Dropbox has been great tool for me. It’s a very simple, intuitive program that allows you to save your stories into an online server and pull them up from anywhere. It allows me to share my stories between my writing tablet and my home computer. My writing tablet is a great tool for reasons I won’t go into again, but my home computer is superior in some ways.
For instance, the word processor on my tablet doesn’t have a spell check, and my home computer runs Microsoft Office Word, which does have a spell check. When I’m writing on my writing tablet, I’m usually doing first drafts. But the tablet has a very small screen, a small keyboard, and a built-in mouse on the keyboard pad that I sometimes accidentally touch and end up writing sentences where I don’t necessarily want to write them. In comparison, it’s easier for me to revise and edit on my home computer, because the main monitor is about three times as large and having a second monitor means that I can do research without having to tab away from the page I’m currently on.
Dropbox has allowed me to change the same version of my document between my writing tablet and my home PC. One of the reasons I was hesitant about writing on a tablet is because they’re very portable, which means easily stolen, and the thought of losing all of my writing was just terrifying to me. I’m also really bad when it comes to taking manual backups. But it’s very easy to just upload a copy of something into Dropbox, and then download the copy onto my home PC and save over whatever version I have. This means that the same version of my story is in at least three locations, two physical and one server, which is comforting to me.
I also discovered another nice feature of Dropbox the other day. When I was writing a chapter on my tablet, I had accidentally opened up the Dropbox version rather than the version saved to my tablet’s SD card. I’m a compulsive saver, so I had been hitting “save” every few minutes. But when I uploaded the version of the story from my tablet’s SD card into Dropbox, I accidentally replaced the new version that I had been working with the old version that I had been working on yesterday.
Panic. I had written an entire chapter and then saved over it with an older version of my story that didn’t have that chapter.
As I was sitting in my PC on despair, I discovered that Dropbox has a nifty feature where. When I open my Dropbox folder on my home PC, I can right-click a file and then click “view previous versions.” It then pulls up a folder called “revisions” on the internet, which has all of the previous versions of my story that I’ve saved to Dropbox. In this case, it allowed me to load up the version of my story with the new chapter that I had actually been saving into Dropbox all along and had accidentally overwritten. You can only imagine my relief.
So now I’m even more happy with Dropbox than I was in the first place. It’s an amazing tool and I wouldn’t be nearly as productive without it.