Dropbox – Get with the times

Now that I’ve started doing another draft, I’m back into an OCD need to save my work.

Back in the early Nineties when I was writing my third novel, I spent an entire day writing. I wrote 20 pages of what I thought was some pretty good stuff and my old Amstrad PCW9512 Wordprocessor collapsed under the pressure.

I loved this machine!

I loved this machine!

It died on me. Damned machine!

My first wordprocessor, a treat to myself on finishing my first novel, ate my work. Chomped on the bytes of data and, well, regurgitated away my hard work. I lost every word and whilst it was bad at the time, it did prompt me to save my work like the obsessive compulsive that I am.

I create a new folder on my laptop for each draft. I used to save to CD back when that was the done thing, I don’t do that anymore. Despite what you might think, I’m not stuck in the Nineties.

I embrace modern saving techniques and use portable ‘flash’ drives to back-up data. I bought a 1tb external hard drive that I can plug in and save EVERYTHING including my extensive music and photo collection.

Is that enough? Oh, no.

Tree’s have died for me to print my work. (I’m working on that dependency) It’s good to have a hard copy of your work. Good for a copy, good to read and to red pen, highlight or pencil notes in the margins. I’ve also been known to send a copy to my Kindle for when I want to read it anywhere.

The problem with the ‘flash’ and external drives is remembering where I’ve put them and then plugging them in. (I am lazy)

Enter the power of Dropbox.

I’d read a couple of posts about people using this service and checked them out. I downloaded the software in minutes and went for the FREE option which starts at 2gb of storage. You access the service the same way you do any other folder. You can even have it on your task bar.

Dropbox 1

This is an actual screen shot of my laptop screen.

Or open up windows explorer and the folder appears in the same way your other folders appear. Save your files, open your files or just view your files as usual. They are then available to every device you register for your account.

Simple.

dropbox 2

You can boost your 2gb storage by referring other people. Each new friend signing boosts your total storage, following @Dropbox on Twitter boosts you again. What more can you ask for?

Whenever I finish a chapter of my book, I do a back-up, compile Scrivener word file and save the whole kit and kaboodle to dropbox. It’s so easy my cat could do it. I now have more versions of my book saved. Even if my laptop packs up for good, I have everything I need to pick up from where I’ve left off.

For the record, I’m not on commission with Dropbox. πŸ™‚ I’ve not even done the link so I get additional storage space if you sign up for an account. I have more than enough space left.

If you’re thinking of using one of these storage companies, I recommend you check this one out. They might be the one for you. They might not be. You might already use them. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading. And, happy storing!

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About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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18 Responses to Dropbox – Get with the times

  1. You’re like a little King of Gadgetry all on your own. You know terms I’ve never heard of and own a 1 tb external hard-drive ( Like I know what that is) but like you I learned the hard way to back up each day and If I’m writing (lol) I save after each chapter. I have a hard copy for my proof reader as she likes to do her initial changes that way but the rest I read online. It seems I have more faith than you in our technical aids.Or maybe I’ve just been luckier.

  2. Julie says:

    I basically live out of my own Dropbox. It’s especially handy for me, given I work across multiple devices and it automatically syncs to each of them when they’re connected. I love never having to worry about if I’m working on the right version. πŸ™‚ I love how simply it works, and that I can back up every time I save my document. I’ve had a laptop die on me before, taking a number of things with it, so I’m a bit paranoid about losing stuff.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Julie. Paranoia is good if it makes you save your work more often. πŸ™‚

      I’m working off the one laptop so I don’t need to sync between devices, but that does sound a good idea. I am starting to like using dropbox though.

  3. Peggy Isaacs says:

    Love Dropbox. I use it for everything – school, work, writing. Like Julie, I like how accessible it is.

  4. Jen Reg says:

    interesting. πŸ™‚

  5. Wow, Pete!! The picture of that computer really brings back memories!!

  6. 4amWriter says:

    This is on my 2013 to-do list. My secret santa introduced me to Dropbox and gave me the info I would need. I have yet to sign up, but it is something I plan to do. I love your Dropbox tale, because now I’m more excited to sign up!

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Kate. I was sceptical about these types of services, but I’ve had no problems so far and the other testimonials are always worth their weight in gold..

  7. zabethmarsh says:

    I lost the first chapter of what I thought was a really good start to a book when my computer got the blue screen of death this summer. I’ve abandoned the book idea as I get a little sick to the stomach just thinking about what I’ve lost. I found Dropbox shortly after and now I sleep a little better but the blue screen still haunts my nightmares. Good of you to pass this info along to others.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I have had the blue screen of death on my laptop. Not good that you’ve lost a story from it. Hopefully, dropbox stops that happening again.

  8. Thanks for the recommendation. I keep an external hard drive and email of all essential files but this sounds like a terrific third backup. And I do believe it helps. πŸ™‚ I have Icloud for my Iphone and iPad. But it gets expensive for my laptop files–too much audio stuff. πŸ™‚

  9. Mart Dawson says:

    There is another alternative, Google drive. Again online and accessed from anywhere with internet access. If you have a Gmail account its just so simple to set up. Apps for phones desktop etc. Its also free and can buy additional space.
    Good article.

    • Pete Denton says:

      Thanks, Mart. I’ve not heard of this one. Sounds a similar kind of deal to dropbox. There must be some really BIG warehouses in the desert somewhere housing all our data. Scary and impressive. πŸ™‚

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