Why Writers Need to Back-Up Their Work

Though it doesn’t happen often, I’ve seen a few (and very unfortunate) posts from writers on various networks wherein they detail a computer issue. My computer just stopped running, someone says. Or, My harddrive failed. Sometimes, people spill something on their laptops. Other times their property is stolen. Always, though, these posts are written with grief, and every time I see these posts, the question, Did you have it backed up? gets asked.

More often than not, that work isn’t backed up. It wasn’t saved. It’s gone–forever.

Let’s be honest: In today’s digital mecca, there really isn’t a reason for us to have physical copies of our manuscripts lying around. For one, they take up extra space. For two, it’s more convenient to have everything accessible in one place. And for three, we hold the false assumption that technology is infallible–that, somehow, someway, our work can be recovered even if something catastrophic happens.

That isn’t the case.

There’s a lot to be concerned about. Power outages, virus attacks, hardware failures, accidental damage–the list goes on. Most writers (me included) sit down at a computer and start writing. We don’t have the constant belief that we’re going to lose that work because our minds are elsewhere. And even when we do become concerned, we think, I’ll do it later.

Then you lose your work. Nothing you or even a professional can do can get it back. And it’s lost. Forever.

Thankfully, there are simple ways to prevent this.


I started using Dropbox after a computer virus nearly caused me to lose all my work. During the attack, the malware kept me from going online, so I couldn’t email The work to myself. Thankfully, a tech-savvy friend had just given me a Terrabyte harddrive and I was able to transfer everything over without issue. But I’ll confess — many people don’t have huge harddrives lying around, and even if they do, they don’t provide a complete failsafe.

So you might be wondering:

 What is Dropbox? And how can it help protect my work?

Dropbox is a cloud service. Without going into the technical details, it connects your computer to the internet via a background program and saves your work automatically whenever a file is updated.

How do you do it?

Below is my simple method on how to back up your work without hassle. Do note that this is written from the perspectives of a Windows user and operating system.

1. Locate your Dropbox folder under your user profile (which can be found by clicking your computer/username on the start menu.)

2. Create a folder (or drag a preexisting one) into Dropbox.

3. Right-click on your desktop and click ‘Create a Shortcut.’ Using the ‘Browse’ command, locate your User profile and then your Dropbox folder. Once you are in, simply click on the folder you wish to link. You will now have a functioning ‘shortcut’ to your Dropbox folder on your desktop.

By doing this, you will be able to click on your folder and access its contents as you normally would had you created the folder on your desktop. Now, however, your documents are saved to the cloud every time you alter them.

And there you have it: a simple way to keep your files backed up in a place other than on your desktop.

You can download Dropbox by clicking on the image below.