my handbag, or leave in a safe place.

This got me thinking about what other authors do. I'd be very interested to find out from published authors whether they back up, put their manuscripts in a bank vault, store a removable hard drive in a safe place. Has a big name author ever lost a manuscript this way, a chunk of their writing gone?

A few thousand words I could possibly resurrect, but a hundred thousand words, all your notes and research gone? What heartbreak that would be.

Thankfully there is more than one computer in the house. I have an SO who is very handy with computers, and who has saved my digital ass many a time.

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