A Public Service Announcement

blue screenImagine–there you are, just burning through those revisions. In fact by golly, you think maybe you’re pretty darn close to letting your MS leave the nest. You’re feeling pleased with yourself for sticking through the editing process, especially those days when plucking out nose hairs with tweezers or washing your hair with toxic waste seemed more appealing than taking A-N-O-T-H-E-R pass at your book.

After a good 8 hours of Z’s, it’s time to get back in the saddle. You turn on the power bar and your screen resembles a horror movie TV right before the creepy evil thing crawls out of it. Then your hard drive makes a pathetic whimpering noise like its own dictating its suicide note.

The screen shifts…it’s the Blue Screen of Death.

Sweat pops out of every pore. No, you think. It can’t be. Hard drive crashes are some twisted urban myth created to scare the crap out of writers, right?

You talk to the computer in encouraging tones as you attempt resuscitation, which eventually dissolves into full on begging. Because guess what? You’ve been kinda lazy and haven’t backed up for two months.

Yeah, that’s right–all those revisions? Pouff!

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Well it happened. To me. This weekend. So my public service announcement? GO BACK UP YOUR HARD DRIVE. NOW.

I lucked out in the fact that hubby is a savvy teckie guy, and he was able to grab my stuff from the harddrive. But it could have just as easily turned out differently.

If you don’t have an external hard drive, here’s a few options:

Thumb drive. Inexpensive, portable & fast.

Google account–email your documents, huge storage. Google is God, and hopefully will be as safe as a bank vault.

Mozy will provide an automatic back up.

Drop Box Back up and syncs files across several computers.

Unfortunately with our extreme dependenc on technology, it’s not a matter of if a crash will happen, but when.

/Public service announcement

Image: Geralt @ Pixabay


Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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Mary Witzl
11 years ago

My God, you poor thing — thank God you got it all back! And — you made me sweat. You made me get up, walk across my room, fumble around in my laptop case for my DataTraveler external hard disc drive and whine until my kid came over to show me how to back up. Thank you for this much-needed kick!

11 years ago

Thank goodness you didn’t lose your work. I back up so often that I think people think I’m paranoid.

11 years ago

Ooh man, I am so sorry. My laptop completely died while I was nearing the end of editorial revisions and I was ready to fling myself off of something very high. I know how devastating it can be. You have my TOTAL sympathies, Angela. 🙁

11 years ago

Yeah–good job people for backing up! If I can save one person from what i went through (and I was sooo lucky to get it all back!) I’ve done my duty.

11 years ago

Heart beating, palms sweating…so glad he got your words back for you, Angela. Been there. _Thanks_ for the reminder, to back up—I’m good for awhile, then fall back on old ways…..

11 years ago


This is my nightmare–and one of the reasons we got the time machine/capsule to go along with the computer.

Robyn Campbell
11 years ago

Whoa! I’m sorry. But glad your hubby was able to get your words! I have some of it backed up on my flash drive. But I think I’ll email my stuff to myself tonight. Thanks for the scary, but needed reminder. 🙂

Sensei Robyn
11 years ago

Thanks for the reminder. Off I go tofetch the external hard drive!

11 years ago

Oh no! So glad it all worked out in the end.


~Aimee States
11 years ago

I’m a huge fan of thumb drives. I plug it in, save, and throw it in the pencil basket. And I email.

11 years ago

Thank goodness you have a tech-savvy husband. But still, what a great reminder … Thank you.

11 years ago

I learned that the hard way! I was able to save my manuscript (THANK GOD) but not my day-job work files…. 🙁

PJ Hoover
11 years ago

I’m so glad you got your files!

I do online backup now. I use Carbonite and back up every day. Also, if I’ve been working on something all day, I’ll back it up right them.

11 years ago

Ha, that’s hillarious! I just read Lisa’s blog post–maybe we are related, lol.

Mother (Re)produces.
11 years ago

Are you and Lisa Yee related, by any chance? ;o)

Seriously, here’s her post from Sept. 13:


Glad it all turned out ok. My wonderful geek husband forced me to start using googledoc a while back, and i’m glad…

J.A. Palermo
11 years ago

Can’t talk — must go back up right now!

11 years ago

Yikes! YOu must have been frantic!!!!! Glad your stuff was saved. Whoa…

11 years ago

Yes I did get everything back. Hubby’s good with technology and managed to revive my hard drive…thanks goodness!

Thanks everyone! Back up! Back up!

Christina Farley
11 years ago

OH!!!!! You poor thing. I’m in agony for you. This is horrible. Were you able to recover anything? I’m in panic now. Must go back up my files!

11 years ago

Angela I’m extremely sorry about losing all your work. Have you got any of it back? That nearly happend to me the other week, somehow nearly deleted all traces of a wip. Not a pleasant picture.

I now routinely back up on google docs. And thumb drives…when I locate them.

Tricia J. O'Brien
11 years ago

No! I am so sorry you had to face the Blue Screen of Death, and so happy your hubby is a techie. I’m plugging in the thumb drive NOW.

11 years ago

OMG – It’s one of my biggest fears. I email myself my manuscripts, but I have to figure out what to do about my pictures.

Thanks for the PSA! 🙂 And I’m so glad your hubby could save your stuff!