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3 Critical Tips to Help Protect Your Data and Ideas

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Writers spend a lot of time creating.

They’d hate to see those creations lost.

Yet, data disappears every day.

Many of us think getting an antivirus program running is enough. But it’s not.

Here’s what you can do to prevent or minimize the risk of data loss.

Get backup to the backup

This is hugely important. It’s easy to float along expecting nothing bad to happen, but one day you could go to turn on your computer and find that it doesn’t do anything.

I know. It happened to me. With a new computer.

We did a lot of upgrading last year. We bought two computers for our home office, both from a trusted brand. Our old computers, of that same brand, had performed well so we never gave a thought to the possibility that something would go wrong with one of the computers. But it did. Just a few months after purchasing my computer, it died. I didn’t panic too much at first because we had backup. I thought it would just be a matter of downloading my backup files.

After about a week of taking the computer to repairmen, we realized the computer had to go back to the manufacturer. I couldn’t be without a computer while they did whatever it is they would do, so we bought yet another new computer.

Turns out, the backup I thought I had, didn’t work. We were getting backup notifications from the company we were paying every month, but nothing was actually getting backed up!

I only had backups up to a certain point, months in the past. So I could download some of my files, but the rest were gone. Including a new manuscript I had been working on for my next novel. Crushed.

Fortunately, I had emailed several projects to clients for review, so I could download those files from email.

We thought one backup was enough. It wasn’t. You need two — three to be safe. You need a backup to the backup. Your setup may include two online backups and an external hard drive backup. Online backups help make sure that all your files aren’t at one location, so if a fire, flood, or some other damaging event happens, your files are safely tucked away somewhere else.

Set the backup to happen automatically, because if you have to do it manually, it just might not get done.

Oh, and check the backup from time to time, just to make sure it is indeed backing up — even if you are getting backup notifications.

Set up a backup email account, too

Another way to protect your data is to set up a backup email account for all your incoming mail. That way, if something weird happens with your primary email account, then you still have a record somewhere. You can  just log into the backup email account and search for the record you need. You can also develop the habit of blind copying the emails to your backup account that you send from your primary account, so a copy of your sent mail is also in the backup account.

First, create the backup email account. Then look at the settings of your primary email client and follow the directions for automatically forwarding messages to the backup account. Test the setup to be sure that incoming messages are now also going to your backup.

Create an ideas file

Have you ever gotten a great idea, only to later forget what it was? This loss of information can cause you to forget your best concept for a book, blog post, article, or even business! So protect your inspiration by writing it down. If you are a writer — a creator — you must protect these creative ideas. Don’t trust yourself to remember your brilliant ideas later. You won’t. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

Your ideas are a preview of the coming brilliance you will create. But only if you write them down. If you don’t write them down, you can’t take them from the preview stage to reality.

Carry around a small notebook. It can be something you slip into your purse or pocket. Or if you have a smartphone, then create a notes file on there. Have your ideas file next to your bed, so you can jot down ideas that come to you at night. Take it with you everywhere you go, even the grocery store. Wherever ideas come, take your file. And since ideas can come anywhere, that means taking your file everywhere.

When you write the ideas down, you can just go about the rest of your day — confident your best idea won’t escape you. Then when you have time, you can examine the ideas to see which ones you want to explore further.  Do this, and you protect yourself against the loss of your own inspiration.

Your big hit could be waiting, just inside your imagination.

What other safeguards have you put in place to protect your ideas, information, and data?

 

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Monica Carter Tagore

Monica Carter Tagore is the owner of RootSky Books. A former journalist, she has been a professional writer for 17 years and has owned a writing and design company since 2002. An award-winning writer, she has ghostwritten or authored more than 45 books. She mentors writers and others in building businesses around their passion and expertise.

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