Power surges and outages, or worse yet flooding or wind damage, can all damage your computer. The worst case scenario for a writer is losing your hard drive – and your book manuscript with it. If you lost your book manuscript – something you have spent months or even years working on – would you have the heart to start over again? There are things you can do right now to make sure that you don’t lose precious information that is stored on your computer. Once you have made sure your family and home are safe, take a few minutes to protect your computer and the work that is on it.
Consider the Cloud – If you don’t have a cloud-based back-up system, now is the time to think about it. Saving your work in the cloud means that it can be accessed any time from another computer – as long as you have your password. Some authors I’ve spoken with worry that cloud back-up systems are not secure. While I’m not going to tell you that your cloud backup system can never be hacked, the chances are slim – and it’s a lot more secure to have a back-up plan in place than to have none at all! Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) is my current favorite cloud back-up site. It can also be used to share documents with others. If you have a Mac, put your work on iCloud. Or choose from dozens of other cloud back-up systems on the internet. There are lots of choices, pick one that works for you and that you will use.
Other Options – If you just can’t bring yourself to use a cloud system, or are paranoid enough to want two back-up plans (I am) there are other options. There are flash drives, external hard drives and other hardware options. Each is limited in that you must make sure that the hardware stays safe. An additional piece of hardware to worry about may not be your best option in a storm, but it is still better than nothing. Another choice is to email a copy of your book to yourself and perhaps to a friend also. You’ll be able to access your manuscript again from any computer once your internet service is back up and running.
Protect Your Electronics – Make sure that your batteries are charged on all of your electronics before the bad weather starts. Check your laptop, smart phone, tablet, and any other battery-powered device. Charge them before the power goes out. Plug them into an outlet that is surge protected, in case you have problems while you are charging.
A little forethought now can save you time and money in the next few days.