So, you’re a writer. Maybe you’ve finished the novel, and maybe you’ve only finished a couple of chapters. Either way, the best work of your life is sitting on your hard drive.

The thing about computers is, they are not perfect. A system crash or virus could wipe it all out. Your computer could also be physically damaged in any number of ways, like fire, flood, tornado, or even a power surge from a nearby lightning strike.

Any sanely managed business will have a disaster recovery plan that includes multiple, redundant, off-site backups. Anything less is folly. As a writer, you don’t have an IT department, you are the IT department. It is your responsibility to ensure that your work is backed up – unless you don’t mind if it all goes poof.

There are a number of good, simple solutions for backing up small numbers of modest sized documents. You should have at least one on-site and at least two off-site backups.


1. Get an external USB drive. It might cost you $100 or so, but the data you’re backing up is worth much more than that.

2. If you have more than one computer, copy your files around to at least one other.


1. Many ISPs offer a backup service.

2. Email the file to yourself as an attachment.

3. Put it on a thumb drive that you keep somewhere else – the house of a friend or relative or a safe-deposit box.

4. Use an internet-based backup service (my personal favorite). These services are available with a variety of features and pricing structures. I use CrashPlan (, but there are at least half a dozen competitors, and I’ve seen several magazine reviews comparing the various offerings. This is a fairly new industry and still very much in flux, so if you choose to go this route you will want to research the current offerings.

Regardless of which solution you pick, the important thing is to put a back up plan into place. You can also use it to back up other important files and photos.