tech tips for writers

Tech Tip for Writers #109: The Five Second Back-up

Tech Tips for Writers is an (almost) weekly post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: I’m paranoid of losing lesson plans, report card comments, and other school work. I back up, but is that enough?

A: Truth, I am the most paranoid person I know about technology. I have an external hard drive for back up, Carbonite in the cloud, a 512-gig flash drive for my ‘important’ stuff (which turns out to be everything), and still I worry.

Here’s what else I do: Every time I work on a document I just can’t afford to lose (again, that’s pretty much everything), I email it to myself. If you’re using MS Office, that’s a snap. Other programs–just drag and drop the file into the email message. I set up a file on my email program called ‘Backups’. I store the email in there and it waits until I’m tearing my hair out. I’ve never had to go there, but it feels good knowing it’s available.

There are some documents that are too large to email. Those I add as an attachment to an email and save it to the ‘Drafts’ folder. It isn’t sent out so doesn’t get bounced due to size limits and still is saved for an emergency.

How do you back up your work?

More tech tips for writers:

Auto-add a Period, Caps Lock, and More on an IPad

8 Digital Tools for Writing

10 Bits of Wisdom I Learned From a Computer

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

40 thoughts on “Tech Tip for Writers #109: The Five Second Back-up

  1. E-mail may not be 100% on point if you access the document on another device and all you get is @$fdufh%^$#&@* when you open it. If you’re going to e-mail your work to yourself I was also told to save it as a rtf document. doc. and docx. won’t open on computers that don’t have microsoft so say you e-mail it to yourself and can’t open it! Yikes! I was always told to back up in multiple places (your own computer, USB flash drive, dropbox, whatever).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess I don’t have the fear for some reason. I used OneDrive and Google Drive. That’s it. If the document is especially important to me, I print it. However, something like that would have to directly involve money or the law.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. E-mailing your MS to yourself or other important documents sounds terrific. I have a question. What if you have documents you keep adding to. Do you save those and delete the ones before?
    I have an external drive and OneDrive. Don’t backup to external drive on a regular basis though. Keep saying I will…o_O

    Liked by 1 person

  4. On the MAC, I am using Time Machine to back up everything to a USB drive. For very important docs, I do the ‘gmail’ back up thing like you mentioned, email it to my gmail account. I also recently starting use Google’s, “Google Drive.” for in the cloud backup of things. Haven’t decided yet if I like this enough to recommend. I’ve used Google docs a few times, but haven’t like that enough to recommend as it can be slow and you need to be connected to the internet (which I am not always connected to).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Google Drive is OK–though slow–for back-ups, but the space is limited. My non-fic books are up to 100MB each (which amazingly compresses to under 10MP as a PDF) so the upload is slow and there’s no hope of editing because Google Docs has a max page limit. In Gmail (or Outlook), I simply attach the file and save the email as a draft. Pretty quick.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wasn’t so careful with saving before but now use the time machine on the iMac (yep, I check it’s actually on and working!) and email work to myself as well. Good hint for putting larger unsendable documents in drafts – many thanks for that idea, Jacqui.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What a jolly good idea of emailing docs to self, and having a back up file expressly for that purpose, those docs that are so NB thanks Jacqui! Re: my own method? I don’t really have one … I just hope that the Cloud will find if and when necessary .. and my son when whatever hits the fan …

    Liked by 1 person

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