Today in the #52WeeksOfScrivener series we’re talking about a topic nobody really wants to think about: backing up your work. I know, I know, but trust me, it’s important. In fact, it’s essential. If you’re not backing up your work, you’re asking for a world of pain.
Scrivener’s Working For You
The great news is that Scrivener is, by default, backing up your work every time you stop typing. Go ahead and type something and while you do, notice that the little red dot at the top left of your screen gets a tiny black dot in the center of it. (Note: In Windows, an asterisk appears next to the project title on the upper left-hand corner of that window.)
This indicates that there is something new in your document that has not been saved. When the dot (or asterisk) goes away, Scrivener has back up the document. Pretty cool, right?
And Scrivener stores those backups in a location you’re probably not even aware of (if you’re curious, or want to change where backups are stored, go to Scrivener -> Preferences -> Backup). It’s there at the bottom.
Note: in Windows, go to Tools->Options->Backup to find this info.
You can also see in this image that the most recent 5 backups are saved. Scrivener saves so many backups (I mean, really – every time you stop typing) and it doesn’t want to fill up your hard drive with backups, so it deletes the oldest one of five every time it backs up a new version.
It is important that you NEVER work in one of these backup files. Likewise, NEVER store your master draft in the same folder as the backups. It will mess up the whole system and could very well result in your master draft being deleted. Don’t do it. Just know that these backups are here, and leave them alone.
Get An External Backup
I know, it’s an expense, but really, imagine your manuscript is almost done, and you’ve spent years of your life on it, and one day you sit down to work and your computer is dead. Or it’s been stolen. Or your dog peed on it. What would you pay, at that point, to have your story back? Right.
Personally, I use a cloud backup system. It automatically backs up every file on my computer, via the Internet, and saves it to the cloud, every day, so that if the worst should happen, I can get a new computer, reboot it with all those files from the cloud and it will be like nothing ever happened.
External drives are also handy. You just have to remember to plug them in from time to time (ideally every evening to save the day’s work). But I live in California, and we get a lot of fires, and I know that if a wildfire is threatening my home and family, I’m never going to remember to grab a stupid external drive. So… cloud.
At the VERY LEAST, you should email yourself your manuscript every few days. This is old-school, super easy back up. If you do nothing else, please, please, do this.