Most writers have lost work one way or another. Physical manuscripts, computers, backup systems and many components of our tools are vulnerable to damage, theft and loss. Many, although not all, manuscript mishaps are preventable.
I seem to have lost the physical first draft of my in-progress Gothic horror novella. Not a dead loss, as I have it on my laptop and backed up, yet I dictated most of it in Dragon and it’s going to be tedious to make corrections without the original manuscript.
That loss — and recent posts on forums from writers who lost works in progress due to computer issues — moved me to jot out a few methods I use to reduce the risk of losing work on the computer.
Draft Protection for Writers
I got in the habit of emailing drafts to myself immediately because my last flash drive became corrupted. It’s a fast way to keep copies of my work archived and accessible from all systems. After reading about a cloud service that accesses users files, I opted not to go that route. Email servers do that, too. Since I’ll be emailing most of my fiction at some point anyway, I’ve decided to live with it. For works in progress, I email every scene.
I set Jarte to save every minute. Jarte is excellent free tabbed wordprocessing software built on Notepad. It’s great for working on multiple projects without losing anything. The main thing for saving your writing with Jarte is to set up the autosave and name each file immediately. If you open a new tab and start writing, you could lose your copy because the autosave only kicks in when the file has a name.
Most word processing software allows you to autosave at chosen intervals.
Scrivener, my favorite new writing tool, also does frequent backups to avoid writer’s regret/cursing/laptop destruction.
Resurrect All Text Fields in Firefox
I use Firefox for everything I compose online with an add-on called Lazarus that resurrects copy in case of mishap. It has saved me a lot of money over the past few years. It even recovers blog posts, anything you enter in a text field.
I’ve tried a couple of the text savers available for Opera, yet nothing works as well and consistently as Lazarus.
Protect Your Writing on Your Computer:
Always use autosave.
Use textsavers when you compose online.
Backup your files frequently. Always make more than one copy of your work.
Keep your backups in a separate location from your device.
BTW, I have no relationship, financial or otherwise, to any of these tools. This is only for sharing information. I didn’t want to buy Word, and once I found Jarte, I found the tabs so handy for research and writing, I haven’t looked back. A couple of times I’ve used the latest trial versions of Word and I’m turned off by the cluttered interface.
May you refrain from losing any writing, and if you do have a mishap, I wish you a full resurrection.