3 Cheap Ways to Back-Up Your Writing Projects

Imagine you’re sitting at your computer writing a long awaited scene. Everything is going smoothly until your computer gives a high pitched squeal (Buzzut!) and shuts down. How do you react?

If you backed up your work, you’d probably freak out at first but would later calm down. All you lost was some illegally downloaded ebooks and those pointless cat videos you favorited. Your precious stories, however, are safe—Whew!

If you didn’t back up your work…well, you’re basically screwed. Cue tantrum.

I’m here to tell you about three cheap methods you could use to back up your writing so you wont have to experience such hardships. Not only that, but I’m also going to give you the pros and cons of each method. Keep in mind that there are other methods to backing up your work, but these are the ones that I’m most familiar with.


1. Scrivener ($40)

Scrivener automatically creates a back-up file on your computer’s hard drive (or wherever you want to save your back-ups) when you exit a project file. It also has an option where you can zip the file to reduce the amount of digital space it takes up.

The only downfall to having Scrivener zip your work is that it takes a few minutes for large files. Regardless, having your files zipped is uber helpful if you’re saving your backups on an external device with limited space like a flash drive or SD card.

To get the most out of this feature, I suggest combining Scrivener with one of the two methods below.


2. Flash Drives ($3.00 – $10 for our purposes)

Flash drives are small USB devices used to storage digital things. The price for one depends on the amount of space that’s installed on it. Generally the more space it has the more expensive it will be—but it’s a one-time investment.

Luckily, word documents are only a few hundred kilobytes so you don’t need to buy the most expensive flash drive you can find. For example, I used an 1gb flash drive that I got in the seventh grade until last year! The only reason I changed it out was because the connector was getting uncomfortably wobbly.

There are two ways you can use flash drives to back up your work. (1) Save a version of your novel on the device and update it every so often. (2) Create your novel on the device and work from there.

I set scrivener to save a zipped version of all my novels on my 8gb flash drive. The only thing I have to worry about is accidentally loosing the device (which would suck).


3. Online Options (FREE)

There are companies that allow its users to save their files on that company’s servers (aka “the Cloud”). Some even have apps that automatically update their servers with your files. A few of the most famous ones are OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

What’s really cool about saving your work on online servers is that you don’t have to clutter your computer or external devices with duplicate files. Heck, the only thing you do need is access to the Internet.

One of the downsides is that you’re limited to a certain amount of space (2gb for Dropbox and 15gb for Google). Again, word documents don’t take up a lot of space so it should be good for your writing purposes.

I’m compelled to mention this, but there’s also the possibility that the company could get hacked which puts your personal files at risk. I don’t know about you, but the thought of someone in my personal files is like discovering that a roommate went commando in my PJs.

Not fun…


There you have it! Now that you know these three cheap ways to backing up your work, you have no excuse not to. Unless, of course, I freaked you out with the hacker joke (oops).

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What are some ways you guys back up your work?

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