For writers and readers alike, I have one piece of advice on this lovely fall morning: never underestimate the importance of backing up your files. Put up your hand if you or someone you know has lost any amount of work due to computer malfunctions (if you actually put up your hand, you are amazing, and make sure to let me know via message).

If you are one of the lucky few who has thus far avoided such catastrophe let me tell you that even though technology has developed tremendously and we are all connected to some cloud or other, computer failure can still happen. Maybe I am paranoid, or maybe I am not emotionally equipped to deal with the fear that one day my hard work may simply vanish, so my system is to back up on two separate hard drives that I keep in two different locations (in case of catastrophe!). I also have my writing on Dropbox (if you’ve never heard of this site before, it’s a free online storage facility for files; you can of course pay for extra storage and other bells and whistles, but it works just fine without), which I could be more diligent about backing up.

I have friends who will continuously email themselves copies of their manuscript after writing sessions. I find this method is a little messy, so I seldom use email, unless I need to send myself a snippet to work on from a different device, or in the absence of WiFi. I also have found these days that EVERNOTE is a very good alternative to this; although I can’t store an entire manuscript on it (I have Dropbox for that), I can write excerpts, notes, save website content I find while doing research, and even take photos of hand written notes, which will be converted to searchable text! If you haven’t checked this software out, I recommend it (the free version is great with the main restriction of space, but you will have plenty to get started). Another bonus to using EVERNOTE versus email is that is allows you to organize the files you keep in it by project, file type and date, which makes it very tidy (I love that!).

Another upside to computer-breakdown-paranoia? Your works is much more portable when you have it on multiple storage devices including on online one. Now there is no excuse not to write, even when you’re on the road.

Happy Monday and happy writing to all!

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