Tough love and chocolate

Do you want to know what strikes fear into the heart of your intrepid horror writer? The woman who writes horror stories about zombies and serial killers? The woman who rubs her hands in glee at the idea of the Zombie Apocalypse? What scares HER? Well, a little thing called backing up her computer files.

Hey, how could you know? I didn’t know it myself until some writerly friends were talking about how vital it was to have not just one backup, but two or even three. They had gone through external hard drives, zip drives, thumb drives, etcetera and then they started talking about the “Cloud.” I had to come clean. I raised my hand tentatively. “I’ve never backed up my files.”

It was as if I had finally admitted I’d never learned the alphabet. Everyone was aghast, making “tch, tch” sounds and clutching their pearls. There were varying degrees of heat to their reactions, but it boiled down to “Get thee to your backup system, post haste!” I did much promising and explaining and feeling rather backwards.

My computer holds all my writing, all versions of every piece of work I’ve done. Sometimes, I can’t find the “perfect” edited copy of a story. I can only find the one where I spelled my character’s name wrong or the one where I left out six paragraphs. Sometimes, I print out my writing, for editing purposes, but I usually just trash the print copy when I’m done editing. So, as I said, no backup.

And of course, being me, I am a little too embarrassed to ask anyone HOW to backup my files. Even though it’s important, even though I know I stand to lose so much should my computer commit suicide, even though I know I promised my lovely friends I would do it, I haven’t had the guts to ask someone how to backup my files. Is it a one-by-one process? Do you just copy your whole documents folder? Does it involve bloodletting or anesthesia? Do I dare wear white after Labor Day?

I’ll probably google it later today, because I’m determined to backup my files. Not just my writing files, but also the hundreds of photos I have on my computer. I may have skewed values, but those photos would be a huge loss, maybe bigger than my writing. At least most of my writing is either published or not that far along in the process that re-creating it would be a huge effort.

But this is the year I write a novel, so I better freaking learn to backup my work, right? Imagine losing an entire manuscript? I’d end up in the happy house, wearing that fashionable snug white jacket I’ve had my eye on lately.

My friends are invited to bully me into getting things backed up. Call me an idiot, wish ill upon me, tell me about your best friends’ uncle’s neighbor who lost his entire twelve-volume fantasy epic and DIDN’T HAVE A BACKUP! I need tough love, man. Tough love and chocolate.