Monday, April 27, 2015

How Do You Save All That You've Written?

Ernest Hemingway Creating Fine Fiction

Ernest Hemingway wrote books that became classics and are still read today. I have a feeling he had lots of writing projects that never saw publication, as well. What do you suppose he did with them? Where are they now? In a museum? In some collector's home? Gone? He didn't have the file capabilities that we have today in our technological world. No doubt some have been saved but surely there are many that have been lost.That point was brought home to me yesteday.

My son and I were having a nice phone chat when the subject of a family writing project came up. ""Mom," he said, "do you have everything you've written saved electronically?" 

"Well," I responded, "I have a hard copy of almost all of the things I've written in two very large three ring binders. And of course, all my blog posts can be found at the blog site." I thought a bit longer and then told him that I also have a huge My Documents file and have duplicated that in Dropbox. 

"What about an external hard drive that would have all your writing on it?" he asked. I then had to admit that I'd bought one but never figured out how to use the darned thing! "Maybe you could help me with it the next time you're here." I'm not sure I received more than a grunt from him on that suggestion but I'm sure he will help me out. Look at all the years I fed him, dressed him, kept him in clean clothes and more. It's payback time!

Those hard copies in the binders will yellow with age eventually, so maybe that's not the best way to save my work. Still, I started doing it when I was a new computer user and feared losing everything on my pc. I've kept on with saving this way as well as electronically. I guess part of me lives in the 21st century while some of me is still back in the 20th!

What provisions have you made to save all your writing projects forevermore? I got to thinking more about this as the day went on. I wondered if it would be worthwhile to set up a personal website and leave a copy of everything I've written on it. Would that be opening myself up to some unsavory people taking my work and passing it off as their own? Does it work if you put a disclaimer on the site saying none of the content can be used by anyone without permission of the author? What are your thoughts on doing this?

Maybe the things I've done so far are almost enough. If I do what Kirk said--putting it all on an external hard drive--that might finish it. There are times when I feel I am very computer literate and times like this when I know I'm not 100%. 

I'd love to hear what some of you who write do to save all those precious words for eternity. And for your family many years down the line. 


  1. Almost four years ago we had a house fire. It came out of nowhere and within minutes not only did we lose our computers, we lost our external hard drive and every written note and hard copies that I had printed over the years. Fortunately, I had subscribed to an online backup service so every file and photo I had saved to the desktop computer and those my son had saved to his laptop (including the awesome photos he had just taken on a 4-month trip to South America) were restored within hours after we got our new computers. While it sounds good to back things up to an external hard drive, that does no good at all if the hard drive is lost, too. Think a fire will never happen to you? That's what I thought, too. Think of an online backup as cheap insurance. I'd hate for you to lose those precious words for eternity.

    1. Susan--you make a very good point. Disasters DO occur. I have most of my wriitng also backed up at Dropbox. I put a link to it in the post. It's a freebie and seems to be a good place to save important files.

  2. I currently use dropbox, but I also have an external backup with archives and even some CDs from days of old. At one point I did move all my floppy disks to the external drive. The problem with electronic storage is that you need to keep updating or you lose access. A website has to be maintained (I had stuff at geocities for years, then they shut the site down). I imagine I have most of what I've written, but some has likely been lost along the way. I think a combination of systems is probably best, but forever is a long time!

    1. Tracy--did you read Susan Deppner's comment re the external hard drive being vulnerable to home disasters like fire? I think we have a good case for having more than one form of back-up.