Thursday, September 12, 2013
Google Drive/Docs, A New Tool In Your Writing Arsenal...
As most of you probably know, my beloved laptop died a few weeks ago and I have yet to replace it. I will be getting a desktop computer towards the end of the month luckily. But in the meantime, it's been hard not being able to access my novels and work on them. At least, that was the case until yesterday. I am now able to continue work on book #2 "The Ship" and am in no danger of losing any changes I make to it (at least as far as I know). And it's all thanks to my G-mail account.
Now a lot of you are probably thinking, "Well duh, you simply mail what you wrote each day to yourself and it will be safe in your e-mail." That is definitely a method that a lot of people use, but I have a tendency of deleting or accidentally deleting e-mails due to clumsy fingers or a computer acting strange.
What I'm going to talk about today is Google Drive (aka Google Docs). Now I know Google had provided a "Cloud"-like service for all who use Google but I didn't know a lot about it. It is very similar to Amazon's Cloud system, where you have a huge amount of storage in cyberspace to save photos, documents, etc. But I'm one of those who does not jump on the new-tech bandwagon right away. I always hang back and let time pass for others to give these services a test run and see if there are any bugs that need working out first. After I've heard more about the new technologies, then I'll give it a whirl. I hate to try things and lose stuff because there were issues that needed to be fixed. Especially where my writing is concerned.
So, when my laptop started acting strangely I backed up all my writing files onto memory sticks (flash drives). My wife then urged me to transfer some of the docs from the sticks onto Google Docs, informing me that I already had an account with Google because of my e-mail. So I proceeded to do as she instructed. I uploaded my writing files and could access the novels that way thinking I could access the novels on any other computer I could get my hands on. Right? Wrong! Because I uploaded the novels in MS Word, I could not bring up the novels on computers that did not have MS Word. Our new laptop, which is primarily for my wife's university schoolwork does not have MS Office or Word on it.
I told my wife about this and she informed me that the files she'd put on Google Drive were easy to access and she could make changes to them. Long story short, she finally realized how I'd uploaded the actual files in their original program. Whereas she had simply copied her files and pasted them into a Untitled Google Doc, which is the first option that comes up when you enter Google Drive. That Google Doc is always accessible from ANY computer and you can make changes, edit, or add to a doc. So yesterday I got onto a computer that had MS Word, opened my original document and then copied the entire book into a Google Doc. Then I went home and tried to access it and make changes on the new laptop at home that did not have MS Word. It worked. I can now access the novel, make changes and continue to finish writing the first draft while I wait to get the desktop at the end of the month.
I'm back in business and it feels great. So check out Google Drive (aka Google Docs) and start saving your files over there gang. Remember, if you want to be able to make adjustments to your doc, copy and paste the file into a Google Doc template. If you simply want to have a back up copy, then upload the file in its original format.
This is a great tool and I'm so glad it's available. You can also make certain files accessible to others like Beta-Readers or your editor through Google Drive. PLUS... you can make it that no one can tamper with the document while it's on Google Drive. They can read but not touch it.
Check it out, it's really worth it folks. If any of you have other advice about Google Drive or other similar services please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. That's all for now. Take care and keep writing.