Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, May 08, 2008

We're Backin' Up! *beep beep beep*

by Julie Coulter Bellon

When I went to boot up my computer on Monday morning, I had a horrible thing happen.


Nothing was there. My computer had completely crashed. I was looking at a screen with a cursor that was mocking me---it’s all gone, blink, blink, blink.

Of course, the first thing I did was call my computer genius husband. He came home and confirmed the diagnosis. He then fiddled with the computer, removed some stuff, and said he’d look at it from work. Of course, I was standing behind him, wringing my hands and worrying over my newest manuscript, my pictures, and everything else that was on that hard drive.

At first, the news was grim. It didn’t look like our computer had been backed up since February, but we knew we were backing it up so there had to be an error somewhere. But where? My mind immediately went to everything I’d worked on since February, including my new manuscript and the hours of research I’d done, and I was just sick that I may have lost it all. Thankfully, through the perseverance of my husband, he figured out the error and was finally able to recover everything. He spent most of last night restoring my computer to the way it had been, and here I am up and running again. I now have everything back and it is an enormous relief. But do you know why we ultimately have everything back, down to my internet bookmarks? Because we had a backup system.

Backup systems can save your sanity. I am so incredibly grateful we had a backup system. I had a perfect image of my entire computer and I could get everything back just how it was---my manuscript, my pictures, and everything else. If you are a writer, I highly suggest you invest in some sort of backup system so you never have to go through the emotional process of ever thinking that you may have lost your research and all your hard work on a manuscript.

Here are some suggestions for back up systems that are all fairly basic, but that you should be aware of. No matter which back up system you have or use, you should always make sure you are backing up regularly.

You could:

Buy an external drive like MyBook, and backup software like Norton Ghost

Have a firewire

Install a second internal hard drive or have a USB

Buy two external drives, then use one for back up and one for your data to empty stuff off your hard drive.

(If you do buy an external drive, get at least the same size or larger of what you already have on your computer because you need the room to do a backup.)

And just for peace of mind, I know some authors burn their work to a disk and update regularly as well as email their manuscripts to themselves and others so that there are copies out there.

I think the saying goes, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear,” and today, I hope as the muse hits you and the words are flowing onto your page, you will take a moment to back up your computer and/or your work. Then you will never have to face the nightmare of a blinking cursor mocking you that your future bestselling novel is now gone.

Blink, blink, blink.


At 5/08/2008 1:40 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

The same thing happened to me a few months ago. That sick feeling when you think you may have lost everything is terrible. Thank goodness for backups. I back up in several ways because I'm always afraid something will go wrong.

At 5/08/2008 3:21 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

It scared me just to read that. It is one of my worst fears.

We have a computer that serves as our file server - we back up everything on it, and my husband keeps ghost copies of both of our computers just in case.

That's one of the nice things about being married to an IT guy. Someone to take care of all sort of stuff. :)

At 5/08/2008 4:31 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

BTW, Firewire by itself is just a communications option, like USB. With most computers, you have to get a firewire card installed in order to be able to use a firewire-enabled device (like an external hard drive) - USB is typically already available. I looooove my 500G external (~$130) HD, although I should probably come up with a decent backup plan.

At 5/08/2008 4:36 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Sariah, it is so great to be married to a computer guy. :)

Jon, thank you for clarifying because I am not very familiar with firewire and couldn't explain it properly. So I'm glad you did!

Stephanie, I totally agree, thank goodness for backups!


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