Tuesday, July 19, 2016

So Long (And Seven Years Worth of Work)

It has been said time and time again, but it appears we must all learn this difficult lesson multiple times: Always, always, ALWAYS, back up your work!  One of the sites I used to write for was  I was one of their top Examiners and made more money than most on the site.  I say used to because when I went to the site today, I found, much to my dismay, that the site no longer exists.  Now the website URL redirects you to the main page for AXS, a site that is known for giving people the ability to buy tickets for concerts, sporting events, and... well, pretty much anything that can take place in a stadium.  I wasn't given any warning this was happening.  I received no e-mails from Examiner updating me on the status of the site.  I received no newsletter announcing the closure of one of my sources of income.  I received no warning at all that I might want to save any articles I was especially proud of.

I received no warning what so ever.

Now, the site is gone.  I have no way to recover any of my articles I wrote for them.  I wrote hundreds of articles for that site.  Not all of them were gold, but a few of them were.  I should have been saving them all this time, but after seven years of writing for various publications, it's pretty easy to lose track of where you placed what, and for whom it was written for.  Not that I would have wanted to keep everything of course.  In fact, there was probably around 80% of articles that were just news blurbs or something similar.  Those I could live without ever looking over again.  What about those articles on 2D animated films making more money at the box office than 3D films though?  What of my rant on why a "Frozen 2" was (and continues to be) a very, very bad idea?  Some of the reviews that I hadn't converted over to HTML yet?

All of them... gone...

Look, I know that Examiner owed me nothing in the long run.  They paid me for articles that they ran on their site, and I have been in this business long enough that I should have known how important it was to keep copies of these things.  While it would have been nice to have a heads up, I was ultimately owed nothing.  Yet, as I sit here, thinking about all those years of producing content, I feel sad to know that it is all gone.  With just the push of a button a good chunk of my online legacy is gone.  I have learned this lesson before, and now I have to learn it again.  Don't make the same mistake: Keep a copy of everything you write.  Whether it is for a major publication or a blog.  Never trust anyone to house your materials for you.  They don't have to do this forever, and they are under no obligation to warn you of any major changes.

The responsibility to save your work is yours and yours alone.  Never again will I write something without having a backup copy.  This is about as big a wakeup call as a writer can get.  Once I set up a system I may share that system with you, but for now, if nothing else, just keep backups of your writings in a folder on your Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, AND USB backup drive!  The files usually aren't very big and this way they will be out there in case you ever need to access them again.