How To Archive Your Work (backup different versions!)

While I was working on Camp NaNoWriMo this year (2014 July), I realized that archiving my work was extremely useful.  Essentially, it allows you to go back and see the changes you made (book, screenplay, poem, spreadsheet, etc) over time.

I don’t know about you, but I have older versions of my book stored in weird places, and sometimes it gets confusing which one I’ve made changes to.

To keep track of different versions of you work, archive it! Here are a few different versions of how:

 

1. Email.  Email is probably the simplest, fastest way to archive your work.  At the end of each work day (or whenever you feel like you’ve made some progress), draft an email with your file attached.  Make sure to use the subject line to your advantage.  In the subject line, list Year/Month/Day. Title.

After “Day”, you can add Time if you’ve made multiple changes and archived versions in a single day.

You can also attach multiple files if you want (if, for instance, you have a word count tracking file you want to back up).

This is the Microsoft Outlook email drafter

This is the Microsoft Outlook email drafter

The downside to using this version, is if you forget your email password, or if you get a lot of email to that address, or if you empty your inbox, you can lose your files.

2. Keep Archived Files

You can do this either on your own computer, or on a USB drive, external hard drive, or other form of data storage device.

The easiest way to do this is is by following the steps below

Step 1: Create a Folder titled “Archives”.  You can put this file on your desktop, on a flash drive, on an external drive, on an online server, whatever you want!

This example is saved on a USB flashdrive that I named Quipsy.  I name everything.  Uthkor, Zepturia, Calispa, Jerald.  I like to pretend they are my friends.

This example is saved on a USB flashdrive that I named Quipsy. I name everything.  Drives, Computers, Journals… Uthkor, Zepturia, Jerald. I like to pretend they are my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1.5: If you want to have multiple separate archives for different files, you can have different folders inside “Archives” such as “Book1”, “Book2”, “Spreadsheet”.

In this example, our mystery author has created three different projects that they wish to archive.

In this example, our mystery author has created three different projects that they wish to archive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Each time you want to save a version of your file, create a new folder inside the “Archives” folder that follows the same pattern: Year-Month-Day.  This way, you can search through your work chronologically.

A system like this means you can go back to look at older files by easily finding the date you changed things.

A system like this means you can go back to look at older files by easily finding the date you changed things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Inside the Year-Month-Day folder, copy your most current version of the file you want to back up.

Double check the 'date modified' to make sure it matches the date you put on the folder.

Double check the ‘date modified’ to make sure it matches the date you put on the folder.  You can have older versions in the archives as well (ex: “outtakes” file).  It just depends on when you decide to archive them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving files in this manner is particularly useful if you want to have multiple backups of your work.  So if you’re saving your archived files on your desktop, and you also want to save your archives on a jump drive, all you have to do is copy/paste the “Archives” file onto your USB.

Using either of these methods is a good way to keep track of the changes you make.  I, for one, always continually add to my current file, saving over the old version.  Archiving your files is the best option for protecting your work and being able to look back at older versions.

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6 thoughts on “How To Archive Your Work (backup different versions!)

  1. Pingback: Archive Your Work! | words — and other things
  2. Pingback: When You Lose Something You Wrote | words — and other things
  3. Pingback: NaNoWriMo: Counting down to midnight! (also: happy halloween) | words — and other things
  4. Pingback: Camp Nano 2014 July – Update 6 | The Desultories
  5. Pingback: Camp Nano 2014 July – Update 4: Archive Revisions/Drafts | The Desultories

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