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February 16, 2015

Save Your Work!


When you’re a writer, you rely on computers to get your work done and to keep your documents safe, but then a nasty virus compromises everything you’ve worked hard on. Don’t wait for a virus to attack, or for your computer to fizzle out and die, to take action on protecting your documents. Do it now, so you won’t suffer any setbacks or heart ache.

Here are five techniques you can do to save your work and protect your computer:

           1.  Drop Box

Drop Box is a website that you can use for free. All you have to do is sign up and install the Drop Box program to your computer or laptop. By following their instructions, you can link Drop Box to all of your devices: Your work computer, home computer, laptop, and even your cell phone. You’ll get a nifty icon with a luminous blue box, and this box is where you can send all of your important documents. You can do this by dragging the document to it or by right clicking on a document and clicking “Send to” and then “Drop Box”. When you do, not only is your work automatically saved to your Drop Box file on all of your devices but to your profile on their website. You can easily access your documents by opening the Drop Box icon on your desktop or by going to their website, and whatever you do to those documents will save everywhere!

FYI: If you use the documents on your computer instead of the version that’s in the Drop Box folder, you will have to send those updated files to Drop Box again to save the current copy. That's why I recommend for now on using the document saved in your Drop Box folder. And then, later, you can send it to your computer to have it in your computer's files.

 2. OneDrive


Similar to DropBox, you can download OneDrive to your devices and use their website to save the content on your computer/laptop. You can also access your files on any of your devices.

3. Email your documents to several accounts.

This isn’t as easy as Drop Box, but it is another thing you can do to ensure your stories are saved. This technique is better for books that you have put on the back-burner and won’t be working on anytime soon, as you won’t have to keep emailing yourself the same document every day.  

        4. Create two accounts on your computer.

The Administrator’s account on your computer should be the only one you use to write your books/stories, and the other account you should use for the Internet. Doing this will protect your documents in case a virus compromises the account you use for the Internet. You will be able to safely delete that account from the Administrator’s account. I do this, and I’m glad that I did because I once had a virus that was so bad I couldn’t even enter the account I use for the Internet. If that had happened to the other account, and if I had lost all of my work, I would’ve been devastated!

           5.    Paste in your passwords.

This may sound silly to you, but I’ve had my Facebook profile and two of my email accounts hacked in the space of two months. I was even locked out of my Yahoo email account because of it. I found out that hackers can actually monitor what your keyboard does and that’s how they can steal your passwords. (Same goes for keyboards you use with the mouse.) So now I have a document on my computer with all of my passwords and when I have to open my blog, emails, or Facebook accounts, I copy the passwords with my mouse and paste them in. I’ve had no trouble with hackers since!

FYI: So far, the only sites this doesn’t work for are Goodreads and Amazon, but everything else is perfectly fine with me pasting in my passwords.

          6.    Flash Drives/External Hard Drive 


You may wonder why you need to use a flash drive if you’re using Drop Box. Well, what if one day Drop Box goes away? That’s why I still use flash drives diligently. You just never know what’ll happen in the future, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Mark a day on your calendar a few times a month to back-up documents you've worked on.

An external hard drive asks just like an internal hard drive. You can save everything on your computer to it and keep it as a back up in case something happens to your current hard drive. Just make sure to periodically update it.


Also See: Computer Problems



QUESTIONS: What do you do to save your work? Have you ever lost your documents/computer to a virus?


86 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

Sounds like a good idea to me , that drop box. Thanks for sharing.

Suzanne said...

Having had a laptop completely die on me once a few years ago I am ultra careful and in all honesty probably have too many copies of documents everywhere just to be on the safe side! Plus firewall, google drive and a separate plug in hard drive! It was a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but at least I'm prepared for next time! x

sage said...

I have lost a few documents over the years, but do a decent job of backing up things. Thanks for the reminder.

Pat Hatt said...

Use a usb every day for something I did that day or anything new and then re-save everything to a hard drive once or twice a month here.

The hacker thing don't they need a keylogger of sorts to do that though?

Hart Johnson said...

Is that true about passwords!? That's alarming! I email myself each draft and I have an external hard drive that every once in a while I update, but honestly, my computer guys have saved me both times things fell apart.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Didn't know that about passwords. Glad that's how I do it.
I have thumb drives and several external hard drives and I back up once a week or more. Plus I have multiple computers.

betty said...

I use Drop Box for pictures and love its functionality (meaning for me it is super easy to use, LOL :)

Thankfully I haven't lost anything due to a virus. I did have a virus scare about a year ago but hubby was able to install new antivirus software (mine had expired) and everything was saved and up and running. However, I'm not a writer. I think if I was one, I would definitely have what you have to back up things and make sure my work was not lost.

betty

Gisele LeBlanc said...

I also use Dropbox and love its functionality. Also, since I got my Mac about three years ago, I haven't had one virus, and my computer never crashes anymore either. The only issue I ever had was that my Twitter account got hacked once, but I was able to fix it right away. I added a password protection step and no issues since. :)

Jeffrey Scott said...

I already use dropbox for my writing. It's nice because when I save it, the same file is saved on my phone, laptop, desktop and pad. As for what happens when / if dropbox disappears overnight. I believe the service will be gone for sharing, but it shouldn't delete the files already in your system files. You just won't be able to share it any more to the other devices at the same time. So, it's a good idea to back up elsewhere too.

As for having lost data. Back in the old days, I would write on an Apple IIe computer. From time to time, I'd encounter a glitch and if I hadn't stopped and saved recently, all the writing was lost. I lost an entire chapter that way once.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

I was unaware of your #3. Thank you so much! I do have one thing to say about DropBox - it's free space is limited. It doesn't even come close to covering what I need. I've used it on occasion just as a pit stop for a manuscript I'm currently working on. I've never looked into upgrading, though. Not sure how much it costs.

Anonymous said...

I e-mail my stories to myself and use a thumb drive. It certainly helps. A few years ago, my computer crashed twice, and I had to rewrite my story from memory only.

Anonymous said...

You might want to run a virus or malware check on your computer. Stealing passwords by recording keystrokes should only be possible if you've downloaded something malicious.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I email my documents and always save my manuscripts on two thumb drives. I keep my security software up to date too.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I have several thumb drives. I also have an external, because it's not just my writing, but my photos and business stuff that's really important.

DRC said...

I've lost work but only via a computer dying. Ever since then I've been paranoid and make numerous backups. Like some of the others here, I work from a USB (it goes everywhere with me) and then re-save updated documents on my main computer and my laptop. And any finished drafts get emailed.

Carrie-Anne said...

I learnt a big lesson when I lost the first 5 pages or so of the original version of Chapter 7 of my first Russian novel, back in September or October '93, on the 152K Mac. I've diligently saved like every 30 seconds or so every since (seriously), and break documents up into smaller files. I also learnt a big lesson from losing a few documents because the master files were so big, instead of broken into chapters. If you lose an entire book, or even Part I of a WIP, you've lost everything, whereas you're not quite so screwed if you "only" lose one file of many.

I finally got a flash drive a few years ago, in the shape of a tiger. I call him Roger, since that's also my stuffed tiger's name. I also still have many of my original files backed up on disks, and need to go onto my old computer to convert some of those files into Word so they can then be easily converted into Pages on my new computer. Believe it or not, these disk files, some of them over 20 years old, still open on these disks, and haven't been corrupted in all these years.

Sarah Foster said...

Great tips! I save everything to a flash drive, and if I finish a chapter I usually print it just so I'd have something if all of my technology failed me. I'll have to look into Drop Box, because I also have had this thought occasionally: what if there was a fire and my flash drive AND my hard copies were destroyed?? Then I'd have nothing. Scary.

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Yvonne!

Chrys Fey said...

I'[m not sure how hackers do it, but I read it on a few sites last year and wanted to be safe than sorry.

Chrys Fey said...

Being ultra careful is good!

Chrys Fey said...

Losing documents sucks!

Chrys Fey said...

I read it on several websites last year when I was looking into how to keep my passwords protected, so as far as I know it's true.

Chrys Fey said...

Backing up once a week, especially when you have multiple computers is smart.

Chrys Fey said...

It is super easy to use.

Thank goodness for your husband reviving your computer! Even if you're not a writer, computer viruses are a pain.

Chrys Fey said...

Password protection is important these days.

Chrys Fey said...

I didn't mean the files in your computer would be gone, just that you'll lose those saved documents in Drop Box.

I hated those old days where glitches caused you to lose whatever you hated saved. Ugh!

Chrys Fey said...

That's true. The space on Drop Box is limited. I haven't hit that limit yet, though.

Chrys Fey said...

Oh no! Rewriting a story from memory is hard because while you know the plot, you no longer have your descriptions of dialogue. I lost two whole novels and haven't attempted to rewrite them since.

Chrys Fey said...

I have virus and malware protection on my computer. I didn't say any of my passwords were stolen that way, but to be safe I paste in my passwords because you never know where or how something will get onto your computer to cause harm like that. I'd rather be safe than sorry because a few of my sites have been hacked somehow.

Chrys Fey said...

That's smart, Susan!

Chrys Fey said...

That's a good idea, L. Diane.

Chrys Fey said...

Sounds like you have the right idea, DRC!

Chrys Fey said...

It stinks having to learn those lessons to get us to save our work properly but at least it has us overly cautious now, which is a good thing.

My flash drive is plan and boring. Gosh, I was a tiger flash drive! lol

Chrys Fey said...

Printing is a great idea! I don't print out my books though because I'd be broke from all the ink and paper.

That is scary!

cleemckenzie said...

It's always wise to have backups. Good idea to remind us, too! Thanks.

Cherdo said...

Great advice!

Another wonderful thing about Drop Box is that you can get additional storage when you invite people. To accomplish this, I make a folder and place documents that we all need for projects. Then I invite them. If they don't have Drop Box, and they sign up - more storage! And everyone is happy about the shared file.

I've got 60 GB of storage free and I never have a problem with Drop Box. I recommend it all the time.

Sherry Ellis said...

I had no idea hackers could monitor what you do on your keyboard. That's crazy! Thanks for the tips.

Chrys Fey said...

You can never have too many backups. :)

Chrys Fey said...

That is a nice feature. I haven't invited anyone else, but I should!

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Sherry!

Caryn Caldwell said...

These are great ideas -- and a good reminder to back everything up, too! I use a few of these tips (or variations thereof), but I didn't know about all of them -- pasting passwords in, specifically. I'm going to have to try that. Thanks!

Unknown said...

I remember you mentioning you copy and paste your password. I can't believe how crazy things have gotten nowadays. I don't copy and paste my passwords although I probably should!
I use flash drives religiously. They are so convenient but since they are super small, we should always keep an eye on where we place them. I hate forgetting where I left a flash drive, especially the one I bring to my school visits. And once, I left it at one of the schools!

Chrys Fey said...

Even know I know better...sometimes I can still go a few days without backing up, so a reminder is always needed. You're welcome, Caryn! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Things have gotten crazy with hackers and Internet safety.

Flash drives have saved my writing life! I love them! I carry mine everywhere I go. I keep it in a cute little bag in my purse so I always know where it is.

Oh no! I hope you got it back!

Kelly Steel said...

Thanks for this Chrys! I installed dropbox and lost my full monthly allowance of data!

Chrys Fey said...

You lost your monthly allowance of data? I had to Google what you meant by that. If you're talking about a cell phone, I don't know anything about cell phones and data. In any case, I'm sorry. I never heard of that happening to anyone whose installed Drop Box.

Barbara Bettis said...

I never mastered Drop Box. But I use gobs of flash drives ! Excellent post. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I use flash drives, but I'm considering Dropbox. My computer crashed a month ago and my flash drive had my most important documents, but many important documents were stuck in my computer. I had to use Puppy Linux to retrieve those files.

Tara Tyler said...

i forget to back things up until i hear someone lost a slew of info... i better do that now before i'm the one who loses it all!
thanks for reminding me! and great tips =)

DMS said...

I recently had my computer crash and this is all excellent advice. Luckily, my computer will stay on for almost 30 minutes before it shuts down completley for the rest of the day, so I am trying to save what I can. I will try to use more of these techniques from now on. I have to use a laptop that is about 10 years old until I can afford a new computer, but at least I have something and I hope to get all my book files off my broken computer!

~Jess

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Having lost 867 posts one time - I am always concerned. I was hacked and stalked. I use everything except Drop Box... I'll check that out.

Great tips, thank you, Chyrs.

DL Hammons said...

I am a Dropbox lover through and through! Love how I can access my writing from just about anywhere. I also use it for my CP group to share critiques.

Chrys Fey said...

Flash drives are my best friend! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Drop Box is nice and it's add insurance, which couldn't hurt. :)

I'm glad you were able to retrieve those important documents!

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome for the reminder, Tara! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Oh no! I'm sorry, Jess! I hope you can save everything and get a new computer soon!

Chrys Fey said...

867 posts? Oh my goodness! I'm sorry, Dixie!

Drop Box is nice and it's more insurance...just in case.

Chrys Fey said...

That's awesome, DL!

Lisa Thomson said...

Fabulous tips, Chrys. I don't use drop box but I had best look into it. I use flash drives for all my writing and feel that makes it secure. It would be devastating to have something happen. My site has not been compromised but that would be second scariest thing. The amount of writing and information on there is quite overwhelming. Great post, Chrys. Thanks for these tips.

Unknown said...

Dropbox has been amazing for me. I have to do my work all over the place, so it's great to just drop briefs and reports into it so I can access them on my phone.

Trisha said...

I would be screwed right now if my laptop died, but mostly 'cause of all the photos I don't have backed up. ;) My writing is backed up, though I haven't backed up the most recent edits of my current revision project.

Christine Rains said...

I really should start using Dropbox. My husband has a system like that at his work and everyone is required to do it. I save on a flash drive and through email. Have a great week! :)

Denise Covey said...

Thanks Chrys. Very helpful. I use DropBox for school and writing group to share documents but hadn't used it for WIPs. Great idea. I do use flash drives, but I'm great at getting mixed up between flash drive and hard drive. Oops! Then i have to check the date for the latest copy.

Denise :-)

Nicola said...

Great tips, Chrys. I have 5 USB sticks that I save my work on. 5 because I have 5 ports on my laptop :) I learned my lesson for backing up work when I lost my whole dissertation back in the days of floppy disks. Never again! I will check out DropBox but how secure is it? Wishing you all the best.

Stephanie Faris said...

Great advice!!! Once you get an agent, you email everything to her at some point, so that helps...especially once you have a publisher and you're only sending proposals. But backing up is essential anyway. There's free cloud storage built into Office 2013...

Unknown said...

losing my work is something that I am incredibly paranoid about, so I def do all these things, slightly obsessively, lol!

VR Barkowski said...

Excellent advice, Chrys. I work out of Dropbox, and I also have an external drive, in case something goes wrong. Interesting info about pasting passwords, and it makes perfect sense—both for passwords and credit card numbers. The weird thing is, I've noticed more and more sites won't allow pasting. I wonder why that is. Doesn't make sense.

VR Barkowski

Lidy said...

Man, I'm sorry about the hacks. I usually email copies of my drafts and save updated documents on both my work desktop and Chromebook files/folders. I also carry around an USB for backup. For extra safety measures I'm going to try using Dropbox. Thanks.

Chrys Fey said...

I would be devastated, too, if something ever happened to my blog or my computer documents.

Chrys Fey said...

Drop Box is great!

Chrys Fey said...

I use Photobucket for pictures. It's free and you get a lot of space. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Drop Box is quickly and easy. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Yup, backing up the data on flash drives is a must.

Chrys Fey said...

Floppy disks...I had tons of those and actually still have a few for some very good projects, but those were a pain!

Chrys Fey said...

I don't have an agent. :( I don't have Office 2013 either. Mine is the old 2007.

Chrys Fey said...

In this case, being paranoid is good! ;)

Chrys Fey said...

So far, I've only encountered two sites (Goodreads and Amazon) that don't allow me to paste in passwords, but I'll probably find more eventually.

Chrys Fey said...

Sounds like a good strategy, Lidy!

Nick Wilford said...

I had a flash drive die on me and I lost what was on it - everything was also on my hard drive, except a revision of my then WIP. So I'm a bit mistrusting of them now. I've found Dropbox to be great. One thing's for sure, don't put all your eggs in one basket!

Chrys Fey said...

Oh no! I guess everything can die but I didn't think a flash drive could. It pays to have a couple then. I'll have to get another!

Mary Kirkland said...

Back when I was writing articles for Yahoo, I would paste them into an email and send them to another email address to be saved into a folder.

diedre Knight said...

Wow! This is certainly enlightening, I always use a flash drive and assumed they were infallible - yikes! I use Drop Box for work but never thought of using it for personal. Cloud is offered (okay, strongly recommended) with Office 2013 but I'm wary of storing stuff on the internet.

Chrys Fey said...

That's smart!

Chrys Fey said...

I've never used Cloud so I can't say whether I like it or not. lol

Anonymous said...


Ahh hi Chrys,
How have u been??I'm sorry i couldn't respond earlier to you and also for not being able to review ur 2nd book...gr8 blog post once again...I have not used Dropbox before but i am in sync with the idea of emailing my work to different email accounts,as well as my portable hard drive.They come in real handy btw....

I have been so busy with my 3 mth old so much since she is a gr8 attention seeker,thus i am finding it so difficult to manage my new blog which i updated last abt 3 to 4 mths back..I know i should have updated ages back but motherhood juz catches up and leaves me at a cliffhanger.Hope to sort it real soon...

Btw,how's your new book sales???

Cheers,
Jassie

Chrys Fey said...

I was wondering what happened to you, Jassie. I sent my second short story to you to read, but never heard back. That's okay, though. No worries!

Aw! I didn't know you had a three month old. Congratulations! I think everyone who is a mom or aunties (like I am) can understand why you've been MIA. ;)

My book sales are going well. Thanks for asking! :)