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Friday, December 23

When Was the Last Time You Backed Up Your Writing?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week's Refresher Friday is a reminder that as the year comes to an end, it's a good idea to backup and save all the work we did.

It's that time of year again, when many of us are carting our laptops around and writing in strange places--be it for NaNo Write Ins, or traveling to see family over the holidays, or sneaking out of the house while family is visiting to get some work done.

With all this mobilizing, the odds of a backpack slipping off a shoulder or chair and breaking something go way up. All it takes is one unexpected moment for damage to befall that computer we love so much. If that damage prevents us from retrieving thousands of words of our writing...oh, the horror.

If you don't have a reliable backup system in place, take a few minutes today to set something up to protect your work. There are plenty of free online options (I'm a big fan of Dropbox), but even a USB drive that you copy files over to after each session can save your writing if the worst happens.

(Here's more on why failure to backup your work is the single biggest mistake writers make)

It's also not a bad idea to swap copies of your work with a writing buddy via email a few times a year. That way, there's a copy of your work offsite in case of disaster. This is especially handy for older work we don't always back up regularly. Sure, maybe you haven't touched that novel in over a year, but it would probably break your heart to lose it.

Here's a more detail discussion of backups and potential options. If you have options you like, please share in the comments.

Looking for tips on planning, writing, or revising your novel? Check out one of my books on writing:  Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a self-guided workshop for planning or revising a novel, the companion Planning Your Novel Workbook, Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft, your step-by-step guide to revising a novel, and the first book in my Skill Builders Series, Understanding Show Don't Tell (And Really Getting It).


A long-time fantasy reader, Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her novels include The Shifter, Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The Shifter, was chosen for the 2014 list of "Ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read" from the Georgia Center for the Book. It was also shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, and The Truman Award in 2011.

Janice is also the founder of Fiction University, a site dedicated to helping writers improve their craft. Her popular Foundations of Fiction series includes Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a self-guided workshop for planning or revising a novel, the companion Planning Your Novel Workbook, Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft, your step-by-step guide to revising a novel, and the first book in her Skill Builders Series, Understanding Show Don't Tell (And Really Getting It).  

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