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Back Up and Running!

I don’t know if many of you noticed, but the blog was down all of Friday. I could’ve easily lost everything (or at least had to redo everything by hand from cached versions of the site online) because…I don’t back up my website. This blog is over three years of hard work and, without a doubt, the cornerstone of my career. So why don’t I back it up? Human nature, I’m guessing.

NOW I KNOW BETTER. And all of you should, too. Because once you lose that WIP of yours, it’s gone. So do me a favor and back up your work right now. Don’t just think about doing it. Actually do it. I now have my blog set to automatically back up once a month to a separate location online. That way, if I lose anything, it won’t be as catastrophic as wiping out every post and comment from the last three years.

The actual problem in this case was a corrupted database file, or so I hear. Even though I have a website and used to work in the Silicon Valley, when you say “database,” I say “durrrr?” Without further ado, I owe my undying gratitude to Eric and Angela Fox, who answered my desperate SOS on Facebook. Angela was kind enough to notice my cry for help and Eric was amazing enough to root through my database and fix the problem. Several others also responded to my distress signal, and I want to thank them here: Kristen, Tyler, Heather, Irene, and Brendan. On a stressful and disheartening day, this outpouring of nerd support (I say this in the most positive way imaginable) really helped me feel humbled and grateful for the community of children’s book enthusiasts that I call home.

What are you doing still reading this post? GO BACK UP YOUR WORK!


  1. kathleen’s avatar

    I did notice (which tells you how exciting I am on Friday night)! I thought maybe you were doing some kind of scheduled maintenance. Whew! Good reminder on backing up your work. I am glad it all worked out because that must have been horrendously stressful. Hurray for the nerd herd!

  2. Sara Martin’s avatar

    I learned this lesson the brain-meltingly panicky way, when my computer suddenly decided to inform me that the manuscript I hadn’t backed up since I’d put in over 100 hours revising it was corrupted and irretrievable. (Thankfully, it changed its mind the next morning and decided the file was retrievable after all.) Never again!

  3. lu’s avatar

    Thank you for the effort of getting it back up – this is my ‘go-to’ site for info & advice. The work everyone put in is much appreciated from content to recovery.

  4. Peter Dudley’s avatar

    Thanks for the reminder. I back up documents all the time, but I forget to back up my server-based files like my web site and blog posts.

    I learned about backups when I was tech pubs manager for a software company back in the early 90s. We made desktop publishing software (among other things), and many of the manuals my team wrote were created using our software… which was in development at the time. So yeah, I learned the “save” keyboard shortcut and got in the habit of pressing it after ever period. (ctrl-s)

    This whole “cloud” thing makes me mildly suspicious.

  5. Ki-Wing Merlin’s avatar

    I noticed and even panicked a little. I have more than a handful of your posts bookmarked as regular self-reminders.

    Which leads me to… THANK YOU for the info and insight you share in every post. I’ve learned so much following this blog.

  6. Wendy Delfosse’s avatar

    I learned this lesson the hard way. I was rewriting a manuscript and, I think, around 50K words when every single character in the document turned into a blank box. Every letter, every number, every space. I panicked and wanted to reboot but because I’d just been on a roll I didn’t want to lose the words I’d just written… So I saved the file. (Always *save as* if you encounter this, people. Don’t save over your original file!) All efforts to restore were futile and I had to start my rewrite over.

    It’s really hard to learn that lesson, but I definitely keep backups now. I even have recurring reminders set for this purpose.

  7. Stacey’s avatar

    I’m glad your back. It’s great to know that some of your faithful readers came to your rescue.
    I lost a lot when my computer crashed a couple years ago.  My technophobe father relentlessly teased me, “You should have used a typewriter”. This is my favorite, “Why don’t you write with a pen and paper? That’s how the famous authors did it”.
    While saving for a new computer, I had to take his advice. For 4 months, I spent 2 to 3 hours a day writing in a journal. A couple days before my new laptop arrived, I lost everything. While I took a quick shower, my dog entertained herself. She completely shredded my journal. Karma really is a bitch. I should have never told my 4th grade teacher that my dog had eaten my homework

  8. Julie Daines’s avatar

    That was scary moment when I checked your blog and it looked ruined. I’m glad it’s all back up (and backed up) and working.

  9. Kevin A. Lewis’s avatar

    Precisely the reason that I only use e-com for mail purposes; I never do e-queries or submissions…I sympathize with the hundreds of gatekeepers who die every year from the strain of turning physical pages, but after losing a sizable chunk of money a few years back on an e-payment that went south, I’m back to hard copy. Besides, if I have an e-portal within a hundred yards of my writing area and one of my pesky friends sends me the latest shot of Lindsay Lohan sideboobing on a skateboard or something, I’m out of business for the next 3 days! Thank God for electronic typewriters-if they go down, you just toss ’em in the recycler and 100 bucks at Staples will put you back upspeed that same day…

  10. Julie Nilson’s avatar

    Did you see the article that’s been making it’s way around the interwebs, by the Wired writer who got hacked? He had no backups! A guy who writes for Wired, of all people!

    So that is to say, people who should know better make this mistake all the time. 🙂

  11. Stella Michel’s avatar

    So glad to see you back up and running!

  12. Jill’s avatar

    I’m not very computer savvy, so I save on my hard-drive + on a flashdrive. I hope that’s okay 🙂

    Glad you didn’t lose anything on your site!

  13. Jenny Bardsley’s avatar

    You are seriously freaking me out right now! Thanks for the reminder.


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