Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hard Drives CAN Be Orderly

I have to give April L. Hamilton credit for being the first to tell me to organize my hard drive.

Correction - not just TO do it, but HOW to do it. If you have any aspirations of being self-published (or like me a sneaking suspicion that you are going to end up DIY publishing) learn all you can from April's Indie Publishing Guide.

Build on that base, you will be able to tackle the needed tasks without too much trouble. (Sorry, that was a WHOPPER of a lie.) DIY publishing is a bitch. April will keep you from walking into it clueless.

The first thing I did was make a folder called "Books" then I made another named "Irene" to put Mom's stories in. She's got over 350, so they need their own space. Inside the "Books" folder I have "Advertising", "Books Published", "Covers", "Manuscripts", and "Works In Progress".

(I've written that sentence 3 times, it STILL doesn't look right. Damn commas anyways. My brain treats them like numbers and I'm number dyslexic.)

In order to get an handle on Mom's stories, we divided them into 17 Volumes. There is at least one volume of kids stories, and an entire novel, or 2. The Index is 7 pages long.

I also have a folder for "Advertising" in My Pictures to keep that stuff in order.

My point is a simple one - sort the files into some kind of order. There is nothing worse than wanting to fill out an email for a reviewer and have to dink around on your hard drive for an hour looking for the stupid file that was in the way 2 days ago. Where is the banner ad? and how the hell did I lose my Bio this time?

My personal rule of thumb on sorting files: If there is more than 1 screen, sort it! At least have 1 folder named "Backup" or "Old" for out-of-date materials. There is nothing like spending an hour looking for a banner ad, then posting the wrong one because the names were nearly the same.

The really neat part of this was after I sorted a bunch-a-crap files I found I could do the same thing with my spreadsheets. They are now in their own folder, sorted into sub-folders by topic. I have "Farm", "Projects" and "Books" folders.

Now, I'll let you in on a BIG LIFESAVER TIP - back the whole directory up on a flash-drive or a memory stick. I've got both. I back up my files to all kinds of places on the web, too. Google Docs, ever heard of that? It is the BEST place to stash a backup file. I've got G-Mail which gives me space for my critical files.

Another place I  stash backups - my MP3 player. It has all my music (backup #1) all the photos I can't live without (backup #2) and the Master Docs of all my books (backup #3).

If I could just organize my TIME. (sigh)

Progress, not perfection.


Lexi said...

My filing is not what it should be - but Windows 7 is just brilliant at finding anything with no fuss, which makes up for my deficiencies.

You don't mention Dropbox, which is great for storing files away from your computer, and easy to use.

Ms Kitty said...

I've never heard of Dropbox.

Please tell me more.

Also, I'm still struggling with VISTA - can't seem to upgrade to 7.

Lexi said...

Dropbox is brilliant and free - you can use it to share files with other people, which is handy with files too large to email, but I use it mainly as a back-up for my writing. It has the advantage that I can access it from home and work computers, and it updates automatically - useful when I am writing a book in both places.


(If I recommend you, we both get extra storage. So email me if you are interested.)