Writing and Publishing

Don’t Go Forward Until You Backup

I’m a fanatic about backing up my writing.

  • Each time I take a break, I make a backup copy.
  • Each time I finish working on a piece for the day, I make a backup copy on my local hard drive and a backup copy on a networked computer. Both those computers automatically backup to file cloud-based storage services (one to Carbonite and the other to Dropbox). At this point, I have five current versions of my work, saved in four places.
  • As an added precaution, once a week I backup all my files to an external hard drive, where I keep historic versions until I run out of space. Presently, I can go back as far as thirty months.
  • On those occasions when I work remotely, I save a copy on my laptop, which also backs up to the cloud. I put another copy on a thumb drive. Then I email the file to my Gmail account. Of course, once I return home, the file is added to my desktop computer, where it’s subjected to my normal backup procedures.

I never want to lose my work, and my backup compulsions prove that.

I feel the same way about backing up my blogs and posts. First, it would be overwhelming to recreate an entire blog if something happened to it. Second, every post I write is with an eye towards future reuse, be it in a book compilation, an anthology, another blog site, or turned into an article.

Here, then, is my backup process for my blogs and posts:

  • A copy of each post is automatically emailed to me when it’s posted. I keep the email for one year.
  • I also maintain a text copy of the post on my computer, where I add it to a Word document, which is a chronological record of every post for that blog for the year. This document is also backed up to cloud-based storage and my external hard drive.
  • Before I make a change to my blog or do a WordPress or widget update, I export all my posts, pages, and comments just in case something goes wrong.
  • I automatically make a weekly backup of the entire blog, which is stored off-site.
  • My hosting company makes periodic copies of the blog database. Though I can’t access these files, they can if needed—and once they needed to.
  • Once a month I make a manual copy of the entire database to save on my host’s system and another that I save on my desktop, which is then backed up to the cloud and to external hard drive.

While you may think my backup fanaticism is foolish, I think it’s even more foolish to not do any backups. Pick a backup method that works for you, and then follow it faithfully. Start today.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.

By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.