MPL Writers Group

Saving Your Work In Progress

You are finishing up a story that you think will be successful. You’ve put in hours of research, hours of writing, and hours of rewrites. You consulted hired editors and proofreaders and beta readers who suggested changes. At the very moment you wrote down the final few words of your work in progress, the screen goes blue. 

Now what?

This scenario is scary for many writers, which is why it is prudent for them to not only save their work as they continue writing but also to save their work in multiple locations. As a writer, putting your eggs in one basket is not feasible. This post will go over different ways how writers can save their hard work in case technology ends up failing.


USB Flash Drive

USB flash drives are small objects with either a retractable USB port or a port cover that can store a ton of data. Many USB drives have become affordable over the years and it is often a good idea to keep one or more handy to save your writing. There are also USB external hard drives that are more expensive but hold a lot more data. Like on your computer tower or desktop, you can create files to better organize your writing in USB flash drives and hard drives. It is recommended to save your writing files in more than one USB device if you have several just in case one file and/or disk get lost.


Cloud-based Systems

Cloud-based systems allow writers to save their work in digital spaces without needing a hard drive. These systems are useful because writers can log into any computer, tablet, or phone outside of their own and save and access their files at any given time and place.

Some cloud systems save and update work automatically without the writer’s input while the word document is open. If the writer is working on their WIP in the cloud system itself, their work is saved by default with each change needed, meaning writers can focus on writing and not worry about saving every few minutes like they would on USB or computer hard drives. The best examples of cloud systems for writers to use include DropBox and Google Drive, specifically Google Docs. If you have a GMail account, a Google Drive and Google Doc account is created for you by default.

Even though there are many benefits to the cloud system, writers should also still save on disk and hard drive systems in case the writer loses access to the cloud system, or something happens to the cloud system where it is shut down due to technical issues or the system is shut down and erased entirely. If possible, it is advised to save on more than one cloud-based system and account.


Emailing Yourself

Email is still relevant (After all, almost all online accounts still use one!) and emailing yourself your written work in progress is also a helpful tactic, especially if you lost or forgot your manuscript somewhere and not sure which place you last saved. Set up an email and include  your email dress as the recipient, and you should receive the email within seconds. Many email systems include folder features where you can better organize your written work so it is separate from other email messages you receive.

A key strategy is setting up a unique email that is separate from your main one, one that is dedicated to your writing and writing-related endeavors. It will be easy to email yourself and find and organize your message in one swoop. If you have another email that acts as a “spare” account, use than one to save your manuscript as well. Be cautioned that some email systems will delete email accounts if they are not used often enough.

In conclusion, there are multiple ways of saving and safeguarding your document. Be sure to save your document anywhere you can in both the physical and digital realms. Life happens, and you never know when you technology breaks down. 


Additional Resources:

How Stuff Works – How Google Docs Works

The Write Life – How To Prevent Every Writer’s Worst Nightmare: Losing Your Work

Writer’s Relief – Ways To Back Up Your Writing In the 21st Century

The Write Practice – 3 Reasons Why You Should Save Everything You Write

Good Story Company – How To Organize Your Writing