I’m not talking grammar, here. I’m flat out talking about crashed computers, power outages, Word having an unexpected error, and the dreaded blue screen of death (for PC users).
I, like other writers, have fallen victim to one of the above and have lost pages and pages of well thought-out work. Generally, I hit control+S like a fiend, but once I encountered the blue screen of death on my old laptop, even saving my work didn’t preserve it.
I had to do a whole system recovery to even get my computer working again, which meant a months worth of work was gone and there was no way I could recover it. I suppose I could have done system backups regularly – like after every writing session, but who has time to do that?
System backups take a ton of time and it’s not a very practical way of always making sure your work is backed up because, and here’s the thing, I was lucky that I was even able to recover my computer to an earlier date and get it to work again. Many people who encounter the blue screen of death aren’t able to recover to an earlier backup date.
Fear not! I come offering some easy solutions to always having the latest, greatest version of your work saved and available.
I know some people out there will say “Don’t use PC’s! Use MACS!” but, hey, MACS are expensive. If you can afford one, or an iPad, good for you and enjoy that expensive piece of machinery. I need a simple word processor and for that purpose, PC’s work just fine.
Do you have a flash drive?
If you don’t, pick one up! An 8 gigabyte flash drive can be found for five bucks now of days. You can save all of your work to one or two flash drives and always have a backup of your work, or you can just open and work with your files directly off of your flash drive. This is one great way of always having access to your work.
If you don’t feel like carrying around one or two flash drives, you can also use services like Dropbox.com or Google Docs to upload your documents to a cloud server. These work great, but you have to be careful – Dropbox.Com has a limited amount of space for free. If you want more than 2 gigabytes, you have to pay for it. I generally use Google Docs because it has more space available and it’s free.
Google Docs also always you to use Google’s text-editor to write and edit documents on, and the best part about Google’s text-editor is that it auto saves constantly. Every word you write will be saved without you having to hit control+s all the time.
And, for all you low-tech writers out there, there’s always pen, paper, and a folder to save your writing projects in. When technology fails us, it never hurts to go old-school for a while and have your work in a tangible form to file away and save. In fact, you could also preserve your computer-generated work by printing out copies of everything you’ve written after you finish adding to it, just to ensure you have a copy.
These are a few of my solutions to technological issues I’ve encountered as a writer. If you have anything to add, share it in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.
You can follow Amanda on Twitter @ThePandaBard, on Pinterest @ThePandaBard, or on Medium @ThePandaBard. You can also find her research on Academia.Edu at Cpp.Academia.Edu/MandaRiggle.