Back It Up

I’m updating my writing software right now. I work with WriteWay, which has been a great tool for me for the last three years. I keep getting options to update the program, but today is the first time I’m trying because it requires me to uninstall and then reinstall the program and (a) I don’t entirely trust my registration key to automatically transfer, and who knows where I saved that information when I bought the program? and (b) are they NUTS? They want me to trust that the reinstallation won’t completely mess with my book files?

The update probably needs doing, however, so I’m backing up my files and hoping that I won’t end up wasting my entire writing time this morning restoring them, which means that now might be a decent point in time to talk backups.

The Gmail Approach

I have typically used the handy-dandy “email it to myself” route. I use Google Apps, so I enjoy the massive storage capacity and excellent searchability of having backups in my email. I try to name the files consistently (ish) to include the book title, the fact that the version is a backup and a draft, and a date. I have folders as well because I don’t really trust my memory of dates, so it’s easier to stick everything all in once place for quick reference.

There are some problems with this approach, namely: I’m a spaz, and I ignore my own system more often than not, so FINDING the backups and figuring out which one I need is likely to be a problem for me if I ever actually need to restore something from a backup. I’m also starting to think more about ideal ways to share documents with potential readers, and email isn’t always it.

The Box Approach

One of the services I’ve been introduced to through my regular work is Box.com, which is a real gem for the transfer of large files and a complete honey for version control. Yes, you can use Google Drive to do the same thing, but little secret? Box’s organization system for shared documents is less of a pain in the ass. You get 10 GB for free on a personal account, which I doubt I could ever fill even with multiple versions of all the text files I could generate if I live to be a prolific old writer up to the age of 150.

Also, it gives you the option to share the document via a link with people or to give other people (say, an editor who wants to share notes) the option to upload a new version of a specific file. And it’s an ideal place for dealing with cover art files. I doubt my own need for such complexity at this point, but hope springs eternal.

What about you? How do you back your work up?

p.s. The WriteWay update seems to have worked, registration key and book files in place with no hassle! *Wipes sweat from brow in profound relief.*

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