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Better Safe Than Sorry


Ain't she a beauty? This is my Titanium case, 1.0 Gb, SanDisk Cruzer Flash Drive. Or as I affectionately call her, The Chip. The Chip has been with me for many years, five I think. While not as high-capacity as the newer drives you can buy these days (I saw a 128 GB for $28 on Amazon, with a cheap plastic case), she has served me well, more than worth her $69.99 price tag. For one thing, she's a tough old broad. That titanium case has bounced around a lot in my pocket, briefcase, or backpack as I walk to work every day, three miles both ways. We've logged 1,600 miles just since I got a FitBit in December 2014. That's year-round miles - my record low temp is walking one day when it was 8 degrees. Fahrenheit. She never complained about the cold or the heat in the summer.

Why does The Chip travel about with me so much? Because she's my backup. Stored in the depths of her semi-conductor memory are all my writing files for five full length novels. All four of the current Willow Brown novels and my latest project, The Next Reader, still in the rewrite process. (You can read more about that if you subscribe to my newsletter. See the contact page to signup if you haven't already.) Plus two short stories and a bunch of supporting files, like the Master Character List of every character in every book. Cover art files. Ebook files, paperback book files. And drafts, in-process versions of a novel that no one ever sees but me.

I backup my writing files every day, without fail. I didn't used to be quite as diligent, but then two things happened.

First, I read an article about a writer who was deep into her current project when she suffered a house fire while she was not at home. You guessed it, her computer was destroyed and so was all of her work, and she had no backup copies anywhere. Ouch.

Second, I totally screwed up once when writing Willow Brown, American Fairy. I wasn't quite so good about backing up on a regular basis back then. Like I would backup every month. Then one of those times when I did backup, I did it backwards - I copied the old file from The Chip to the computer, instead of vice versa, and lost a month's work. Yes, I had some choice words the next day when I figured out what I had done. Now I backup every day, and I'm careful about direction, though the worst case scenario now is losing a day's work. I can live with that.

The Chip leaves the house when I do. Or if I take my laptop, then she stays home instead. And just in case the house burned down and the laptop was stolen or destroyed while traveling, I keep a third copy of everything at an undisclosed location.

Just to be sure.