For creators of all kinds, a mysterious and illusive threat lurks in places we don’t like to think about. You’ve probably stumbled upon frightening reminders of this threat once or twice—such as on a gaming mod site like nexusmods.com, or even on Wattpad, when a content creator’s hard drive fails and they’re unable to continue their work. A sad end to some fantastic creations!
Happily, there is something you can do to protect yourself from this kind of disaster. Simply, you need to back up your stories. This is such an easy task that anyone can do it, but unfortunately, it feels too complicated for many people. I hope this advice will make keeping your precious data backed up seem less advanced for you!
The 3-2-1 Rule
In the information technology world there’s a commonly followed shortcut for a safe way to keep your data backed up. It’s called the 3-2-1 Rule, and it states that you should keep at least three separate copies of your data, in at least two different mediums, and at least one copy should be stored offsite.
Another rule of thumb is the copy of your stories on your hard drive should not be considered one of the backup copies! This means that in addition to your hard drive copy you should have three other copies.
What I Do
First of all, you should back up your data in a way that works for you. That being said, here is my method.
Copy 1: Backup Flash Drive – The first copy I store goes on an inexpensive 16 gigabyte USB 2.0 flash drive. With USB 3.x taking the technology world by storm, 2.0 flash drives are seriously coming down in price, and you can find 32 or more gigabyte drives for less than ten dollars. I don’t need the increased speed of USB 3.x, and really just need a cheap but reliable place to store a backup of my stories, so this works perfectly.
Copy 2: Wattpad/Penana – Okay, so maybe I’m cheating here. I consider the copies of my stories that I’ve uploaded to Wattpad and Penana to be the second of my backups. That’s an easy one, as long as I keep a local copy. Don’t only backup to the cloud, because something could happen with the Internet and your stuff would be gone.
Copy 3: Mega.nz – My third copy is on MEGA, the New Zealand-based cloud storage service. They offer end-to-end encrypted storage, which is really nice if you happen to be backing up more sensitive data, such as bank statements or other personal information. You can get 15 GB for free, with different tasks you can complete to upgrade that amount at no cost for up to 180 days. Or, if you need more space you can pay for one of their reasonably-priced premium accounts. The cheapest one is only about $6/month as of the writing of this post.
It’s very important that you make a regular schedule for backing up your stories. I try to do it whenever I do a lot of writing, because I don’t want to come up with all these great ideas and then risk losing them forever because I forgot to back up. Choose something that works with your schedule, and give yourself reminders. You can even automate this process if you want, but that’s a technical subject beyond the scope of this article.
Let me know in the comments what your backup scheme is, or share any data loss horror stories you might have!