When I was much younger I treated myself to a new laptop. I say new, it was a second hand one running Windows Vista I bought from a dodgy shop that sold their drugs next to the machetes. It was cheap and I was poor, don’t judge. I used that machine for a little while to do my writing until Windows broke on the machine. I managed to get it fixed but the machine had to be wiped and Windows reinstalled. I lost about eleven thousand words of my latest book because of that.
The message I want you to take away from that is not that you should buy your computers from reputable shops so that they shouldn’t break. It’s that you should be backing up your work on a regular basis. After the aforementioned kerfuffle, I picked up a memory stick on which I stored all of my writing. I only wrote from that memory stick. Eventually I got less diligent about that and started to save my writing on computers and then just periodically backed up to my memory stick. And then I lost the memory stick. Luckily, I didn’t lose much if any but I had to then move onto a new system for backing up.
Which brings us to the cloud. The cloud really is a perfect system for writing, I think, for reasons more than being able to back up your writing. Being able to easily and cheaply, free a lot of the time, back up your work is a very handy tool in your arsenal. Personally, I don’t use the feature but most of these clouds, like Google Drive or One Drive, have the ability to synch. So you save on your computer and it automatically copies it to your cloud. I manually save and backup to my drive because I’m old fashioned like that. Most of them also have built in document editors that are a few features shy of a full version of Word that means you can work on your writing directly from the drive. On top of that, being able to give you access to your writing wherever you are is a good thing.
Access is something that I want to touch upon in a bit more detail, as well. I’ve met a lot of writers and most of them keep little notebooks with them or near them most of the time. An idea strikes them and they grab their book, write it down and move on. That’s great until it rains. Or you lose your pen. Or your notebook falls out of your bag. Or anything that can happen to a small bundle of paper. I have that same thing in my pocket at all times, it’s just digital. If an idea strikes me I can pull out my phone, open Word and type my notes. That’s now in my One Drive. If I’m feeling a bit adventurous and I want to record a voice note, I can do that on my phone and it’s synched up to my Google Drive.
Now, I know I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. But starting to use the cloud for your writing is something that I would highly recommend you start considering. It can save you a lot of hassle if something were to happen to your work and can definitely help improve your writing process if you let it.
© 2020 David Chitty
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.