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How many backups do you have?

Whether it’s a book you’re writing or an essay or a dissertation, chances are you don’t want to lose everything you’ve done to date (just imagine the horror!). Working in a university library I’ve seen far too many students who have lost all their progress because they don’t save their work regularly and when they do, they only save it in one place.

Losing all your progress is painful, stressful and immensely demotivating to put it mildly. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being in that position you’ll know what I mean. If you’ve never been in that position, consider everything you’ve written so far and then imagine losing all of it without a chance in hell of getting it back. That’s not a hole you want to dig for yourself.

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Don’t let this be you.

When you write something –anything-, no matter what it is, you want to have backups. One at the very least so that you’ll always have your work saved somewhere, even if you lose the copy saved to your desktop. I currently have my draft saved to the desktop, and have additional copies on two memory sticks – one of which I regularly take with me when I go somewhere, just in case the house burns down while I’m out (I’m paranoid that way). That makes for three copies in total! If I was to lose all of those at the same time now I’d probably take that as a hint from the universe that this book shouldn’t be published.

Losing all your progress is not a nice feeling, so be sensible, avoid disaster, and back up your work.

How many backups do you have? Have you ever lost all of your work – be it an essay, a draft for a book, a dissertation or something else – and couldn’t recover what you’d lost? Please feel free to share your experience below. And please, don’t hold back, we want people to be scared of this possibility.


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Published inA Writer's MusingsUncategorized


  1. I only save to my laptop and to a USB stick. I really should back-up my back-up… (I might do that now whilst you’ve instilled paranoia in me haha)

    I have had a laptop die on me, and lots of my daughter’s baby pictures on it. I was lucky that a technician was able to save them for me, but at a price. I now back-up all pictures onto disks to avoid that terrifying situation.

    • Two saves is still better than just the one. At least if your laptop now was to die again you’d still have everything backed up and wouldn’t have to pay a technician for it. That does sound pricey, and having backups saves you that trouble and money.

      I’m glad he could recover your daughter’s baby pictures – what a worrying moment that must have been! Pictures like that are definitely not something you’d want to lose!

  2. I recently lost something I’d written and was about to post when I started having troubles with my laptop getting a case of ‘corrupted hard drive.’ Once I wiped my laptop and got it back up to speed, I realized that I never backed up that piece. So I rewrote the piece and posted it. Thankfully, it wasn’t much of a loss, not like a whole novel or anything like that.

    Speaking of which, I have my novel stuff — for the entire trilogy — saved on my laptop, an external hard drive, and on my phone. Yes, I use my phone as a backup since it’s always with me. However, I’m going to buy another flash drive (I keep giving them away. Haha.) so I can back it up there as well.

    • Using your phone as a backup sounds like a good idea – as you said, it’s always with you! I’ve been wondering about getting another USB as well so I’d have it saved in four places rather than just three, but there’s a voice in my head saying that three really should be plenty!

      I’m glad to hear you didn’t lose much when you wiped your laptop 🙂

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