Sunday, October 30, 2016

How to Save Your Book from Fire

Do you have Words to Burn?

A few nights ago a bad dream woke me up. In it, I was escaping from a blazing apartment fire and trying to warn the neighboring apartment dwellers to run for their lives. It’s likely the dream was triggered by the late-night news program. In one of the segments, a woman was crying because she’d lost everything when her apartment caught fire in the night.

As I lay in bed thinking about that poor woman, I began consider what I’d do if my house caught fire in the middle of the night. An escape route was the first thing that came to mind. There’s window next to my computer desk; that would be my exit. The next thing was envisioning what I would grab as I was going out. I decided I would grab my jeans, for obvious reasons, my purse, it contains my insurance cards, and then my external hard drive. If I could quickly find my little flash drive, I’d take that too.

And here is the point of this blog. There’s a reason for my obsessiveness. I work hard to put together a book to publish. It takes months to complete a final copy. The external hard drive is the place where I backup my files from my desktop computer, my main work station. In addition, I often put copy of copy book files to the flash drive and transfer them to my laptop when I wish to work at some other location, like the library.

 A year ago I met a writer up in Oakhurst whose house had burned to the ground. I can’t remember her name. She told me that she and her husband had gone to the city to do some shopping, or something like that. When they came home that day, they found their house in ashes. BUT she had her current writing project saved on a flash drive which just happened to be in her purse that day. It was pure luck, she said. Her story stuck with me.

You’re probably thinking, “Oh, but I have my files on The Cloud. They’re safe there.” Yeah, right. The colossal hacking episode a week ago messed up a huge number of servers around the country, and that’s what a cloud is, a series of numerous servers. Several in the pipeline still aren’t working correctly. It will happen again, I believe, and the potential hazard of such criminal acts gives me goose bumps.

I don’t mean to sound like a Halloween story, but really, how are you protecting your hard work? What would you do if your house caught fire in the middle of the night? Have you backed up your files? Or do you have words to burn. It’s something to think about.


  1. Wow. Powerful post. I need to make sure my stuff is backed up properly. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. I hope you do. It's kind of like making that dentist appointment or getting an eye exam. We all have good intentions, but it's easy to put off.