Have you ever been sitting at your desk and typing out a beautiful story when suddenly your screen goes black, or you accidently reset your computer due to a virus and it all disappears because you forgot to back it up. Maybe your computer was stolen? Either way, you are not alone. Many writers have been in your position and felt the distress you felt. Do not feel lost, because there is something you can do about it!
In this technological age there are so many ways you can save your documents but the surest way to store it on the cloud. The cloud is a storage centre out there in the World Wide Web. You must be thinking that it is not safe and what if the cloud gets a virus, but the truth is they are constantly monitored and has the highest level of protection. However, do not be fooled they are not all the same in their capacity, convenience and security. For me this is nothing new, I save absolutely everything to the cloud and have been for the last ten years. That includes, all my photos, videos and even projects back from high school. I have never had any trouble with my cloud system and I don’t know how I would get by without it.
Below are my two top cloud portals which I use and recommend to all writers.
Google Drive/Google Documents
The first option that many people have heard of is Google Documents via the Google Drive. For those who do not know what this is it is a cloud supported by Google which you have access to if you create a google account.
To access this option go to the Google home page and press the box with nine squares in it on the top right of the page. A drop down list will appear and click Drive then follow the prompts to get you established with an account.
It is associated with Google who have a vast amount of manpower, high level of corporate backing and has a good reputation. If you store your work there you know that it is 100% safe.
What is good is that you can download google documents app to your other devices in order to work on your story wherever you are. The app is well developed and doesn’t have any glitches so far as I am aware but can only be used for manuscripts written in Google documents.
Another positive about Google Docs and Google drive is that it allows you to easily collaborate with other people. If you have a google document and share/give access to other people to view or edit it, they can make amendments to the same document. Each time someone comments or amends you will get an email to your Gmail account and it allows you to reply from the email.
You have to create a google account and have a Gmail. This process is so annoying and can be confusing for people are technologically challenged. It took me ages to figure out how to create the Google Account and figure out how to share documents with other people. I was extremely frustrated but once it was all set up it operated fine and was quite fun when I could finally collaborate with my writing group. I just didn’t like how I had to create a Gmail account because I already had an email address for my blog.
You have to use Google Documents in order to have the full benefits of Google Drive. This is because you can upload your word documents onto the cloud but every time you amend it in word you have to upload it again as it doesn’t automatically update. That is because they are trying to encourage you to use Google Documents and this is inconvenient to me because I am so used to opening up word.
You have to have good internet to use Google Drive and have to sign in online to use it. For me, this is extremely inconvenient as I have spotty internet and it can lag. You can’t work offline otherwise things won’t save and this is a big factor for me. I feel like it should be used on a tablet more than a computer because you can download the app and have easier access that way. Nevertheless, tablets annoy me and I don’t use it to do actual work.
Dropbox is my absolute favourite cloud system and I have been using it for the last 10 years. It is a super easy program you download onto your laptop, iPad or phone and you will be granted access to everything you have put onto the cloud.
All you need to do is go to www.dropbox.com create an account and download the program onto your computer. Simple as that.
You do not need to create another email address, you just use the one you have across all your devices and it automatically syncs everything.
It has ample space on there for everything you have and it is very safe. I have been using it for many years to store my thousands of photos and videos, as well as projects from high school. All this and I still haven’t reached half of the space they have given me.
What is great it integrates itself into your desktop and when you go to save the document it comes up in the list of places you could save it too, it’s very easy and it is just another folder on your computer? It acts as another ‘My Documents’ folder.
It doesn’t care what writing program you use or what computer you have. It works on anything and for every document you could imagine. If you save it into your Dropbox folder it will be accessible from each device you have downloaded the app onto.
Dropbox is fantastic for working offline! Just open your document, do your work and save as you normally would. It will save the updated version into the document and it will update across all you devices as soon as it is connected to the internet. You will not have to prompt it, it will do it automatically.
It allows people to share access to folders and updates the document across everyone’s devices whenever people from your group amend the document.
The only downfall I find in this program is that you can’t amend my manuscript from other devices other than your computer. You can only review them. This is alright for me because I like to use my computer and do not like to use my tablet to work on. However, this may be an important feature for you and maybe Google Docs is better for you.
Its sharing capacities are not as advanced as Google. In fact, Google Docs does it better as they notify you that someone has done an amendment. Whereas, Dropbox flicks a message at the bottom corner of your task bar that they are syncing the changes that [insert name] made.
Out of the two I recommend Dropbox more than Google Documents. Despite not being able to amend your documents wherever you go, Dropbox is extremely easy to use whereas Drive can be a hassle. However, I do use both for different purposes and I feel that you could actually save your work to both if you are that scared of losing your manuscript. However, you will have to constantly upload the document to Google Drive as the programs are not compatible. Nevertheless, with whatever you chose you will never lose a document again.
How do you go about saving your documents? I find that everyone has a different way of doing it but for me this is the most effective way. Let me know what you think and if you are going to try any of these out.