About this page
This page attempts to document the prevalent backup solution options for writers.
- flash drives - GOOD: small/portable; no network required. CAUTION: flash drives will eventually fail -- do not rely on this for your only backup BAD: Not automatic.
- external hard drive - GOOD: more reliable than flash drives. CON: not quite as portable as flash drives. CAUTION: hard drives will eventually fail -- make sure this isn't your only backup BAD: not automatic.
- E-mail to yourself - GOOD: simple (everyone has access to e-mail). NOTE: You can do this with gmail as gmail gives you a lot of space. BAD/NOTE: no version control in this method. Also not automatic.
- dropbox - WHAT: this is cloud storage with enough available for free that you can just use the free account; there are programs you run on your computer that keep a local directory automatically sync'd with your remote drop box account. GOOD: automatic! Can sync with multiple local computers. NOTE: network access needed to access the backup or sync to it.
- Note: if you get your dropbox account from an existing dropbox user, both you and they get an extra 500 Mb of storage.
- Dropbox will create duplicates if you alter a file on two different computers without syncing them first so one file doesn't override the changes on the other.
- subversion or git - WHAT: version control software. NOTE: requires a remote server host and network access. GOOD: version control software is very reliable and saves every change you make. BAD: not automatic by default, but can be scripted to be.
- google drive - WHAT: cloud storage with office apps (though you could just use this as cloud storage). GOOD: automatic versioning. You can write your novel in google docs directly. Can export to various office suite formats like OpenOffice/LibreOffice or Word or RTF.
- NOTE: there might be a usability limit of 40K words for google docs files
- NOTE: Here, you can get a copy of all (or select folders) of the documents in Google Drive at once by using 'Google Takeout', which will create an archive of all of them in the format you desire. You can also export any document individually from its File menu, again to whatever format you want. I recommend doing this any time you get anxious.
- There is a Google Drive client for Linux called Insync. I've used it in the past, and I was pleased with it. It automatically converted my documents from Google Drive's format to ODT and back. It's not free (as in beer or freedom) but for $15 (US) I found it to be well-worth the money.
- spideroak - another cloud storage provider.
- save your file into alternating filenames and onto separate physical disks - GOOD: some reliability/redundancy gained. BAD: not automatic by default.
- paper - GOOD: you can hold it and read it! BAD: contributes to tree usage; expensive/takes time to create