Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Insecure Writer's Support Group is exactly as the name says. Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosted by Sheena-kay Graham, Suzanne Furness and Laura Eno this month, writers come together every month to share their insecurities and support each other. 

Today, though, I want to remind you about an aspect to writing about which we all should be insecure. 

What happens if someone steals my computer? Or my house burns down. Or my computer over-heats and melts all the inner workings. Or a meteor falls out of the sky and destroys my book? Am I really safe? Really? 

The reason why I'm asking is that someone broke into my house this morning. They only went as far as the office, but stole every single laptop in it. 

Before I went to sleep last night, I'd thought about leaving mine there too. Luckily, I decided to get some late night blogging in and took it to my room. 

Because NONE of my edit rounds since signing that contract have been backed up. Not. One. I would have had to start again. 

So the smallest of mercies saved me the trouble, but I should have been prepared for that eventuality. 

This morning, I bought myself 100GB on Dropbox so I can back everything up remotely. And I really want to make a point of regularly backing up my whole computer. 

But since I know that we kind of forget those resolutions later, I want to ask you. 



  1. I used to have an external hard drive, but it died. Now I email my ms to myself (because a melted external hard drive won't do me any good). I'm screwed, though, if something happens to my computer. I'm behind on backing up my photos.

    Sorry about the break in!

  2. I'm sorry someone broke in and stole your computers!!
    I back up my work on several computers, thumb drives, and two external hard drives. And any manuscript I'm working on is also printed out.

  3. So sorry to hear about the break in! I can't imagine how upsetting that would be.

    I recently learned a hard lesson about back-ups and have now started using Dropbox too. Good advice for sure.

  4. OMGosh! Glad you're okay. Sorry about your computers and anything else they took.

    I'm like Stina. Had an external. It died. I have security on my computer that backs docs and photos up, but I still feel insecure.

  5. Absolutely wonderful post and I feel your pain. I lost a portion of a novel--not through theft, but it's very hard to start over from scratch. And I did have a friend who's laptop was stolen from her truck. Dropbox is great!

    Being in Oklahoma, I spent about two hours in the closet Friday night. Three laptops were with me and my jump drive was in my pocket. We absolutely HAVE to be aware of the dangers out there: hackers, crashes, fire, theft, tornadoes and hurricanes. Even sink holes and earthquakes and landslides.

    Your warning should be splattered everywhere! Thanks for sharing.

  6. This is a concern of mine, since I've had lifelong pyrophobia. It's even worse for my handwritten books that haven't been transcribed and edited yet. I'd need a fireproof safe or file cabinet for them. I've finally got a flash drive, along with earlier drafts being on old disks (accessible through my external disk drive and a bit of hoop-jumping to convert and reformat them). Right now I don't have a Dropbox account, but that's something to look into.

  7. Oh my goodness! I'm glad to hear the burglars only stole your laptops and no one was hurt. I'm so sorry your home was broken into :( I hope the burglars get caught. Meanwhile, back up your edits!!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  8. I email myself.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  9. I tend to email my stuff to myself, but not very often! I need to back my stuff up more, because my computer is quite old and could die at any minute.

  10. Holy Krakatoa, how scary! And yeah, I have a pile of dead laptops in my office to prove that the life expectancy of a laptop isn't what it ought to be (I even caught one on fire! I'm special that way). I've got a Dropbox, but I've been thinking of getting another service that just backs up my harddrive every night. It's cost is based on how much memory you have, but I'm definitely going to put the whole computer onto a portable (time to buy another external hard drive).

    I'm so glad you didn't lose your edits! That would have been horrible!

  11. Gosh, I feel bad for you about the burglary. I am glad you didn't lose the edits. I need to back up more, thanks for the reminder.

  12. Oh my gosh! So sorry to hear about this Misha. I'm just glad you were safe--and that you had your most important laptop with you! Thanks for this reminder.

  13. How many laptops do you have? Did you have?
    And that just really sucks. Having your stuff stolen is its own type of violation.

    I have to admit, I don't back up my stuff often enough.

  14. Oh my goodness, thank the Lord you took your laptop with you! Phew! But sorry about the others ...
    I'm kind of paranoid about back up. Every single time I finish a writing session, I Save As to a memory card and my Dropbox. Every few weeks I also copy everything onto an external hard drive that is sort of hidden (and I should probably hide it better!). And after I finished my latest novel I felt the need for even MORE back up (just in case!) so I emailed all the final formatted files to myself.

  15. I use a memory stick, but I've been thinking about Dropbox. Hmmm. Food for thought. Thanks!

  16. Augh!!! I can't believe someone broke into your house. I have a portable hard drive, but doesn't do me any good if I leave it on top of the computer. I used to regularly send myself documents in emails so that I had them on the internet in case something happened to my computer, but I don't do that anymore, either. Might be time to get back into that habit.

  17. Oh no!! That is awful!! It is so upsetting to hear these things, such an invasion of privacy, and everything just feels so exposed after an event of this type. I truly believe laws need to be tougher on these criminals!

    I don't back up, and after reading your post, I am going to do this, and will stop by Drop Box and see what those costs are.

    With times the way they are today, you just never know.

    I hope you and your family are safe, and your items will be recovered.

  18. I'm so sorry to hear about your break-in!

    I use jump drives and portable hard drives, but information is only as safe as the back ups I perform.

    I hope none of your passwords or personal information were on those laptops.


  19. That made me gasp!! I have what you sent me if it's ever helpful. I email my latest to a friend everyday, just so I have a backup in gmail.

    Wow, that would creep me out.

  20. First, wow.. so sorry about being broken into. That is scary and violating. Yikes.

    Interestingly, just a few months ago, I read a similar post about the cautions of backing up ones work. I downloaded Dropbox as well and made sure everything was on there. I haven't bought more space yet, but I will if I need to. All my stuff is on a flashdrive that could easily get ruined. Yikes- not a fun thought.

    Again, so sorry about the violation of your safety and space.

  21. My dad got me an expansion portable hard drive for Christmas, but for as much as I roll my eyes at it. . . thanks, Dad. And thanks for the reminder! I should probably go back up my stuff.

  22. I've been worried about this too due to having comp problems.

  23. Back ups are important...

  24. Oh, Misha, how terrible. But I hope it feels less of a violation since they didn't get your work as well. When I was in high school we used to leave our stuff out in the locker room, unless other teams were coming in for games. One day we forgot to lock up before going out for a run and when we got back all of our stuff was tossed around the room. I lost five dollars, half a pack of gum and a compact. But I felt lucky because all of my jewelry was in my change purse, which they didn't touch!

    And yes, I'm not nearly as well baked-up as I should be.

  25. Gee, I'm so sorry to hear that!

    Glad you took your computer to bed.... See your urge to blog saved you. LOL. Another reason to keep on blogging!

    I sometimes email my work back to me, but I need to do a real back up. Especially when I hear stories like your. Plus I have a almost five year old computer so It's only a matter of time before my treasured laptop rests-in peace.

  26. Bless your heart!

    Oh, absolutely. After hearing about an author who had her laptop and case w/flash drives stolen around Christmas--and lost EVERYTHING, I got paranoid about hiding my laptop when I was away from home and routinely backing up my work.

    I use flash drives (kept separate from my computer), and I even email a copy of my WIP to myself from time to time. (I have web-based email.) I might invest in something like Dropbox. I haven't decided yet. Probably when I get closer to publication, I will.

    This is definitely something we should bring up more often. I'm sorry for your experience, but I'm glad you wrote the post.

    IWSG# 123, until Alex culls the list again. :)

  27. Well, thank God you had your laptop in your room with you!

    Meanwhile...backup your stuff, gurl!!! ;-)
    Some Dark Romantic

  28. Wow there is something to intuition. Thank God your laptop was with you. Thank God you are safe and all they got were laptops.
    When I was nearly finished with my first book my computer crashed and I lost everything. I paid a small fortune and was able to save a few photos. I had one back-up of maybe the first 1/4.
    I got drop box too.
    I did not learn though...I need to send an awful lot of work to dropbox.
    Great reminder and I am SO glad you are safe.

  29. Yes! I have back-ups! (Google Drive/Docs) Also, I'm so paranoid about somebody stealing my computer I hide it when I leave the house. I'm serious!

  30. I have backups.
    drop box is free and easy.
    But I also burn to DVD weekly and keep them off site.
    I have lost all my data before...never again!

  31. I have an external hard drive for my writing, but reading some of the comments above, I have never thought about backing up photos!

  32. Yes! However, I try to check on mine regularly. We have an wireless automatic backup, but when my book was in final edit stage my pc died and the files were "fragmented" and we discovered my pc hadn't been backing up for a month before that . . . it was a bit of a human error - my pc had been repaired and during repairs it had the back up part removed. Oops. Then the repairs didn't last long.
    Anyway, now I try to check on my back up system and make sure it's working at least once a week. And I've started e-mailing files to myself (and my husband's pc).


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