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Six ways to back up your writing files

For writers, losing work is equivalent to losing a child. Well, not really, but you get the picture. Backing up files is essential. The way you choose to protect your work depends on what type of writing you do, and your particular lifestyle.

Here are 6 options to choose from:

1. EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE - Hooks up to your computer via USB port.

PROS - It's portable, safe, holds huge amounts of data, is upgradable if you need more storage, and keeps your computer from getting clogged with downloads and large files.

CONS - You have to actually remember to do it; it's a little bulky to transport; it's pricey - it will cost you anywhere from $50 - $100+ for a decent one.

2. THUMB/FLASH DRIVE- Tiny device, hooks up to your computer via USB port.

PROS -It's cheap, sturdy, and small enough to throw in your purse or attach to your keychain.

CONS- Not as much storage as an external hard drive, and easy to misplace. And again, you have to remember to manually transfer your data.

3. DROPBOX - Dropbox is a simple online virtual storage utility that allows you to make your files accessible from almost anywhere.

PROS - Everything is online, so no need to carry around a flash drive; Can share content with anyone you'd like.

CONS - Are some concerns about security; 2GB free, but costs extra for more storage; support only online.

4. MOZY - Downloadable backup software that automatically saves all data twice per day to an online storage site.

PROS - Reliable security; affordable -- 50 GB for $5.99 per month; Does not constantly run in background, but runs only during the file transfers; Flexible automatic schedule, so nothing to remember.

CONS - No file sharing; Can take up to 3 days for initial backup, No phone support

5. CARBONITE - Similar to Mozy, Carbonite is downloadable online backup software.

PROS - Unlimited storage; intuitive backup process; apt for beginners and inexperienced users; Phone support;.File searching offered; 15-day free trial.

CONS - Offers only annual plans (starting at $59.99), no monthly options available; Must purchase a new plan for each computer; Must manually select files to transfer.

5. EMAIL - Email yourself a copy of your manuscript every time you add to it.

PROS: Easy; Free; Can access from anywhere

CONS: Have to remember to actually do it; If email address is compromised, you may lose your most recent copy.

The most important thing, of course, isn't which option you choose, but that you do it. How do you back up your work?

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