Tool Time: backing up online

Friday night at Midwives, we were discussing cheap/free ways to back up and store manuscripts online, a topic which usually begins with horror stories about some massive amount of words being lost to fire, floods, or computer crashes. I was a bad backer-upper for a long time and really lived with my heart in my throat about it until I did my first away from home ghost gig. Living in a funky little theatre neighborhood apartment in Manhattan, working for a client who frankly scared me (and whose project will never see the light of day), I realized I seriously needed online storage in case my lap top was stolen.

First I sent myself a Gmail invitation and set up an address with the name of the project to which I could email everything as I wrote it. I like that Gmail is organized through a super-searchable archive instead of folders. Now I set up a Gmail account for each book project, send the drafts there as I work, and forward copies of all my email pertaining to the book to that book's Gmail account, which keeps it all nice and frosty in one place. (And Gmail's chat feature made it possible for me to kibitz with my kids while they were in Amsterdam recently.)

Ghost books, however, also involve audio files of interviews uploaded from my digital recorder. Too bulky to email to, so I set up online storage for relatively cheap at Streamload, which is now MediaMax. Online storage is super secure, easy and quick to upload, and I can email links that allow a third party to access a single file from my little cyber-fridge without giving out too much info on the account. They offer a free account with 25 GBs, but I quickly upgraded to support those bulky sound files, and now I have plenty of elbow room for photos and other stuff, too.

Another little gem I couldn't live without: the snappy red jump drive that enables me to pop back and forth between desk top and lap top, so my office easily travels with me from Houston to New York...or Starbucks...or my favorite Adirondack chair out on the patio.


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