Monday, December 15, 2014

Back It Up

I wrote this post back in the summertime. Hope it’s helpful!

I used to refer to my laptop as ever faithful, but recently my ever-faithful laptop made a liar out of me.

I was in the middle of working on a printing project and got a little distracted. I stepped away for a minute and when I came back to finish working, my ever faithful fell asleep.

I went to wake it up, but nothing. Dead asleep. I held down the power button and still nothing. Nada. Totally knocked out.

Not good.

I swallowed hard, dismissing the thought today may very well be the last day I see my ever faithful power up.

I took a deep breath and thought about how it survived two drownings and then some. Yes, two. 

I thought for sure she had at least seven more lives left. At least.

My mischievous little son who was a toddler at the time, drowned my ever faithful with a water house in the backyard. 

But miraculously, despite the drench, she revved up back to life.

*NEVER trust a toddler with a hose no matter how far away they are*

A few years later, my son knocked over a glass of water and again, drowned my poor baby.

But she never let me down.

Not until now.

Long story short. We tried everything. Powering it down by holding the power button for minutes at a time — taking out the battery, etc. Anything and everything you can think of.

So why am I sharing this all to you?

Because even though I lost my baby, even though I lived through a writer's worst nightmare, a glimpse of light still glowed through that dark tunnel.

Two words: Back Up.
No excuses.

Okay, four words. Four REALLY important words.

I feared this day from the first day I started writing. And because of my fears I made certain to back up my work everywhere possible.

I'd email myself the latest copy of each of my novels.

I'd then upload them to the free version of Dropbox.

Then I'd save them to an external hard drive.

And lastly, I always made certain I renewed CrashPlan (a paid cloud storage).

This all kept me from losing all my stuff, but it was still a HUGE nightmare to get everything straightened out.

The most important thing is to get a cloud storage back up because no matter what, it's never any fun to lose important documents and precious pictures.

Along with all the things I've done above, here are a few things I wished I would have taken care of as well:

Bookmarks- I lost mine. All of them. It's best to import them while you can and make note of your favorite sites.

Pictures- Make sure you are saving them in a cloud storage and external hard drive or even a flash drive as well for more added confidence.

I did transfer everything to a flash drive years ago, but I am still not certain if I have all my pics. Having everything organized regularly will definitely help with reassurance.

Organize, organize, organize, and make 100% certain you are backing up everything you can't live without.

I completely lost ALL my playlists. Every one of them. It still hurts thinking about it. All those years creating lists after lists and now they're gone.

One way to protect your playlists is to purchase Match and sync to your other devices. An iCloud also can keep it in tact. I have no idea what happened, but hope it doesn't happen to you.

Last year, I took the time to burn some of my playlists on CDs just in case, but I didn't burn all of them. You can also create screen shots and place them in folders for secure keeping. At least then you will know the order of the songs.

Sticky Notes
Keep a copy of all treasured notes as well. I had some To Do Stickies that I kept with important links and they are all gone as well.

External Hard Drive
When I transferred my files from my online storage cloud, all my files merged together. A few things I could’ve done here that would’ve made life a little more bearable:

#1, I could’ve taken the time to make folders in my external hard drive and sort ALL my files. ALL files not just some. It’s a nightmare when everything merges together.

And please be sure to update files with proper titles.

Do not use the same characters.

Years and years ago, I’d capitalize the title and add hyphens for an easy search. i.e. ---My Awesome Novel---

My best advice for this technique? PLEASE drop the hyphens (or any similar distinct text) and lowercase the title before moving to a folder.

Only have your CURRENT work with distinct text such as the hyphens and keep the current title uppercased. Otherwise if your PC crashes like mine did and all the files go into one place you won't be left trying to figure out which is the newest version. I’d search for hyphens and come up with old several old drafts. I hadn’t realized I never changed it.

*Nightmare alert*

And yes, there's a way to look up Properties but trust me, it's much less complex to just keep it all 100% organized.

So take the time and clean up.

Delete stuff you don't need and rename files as needed.

Don’t be a rat pack. Yes, I'm talking to you, Hoarders.:D

PLEASE, PLEASE whatever you do BACK IT UP!!!


Stina Lindenblatt said...

I email my writing stuff to myself and I'm really bad about saving my photos to disks. I had an external drive and it failed 8 months after buying it. The replacement one never worked. So I don't trust them anymore. I don't have the cloud or whatever it is. I don't trust those either after the recent privacy issues.

Great reminder, Mart, that things can go wrong and you can lose all your valuable files. I need to go save some stuff.

Daryl Devore said...

Good idea to remind authors to back it up.

Susanne Drazic said...

Great tips, Mart!

Lillian Walker said...

We put so much trust into our devices that we forget that they are not indestructible. Your post about how important it is to backup your files will help a lot of bloggers know just how troublesome losing files can be. Once a laptop dies, everything dies with it. That is why external hard drives are handy. Thank you so much for sharing that, Martha! All the best to you!

Lillian Walker @ TaylorWorks

Lisa Gail Green said...

Wow. First of all - I have a mischievous toddler so I can relate. Ahem. This post was a great wake up call with good suggestions for back ups because I hate to admit it, but I'm TERRIBLE at actually following through with backing up. You may have actually scared me straight! YIKES. :D Thank you and glad I found your blog!!

Martha Ramirez said...

@Stina. Oh, no :( Sorry to hear it failed! That is horrible.

@Daryl and @Susanne Thank you so much!

@Lilian All the best to you too!

@Lisa I'm so glad this post resonated with you. I'd hate for you to lose your work or photos. It's heartbreaking! BTW Love you bio! So witty!!

I appreciate you all taking the time to visit and leave comment!