So You Are a Writer, Right?

Filed in Writing Tips and Techniques by on July 20, 2013

I don’t care what sort of writer you are: author of books, scriptwriter, journalist, columnist or blogger. You write.

The question is do you backup your work?

My day job, for those who don’t already know, is in the field of IT – Information Technology to the uninitiated.

Let me tell you what happened to me a few weeks ago. I was happily working on my work laptop at home when out of the blue I was invited there was an attempt to blackmail me to “activate” a virus masquerading as a legitimate anti-malware.

It looked a little like this, but didn’t get this far on my machine.


FAKE anti-malware

The kicker of some of these is you can no longer use your machine – AT ALL even if you refuse to activate.

The situation became more complicated, co-incidentally or not, when the IT hardware gurus couldn’t boot the machine up at all the next morning – the hard drive had crashed Dead As A Dodo.

There are many issues that can cause you to lose your work. Malware, hard drive crashes, your kids spill Coca-Cola on the machine or Overclock the CPU and fry the internals. Really, it doesn’t matter HOW it happens, just that it happens. Your work is…………………….GONE!

English: A USB hard drive. This is made by Western Digital and uses a mini B USB connection for both power and data transfer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The longer you go without losing any work, the higher the probability becomes that you will lose some someday. A little insurance goes a long way.

This article is not about HOW to back up, as the options are many these days. Maybe your computer manufacturer offers a backup in the cloud option. There are external drives, USB sticks, other computers – the list is endless. The various blogging platforms have various different backup or export functions. I could write many, many specific articles. This article is to raise writers’ awareness of the probability of losing work and suggesting appropriate actions be taken that suit the circumstances.

The manuscripts of my books are in four places, just in case. On my home computer, my work laptop, an external drive and a USB stick.

If you are an author, imagine you are on the last page of your tenth edit pass of your first best-seller and your computer suddenly ….. dies. Gone! Finished! What would you do?

English: A Sandisk-brand USB thumb drive, SanDisk Cruzer Micro, 4GB. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A Sandisk-brand USB thumb drive, SanDisk Cruzer Micro, 4GB. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You are contracted to write a regular column for The Age or The Hoopla – deadline is approaching. You’ve been researching for a week. Your computer dies one hour before submission. Are you happy? I’m guessing not!

Storage is cheap these days. Do yourself a favour and at the very least pop down to the local electronics store and invest in an external drive. Come back and copy those vital files.

Do it now!

If you have a horror story to tell of lost data, please share in the comments for everyone!

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Robyn Oyeniyi

About the Author ()

Robyn Oyeniyi has recently self-published her memoir LOVE VERSUS GOLIATH, detailing her battle with the Australian government to be allowed to have her husband and step-children join her in Australia. A complete novice in the world of publishing, Robyn has successfully published both the eBook and paperback versions and her book has been catalogued by the school library service in Australia. Robyn is a guest speaker at professional development seminars for migration agents and her book is spoken about at various seminars. Robyn shares her self-publishing journey on her website


  1. Dalia Woodliff says:

    You have to back your work – horror of horrors if you don’t – I have my ‘stick’ and take it with me on vacation.

  2. Tracy Ingham says:

    Three separate USB drives. I keep one in the car, one in my pocket and one in the house. You can never regain a lost manuscript.