Today I had a horrible experience. I woke up this morning, and did what I do every morning; check my emails. Reply to those that need it, and check everything else. Well, when I tried to reply to one important email regarding the Christmas giveaway, I started getting an error message.
Apparently my email looked a lot like spam, and thus Hotmail wouldn’t let me send it. Well, hold on a second, why should my email look like spam? It was two lines, a confirmation of the prize, and a request for the date my blog post was needed. Simple, easy, and completely non-spamish.
Like any normal person, I read the error, did the editing it suggested, and tried again. Same message. Next step; sign out and back in again.
This is where the problems started. It wouldn’t let me sign back in. No error message, no troubleshooting to be done. My internet was working fine. So I went to my iPad and sent the email from there. First time. Easy.
But back on the laptop, it still wasn’t working. And then the message came up, the one that had my heart in my throat as I thought about all the emails, contacts, and everything else I would lose.
There has been suspicious activity on your account and in order to use it again you need to verify some information.
I don’t know about you, but the last time I looked at security questions and the like, it was as I signed up for the email account. A number of years ago that I’d rather not remember.
Still, when it comes to my email account, my whole life runs through there. Facebook notifications from my page, stats from my website, requests for my review blog, personal emails, family, friends. And it is also where all of my other accounts for various things filter through to, so I only have one point of call. Without that… I don’t want to even think about it!
So I clicked the verify information link.
And lo and behold, somewhere in the past I’d backed everything up with one simple thing: a recovery email address. One that wasn’t mine, but my husband’s.
Three or four clicks later and my password was changed, and I was back into my email almost as if nothing had happened.
And there’s a moral in all of this. Everyone stresses the need to back up your work, the documents you’ve just spent hours editing, and the notes you’ve made about that all important plot twist in chapter eighteen. But life as an author is mainly spent on the internet. So it’s not only a good, if not essential, idea to back up those documents, but to also back up your online life. Your email, online passwords, online accounts. Setting everything up from scratch is a pain, and it takes time, time that could be spent editing and writing.
So even if it seems like it will never happen to you, don’t take that chance. Back everything up.