Monday, August 13, 2018

Organization Tip: Writing Backpack #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop


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Being a Floridian, I am no stranger to the dangers of brush fires. When I was a kid, a fire surrounded my house on all sides. I had to run inside and grab what I wanted to save. All I remember saving was my blanket and school backpack.

Ever since that day, I’ve had a very real fear of fires. More specifically, a fear of losing my home to one. This worry resulted in something that has come in handy during hurricane season and severe thunderstorms, too.

So, what is it?

A backpack full of all of my writing stuff, including folders of ideas, notebooks for stories I’ve started, a Ziplock bag with a few old floppy disks, a couple of old planners, and anything else I would not want to lose to a natural disaster.

I’ve had this backpack (well, not the exact backpack…I recently got a new one) for years. As a matter of fact, I started doing this when I was a teen and started seriously writing with the goal of publication.

This backpack holds my world…or, I should say, my books’ worlds and my characters.

If a fire ever threatens my home, I will grab this backpack and put it by the door to snatch on my way out with my cats.

I even grab it and bring it wherever I am during a severe thunderstorm.

Any other time, this backpack is in a plastic container in my walk-in closet. During hurricane season, the things I want safe are inside my closet with this backpack. There is even an empty bucket in there for my computer.

Not only does this help for an evacuation, but it keeps all of my writing stuff together in one place 24/7, so I know where to look when I need to find an old story or idea.

If you don’t do anything else that I share on my blog for organization, I highly recommend all writers to do this.


QUESTION: Do you put your writing notebooks/folders in a safe place?


56 comments:

  1. While I don't have a bin for my computer, I do keep everything on an external hard drive and keep it safe during stormy weather.

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    1. I have flash drives that I keep on me when I'm not in the house.

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  2. Some good advice Chrys, not long ago my laptop had to go away for repairs, luckily all my writing was saved but I did have doubts for a while.

    Yvonne.

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    1. A computer/laptop that needs repairs can sure bring a lot of anxiety.

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  3. That's a very good idea. And not just for writers. A go bag, as it were, for situations that could turn into a disaster.

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    1. You're right. Everyone should have a to-go bag in case of a disaster with important documents, extra cash, clothes, etc.

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  4. That's an awesome idea! A fireproof and waterproof safe is good too, but it's nice to have such irreplaceable things on one's own person, just in case.

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    1. I would like a safe for a bunch of old notebooks I have stored in a box that I'd want to grab if I could. A fireproof and waterproof safe would be good for those.

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  5. I have everything backed up and a go bag nearby. Toss it in, grab the cats, and away I'd go. But wait, you still have floppy disks? Are those even a thing anymore? lol

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    1. Yup, I still have a few old floppy disks. And I still have an old computer that takes them, although I don't use that computer anymore. lol

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  6. I don't actually have a go back, but I do have a bag I put my stuff in to move it around as I don't have a dedicate space that is all mine for writing except my bedroom. Probably a good idea to put some thought into that. Great post and tips.

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    1. You never know when you may need it. The fact you have a bag to move your writing stuff around is a good start.

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  7. That's a great idea! There aren't usually reasons to evacuate around here, but if I had to get out quick, I would just grab my flash drive. That has pretty much everything important in regards to my writing on it.

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    1. That's good that you have everything on a flash drive. I wrote in a lot of notebooks when I was younger and would want to save those.

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  8. This is a great idea and I don’t have anything. Well, I do but I am not sure where my external drive holding all my pictures are never mind the boxes of old pictures I have. I would lose a lot.

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    1. Uh-oh. Hopefully you can find everything and put it in a safe place for easy access.

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  9. I triple back up everything digitally, so I can access my content anywhere. So long as the internet exists I can get to it again:) But an emergency pack never hurts:)

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    1. I backup everything that's digital, too, but I also have notebooks and folders, etc. Those aren't easily backed up. lol

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  10. I have everything backed up multiple ways digitally, so that's the closest I get to it. Hurricanes aren't a worry here in Michigan, so if we ever get one, I think writing will be the least of my worries because it probably means the end of the world.

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    1. I have many things that aren't digital that I'd want to keep safe, hence the backpack. Well, even in a blizzard it'd be nice to have an emergency pack. Any situation, not just a hurricane.

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  11. Hi Chrys - excellent idea ... I had everything organised when I came out here - the rest of the story is for another day!! However I can quite see living in Florida and elsewhere in many parts of North America I think I'd be that organised. Cheers Hilary

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    1. Maybe certain areas don't require as much precautionary measures as others.

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  12. All of my stuff irreplaceable creative stuff is in cloud storage. My first and foremost concern would be grabbing my kids, and probably grabbing a blanket and bear for each of them. We don't have many natural disasters here in Boise, ID. I think the worst threat so far has been bad air quality from surrounding fires.

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    1. That's good that everything creative is in cloud storage. I have many papers that I can't save digitally. I guess that's the good thing about modern technology. Unless technology goes away... *gasp* lol

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  13. I have a plastic tub with my journals (some are backed up on computer external hard drives, but I tend to mostly write my journals). I have more years of journals than you have had birthdays, so it takes a tub that is fairly large, like 18” x 24” x18 deep

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    1. See? I'm not the only one with journals/notebooks. There are certain things I like to write by hand, too. Like journals. And some stories I have notebooks for as well.

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  14. Great advice. I share your fear about fire... Anyhow, everything is backed up on several flash drives and external hard drives (I had a hard drive fail once and ever since I've made even more backups...). I have three binders with notes/notebooks on my table filled with what I'm currently working on and everything else is safely stored in a closet. I think I need a backpack...

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    1. A backpack would be good for those notes/notebooks. It would sure stick to lose all of that info.

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  15. I backup my writing daily on a flash drive and take it with me everywhere, just in case someone breaks in and steals my laptop, or in case of fire! I have a lot of paper notes and sketches I wouldn't want to lose though, so perhaps a backpack is a good idea :)

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    1. I also take my flash drive everywhere I go. A backup for those notes and sketches would come in handy in case you ever have to leave your house quickly.

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  16. The backpack is such a good idea. I've experienced a few natural disasters in my life (I lived in New York during Hurricane Sandy, and my hometown used to flood a lot in the summers, enough to get some national media attention if I recall), and so I like the idea of having everything precious and writing-related in one place. I think it'll also help me keep only the necessities; I journal a lot, and while I want to have all those keepsakes, I have a LOT of journals, and not everything in them is strictly necessary. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. You could store your journals in a plastic tub with a lid, maybe n a closet, and then put the necessities in a backpack. :)

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  17. I love your topic this month. I do have all my writing notebooks in one corner of the house. A special pretty cabinet near my working space. Happy Hop Day :)

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    1. A special, pretty cabinet for all writing notebooks would be a neat addition to a working space.

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  18. What a clever idea. Twere I in a fire, I would lose a lot of my writing notes but I still have much online, in the cloud. Where anyone can steal it.

    Sigh.

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    1. That is the risk with using a service online to store and backup files. :\

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  19. What a great topic. No, I haven't done this, but you've got my brain working on it. I'm definitely a big back-upper.

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    1. I'm glad I got you thinking on it. That's all that I care about. :)

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  20. I should be more aware of this, considering I live in an earthquake zone ...

    I never leave the house without a flash drive backup of the most important files on my hard drive, but I don't have anything more formal and your post reminds me I should. I should probably make the kids pack a backpack as well!

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    1. Eep. If someone lives in an earthquake zone, tornado alley, a place that gets yearly fires or threats of hurricanes, an backpack like this would definitely come in handy.

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  21. I do not. I leave scribbled notes in an organized pile then compile them into a Google doc for later use. it's all about capturing the idea and then organizing the thoughts so I can easily retrieve them at a later day.

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    1. Well, I have ways to easily retrieve my notes, too. But I have this backpack for the things I don't have digitally saved.

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  22. We were close to being evacuated by a forest fire last year, and my first thought was my dog. Then I went and got my neighbors dog (they weren't home). My husband grabbed our computers, phones and passports. A bit food and water, and we were ready. All my writing is on my computer, so that's all I needed to keep my books with me. I do keep backup of my writing online in case I lose what's on my computer.

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    1. That's good that you didn't have to worry about any writing stuff in paper form. I do a lot of writing off the computer. And I did a lot of hand-writing back in the day.

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  23. I don't now, but I think I will. Sounds like a great idea.

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  24. I faced evacuation in Kelowna when they had a flash fire that ripped through the area taking out houses and acres of trees. I hear what you're saying. I was so surprised that I only took things I couldn't lose like my dogs and pictures. It never occurred to bring clothes with me. It put me in a crazy head space. Anyway my house survived but many didn't.

    I'm saying, that keeping a knapsack by the back door is very smart. Inspired even. :-)

    Sorry I'm late.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Until you go through something like that, you never know how you'd react or what you'd grab. I'd, of course, get my cats and make sure my mom was good. Then I'd get my computers and my writing backpack. And hopefully a box of old notebooks.

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  25. I have a bug-out bag with survival things that I can grab, but I had never thought about grabbing anything with my writing notebooks. Interesting thought.

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    1. A bug-out bag. I've never heard of it called that before. I like it!

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  26. When I moved to Small Town a few years ago, the moving company I hired were scam artists who were several days late showing up and refused to answer the phone when I called them. I was afraid that they had stolen my stuff or were going to hold it hostage until I paid a bigger amount (they actually did that when they showed up to pick up my stuff, meaning they refused to put my stuff on the truck until I agreed to fork over my money). But what I was most upset about was the fact that there was a box full of my old journals and floppy disks of stories I'd written from years ago, which is why the next time I moved to a new place, I carried that stuff myself. (And I hired a much better, more trustworthy moving company.)

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    1. That's awful that you had to deal with those scam artists when you were moving. When I move, I put my computers and writing stuff in my car.

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  27. I hadn't considered keeping note books safe, but I do have an external drive I keep in a safe place. After my home was robbed a few years back, I too started keeping a "survial" bag handy. Until our insurance came through, all communication and entertainment happened either on our phones or my Kindle, because I had it with me. All our important stuff was backed-up on a cloud and that was a blessing. Now, I keep a backpack with my external drive, Nikon camera, a rarely used MS Notebook, and old Gameboy with games, and other wires, cords, and drives near my desk to be easily grabbed before heading down stairs.

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    1. Very smart to keep all of those electronics in a backpack to deter robbers.

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