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Do You Have Backup for Your Writing?

ID-100289399Policemen have backup. So do quarterbacks, astronauts, and lead actors. OK, so a writer’s need for backup is not as serious as for policemen and astronauts. But, we do need to protect our life’s work from a computer crash, lightning strike, or just plain “operator failure.”

Accept the fact that you should backup early and often no matter whether your project is large or small. There are a number of backup options. I’ll share methods I have used and my recent research on the options.

“Local” Backup

  • Save your work on a CD or flash drive. Periodically, make a backup of all your work using as many CDs or drives as you need. Store the CDs or flash drives (a.k.a. jump drive) outside your home in a safe place such as bank safety deposit box. For temporary backups, keep a flash drive in your computer at all times. At the end of the day back up your new work to the drive and remove it from the computer.
  • Back up to an external hard drive. This is a more expensive option, but you can get more storage space on external drives. Check out recommended options here. You can leave your external drive attached to the computer so that it backs up automatically. Or, you can attach the external drive once a week or so to update your backup. I prefer to store the external hard-drive off-site, if possible. If I leave home for several days, I ask a friend to keep my external hard drive because I don’t want my computer and my backup in the same location. If I take my computer with me, I leave the hard drive at home.

Online (Remote) Backup

  • Check out free online backup options. Some offer a small amount of storage free and allow you to upgrade to paid version when you need it. Others offer a free trial period before you have to pay.
    • Free with security software: My security software, Norton 360, offers some free storage with subscription. I do not use it because it does not offer as much storage as I need. If I’m going to pay for a service, I want it to be separate from my security software.
    • Free with Apple, Google or Micrsoft account: Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive offer some free storage. For Apple users, there’s iCloud. I use the Google service, because it comes with my Gmail account, but not for backup. I use it for sharing files with others. I am currently avoiding Microsoft services because they are annoying me about upgrading to Windows 10.
    • Free up to a point: I use The free account offers 2 GB of storage. Go beyond that limit, and you pay. But, you can earn additional free storage by referring others. If you are interested in trying Dropbox, please email at akinemily(at) and give me your email address. I can get extra Dropbox storage by referring you as a new customer for a free account.
  • Paid backup options. You can spend as much as you want on this. I don’t have any personal experience with the following, but they are used or recommended by others.
    • Carbonite – personal or business plan.
    • Mozy – home or business plans.
    • iDrivePC Mag recommends this one.

I prefer online backup because it’s more convenient. With Dropbox, the backup is automatic. I can access Dropbox from mobile devices if I install the app. If the house burns down, your data is safe. Once you’ve backed up to CD, memory stick, or hard drive, you have the immediate problem of where to store it. It’s just not convenient to regularly transport your backup to an off-site location.

More Backup Information

I welcome comments on this post from writers who use these methods or other methods that are not mentioned. If you get this post by email, please click on the title of the post to go to my site. Scroll down to Leave a Reply and comment there.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


2 Responses to Do You Have Backup for Your Writing?

  1. Crickett Keeth May 21, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    Emily, great post! I use both Dropbox and Carbonite to back up my blog. I just feel better knowing that everything’s in the cloud and I can access anywhere and anytime. This post is a great reminder to make sure we do backup our material. Thanks!

  2. Emily Akin May 21, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

    Thanks, Crickett. I have a plugin called UpDraft Backup/Restore that backs up my website/blog. I still export the posts every now and then and save them to the external hard drive.

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