Your Best Insurance Policy

Have you ever heard the term “Blogicide”? Doesn’t the very idea raise the hair on the back of your neck? I found it on Don Lafferty’s blog. The idea of having my whole blog go poof! is seriously chilling. Don confesses to killing his own blog by experimenting with Wordpress, but there are other ways a blog could vanish from cyberspace, like massive server meltdown or sabotage.

If Don’s story had to happen, I wish I’d known about it a month ago today when I was sitting on a panel about blogging at Story Circle Network’s Stories From the Heart conference in Austin. Using blogs as online journals and places to save your writing with related issue of privacy, public blogs versus closed ones, and similar matters were under discussion when a light went on in my head.

“Always keep your blog backed up. Over the long run, you can’t assume online storage in a single location is any safer than storing things on your own hard drive,” I cautioned them. I was thinking of online server disasters. It hadn’t even occurred to me that we can be our own worst enemy. Don’s story would have been the perfect illustration.

Whether you are blogging or writing stories (or anything else), saving your work in more than one place is good insurance. I need the fingers on both hands to count the growing number of friends who have lost major chunks of work to a hard drive crash or fatal virus. It’s like losing part of your soul!

This is post number 228 for me. These posts collectively represent a huge amount of work and are irreplaceable. I’m not taking chances: I copy the finished post from my browser, pictures, links, and all, and paste it into the bottom of an ongoing OpenOffice document. (I stash the source pictures in a separate folder before uploading them.) I start a new document each month, adding new posts as each appears. If I’m in a huge hurry and get lazy, I can add it later, but I don’t let too many pile up.

I keep those files on an external hard drive with my other documents. Every week or two I back that folder up onto an internal hard drive. I keep promising myself I’ll learn how to do automatic backups to keep things current on a daily basis, but ... you know what they say about good intentions.

The external hard drive is my choice now for all the files I use on a regular basis. Not long ago I had major computer problems and faced the likelihood that Hotshot would have to spend time in the hospital. By moving my working files to a removable drive, I could keep working even if that happened.

I feel safe from blogicide and other forms of digital disasters. How about you?

Write now: about your experience with lost work. This may be due to a computer fluke or crash, or it may be a craft project that was destroyed, photos that were lost, or any other type of work. If you’ve never lost anything, write about the safeguards you employ to keep things safe. Or, write a plan of action for safeguarding your work in the future.

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka, Ritergal


Don Lafferty said...

Fortunately I did have my work backed up…sorta.

Whenever I write anything - even this comment – I do the actual writing in a Word document. It’s easier for me to see the whole piece and spell check it. This also enables me to tuck the piece away in the appropriate folder on my computer for later reference.

Most of the work I do is in support of some larger project so I frequently refer back to blog articles and even comments I’ve written on the blogs of others to incorporate them into a book chapter or a magazine article.

So when I crashed my young blog it wasn’t too difficult to reconstruct it. At least the bits I wanted to. The copy for the articles, the graphics and Wordpress theme were all intact, so all I had to do was reinstall the blog on my server, drop in the theme and repost the articles. It took a few hours, but the alternative - starting the blog from scratch – would have been a major undertaking which I probably would have put off until I had more time. [read – maybe never].

Ritergal said...

Thanks for the clarification Don. I also write in documents, though I use OpenOffice, my preferred Word alternative.

An experience like yours, or a crashed system, reminds me of a recent drive through still-shattered areas of New Orleans. Houses can be rebuilt, but the personal contents (photos, keepsakes, etc.) can't be replaced if they weren't evacuated with the occupants.

    Hey, y'all!
    Heed Don's call.
    Back up your work,
    Don't let it fall!

Anonymous said...

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Kara said...

Great info. I need to get busy backing up my blog!