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Backup! Backup!

I recently had a reader get in touch with me, about one of my older stories. This person told me the site was removing some stories, and I should back mine up to another source, if I hadn’t done so already. I know the intent was conscientious and concerned…but I was a little offended by that, at first.

I haven’t come so far as a writer, not to know to back my s–t up! That was one of the earliest (hard) lessons I ever learned: losing a story I’d been working on because I had only one copy, and that copy was gone forever when the binder in which it resided was stolen. (Actually, my whole bag was stolen, along with a $125 textbook…but it was the loss of that story I mourned the most.)

Since that time, I’ve always kept backups of my work. In fact, these days, I keep two, three, sometimes even four working backups!

I work mostly on computer (when I do work in longhand, I transcribe during my downtime). I’ve got two of them: one that sits at my writing place at home, and one that’s used mostly for my day job, but that I write with during my commute. Every morning, the working draft (and scrap documents) get uploaded to my server from my home machine. Those are downloaded to my work machine, for the work day. When I’m about to leave work, I upload the latest documents to the server again; if I work on the story during the commute home, the documents simply get uploaded again. Then, once I’m home, I download those documents to my home computer, where I’ll work some more. In between this schedule, I backup all of my documents – both the working ones and the support ones (research, interviews, character sketches, floorplans, clothes pictures, et alia) – to my flash drive about every week or two. And, if that’s not enough, I do regular backups of several of my folders to another large portable hard drive that sits on my desk.

I can’t 100% guarantee I’ll always be able to have the latest version of my ms at my fingertips…but I won’t risk losing days’ or weeks’ or even months’ worth of progress. Not on something so important to me.

What is your backup routine? (And don’t dare tell me you don’t have one! Backups are cheap!)