Back Up Your Work for Free

There’s a saying in Texas: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it’ll change.” That proved true last year as floods deluged many areas of the normally drought-stricken state.

With the rains, however, came problems. For one writer friend, it meant extensive damage to her home—and the loss of her novel. Ignoring the adage to always back up your work, she had one electronic copy on her laptop. Forgetting her computer as she evacuated her home, she later found it waterlogged under a pile of debris. Needless to say, her work was gone.

To prevent this nightmare, she could have printed paper copies, or backed up her work on a CD or a thumb drive. Yet, all these mediums are susceptible to Mother Nature’s wrath. So how do you protect your precious words?

There are companies that provide off-site storage for a fee, some of which can be high. If you’re on a budget—and what writer isn’t—there’s a free alternative that almost guarantees the safety of your work: E-mail it to yourself.

Yahoo!, Hotmail and Google all offer free Internet-based e-mail accounts. I have three e-mail addresses: one for business, a second for everyday use and a third for storage. When I finish a new article or short story, I e-mail a copy to my storage account. Then, even if disaster strikes, I can borrow a friend’s computer to continue my work.

If you’re really safety minded, have separate storage accounts on two different free e-mail providers. While nothing is a 100 percent guarantee, this is about as close as you can get—all while staying dry and within budget.

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