You Owe It To Yourself & Your Writing Clients To Be Backed Up

by LoriAnne

dead computerLast week I suddenly wasn’t able to send email. My host fixed the problem when I called but I was never sure exactly when it happened or what emails didn’t actually go out.

This morning I got word from a client that four of the 13 articles I’d written for them had not been received – more than a bit embarrassing since I’d already been paid.

Sighing, I went first to my sent mail and found two of the articles attached to email to the client. I simply resent those, suspecting they had gotten caught when my email was down.

One of the other emails I’d obviously sent without attaching the article, (yes, not attaching happens to everyone) and the fourth title was mysteriously missing.

I asked my computer to find the two missing articles I knew I had written with no results – I even tweaked the titles, but got nothing. Then I remembered with this client I actually save the articles to my desktop and when payment arrives delete them. Did I mention I’d had only about a quarter of a cup of coffee at this point?

Automatic off-site backup to the resuce

With the next gulp of my home-made cappuccino, I remembered that I have Carbonite (that’s an affiliate link). I found it in my system tray, clicked on it, entered partial file names one at a time since I’ve never used the restore function, clicked restore and voila, my files were restored to me and the program even told me where to find them. In short order both were off to the client with apologies. Total time from an almost panic reading the email to sending the final missing one – 20 minutes, and if after not finding the two missing ones and gone right to Carbonite, it would have been more like content for writers

Leo Laporte, aka The Tech Guy whose radio show I’ve listened too off and on for years says if you’re not backed up off site you’re not backed up. He promotes Carbonite which is how I found it, but there are other offsite backup solutions. Even free ones – Gizmos offers a guide to them that is fairly techy but usable.

We need offsite backup in case the tornado, earthquake, theft of the computer – whatever destroys whatever backup system we have at home. With a good offsite backup system you can access your files from anywhere from any computer.

Backup simply has to be automatic

LaPorte also makes the point that your backup needs to be automatic. It needs to happen without any help from me, and Carbonite does that. The first time I loaded it it took over night to copy everything, but it never interrupted my work once. Ever since the only thing I’ve had to do is pay the $60 every year – and I know whatever I need is there when I need it. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve failed to back up even thought I truly know better. Automatic backup is just what I need and you need it too.

I don’t care how good you are about backing up your computer on a regular basis – if you’re not doing it daily, and even multiple times a day as the best of the auto backup programs will do, you’re not really backed up.

If you can afford it, buy an auto-backup that’s got an excellent reputation which gives you support. It’s tax deductible and this isn’t a place to be cheap. If you must use a free one, make sure it does what you want and is encrypted.

However you do it, make sure you’ve get backed up automatically offsite.

How are you backed up?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl Bryan October 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I signed on with Carbonite last year. I have yet to use it to restore files — glad to hear it’s fairly simple. I enjoy seeing those little green lights and to know it’s been working for me.

I don’t think you can afford NOT to have an offsite backup. When you consider all the time it would take to re-do work you’ve done already — or to pay someone to extract files from a crashed hard drive, it’s a pretty cheap insurance policy.

Cathy Miller October 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Because of your recommendation, Anne, I have Carbonite as well (and an external Hard Drive I use as well). :-)

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