What Happens When a Romance Writer Gets Locked Out of Google Docs

It may come as a surprise, but I don’t read or write romance novels. :wink::slightly_smiling_face:

Nevertheless, this article got me thinking again about how much we often depend entirely on Big Tech and how vulnerable we can be. This is one reason so many advocate for plain text markdown files and keeping everything accessible and not dependent on cloud storage solutions. Theoretically, we can lose access to our work.

Passing this along to stimulate thoughtful conversation about best practices and good options.


Exactly the reason why I switched from Day One to Ulysses back in 2014 I guess - granted with Day Ome the case was/is different, but since then I highly value knowing where my important data is and that I can be pretty sure to always keep my access to it.

Thanks for the reminder :blush:

Indeed, I have a routine of exporting my Ulysses work as plain text files to external folders. I do this because Ulysses is a proprietary database with a subscription (I qualify for the education discount, making it more palatable). I want all of the work eventually in plain text and backed up. I’ve also exported all archived Pages docs to plain text in those same folders.


I can do the same thing with Scrivener, so I’ve struggled to decide whether to settle with Ulysses or Scrivener. A significant issue with Scrivener is it uses DropBox for syncing. It is clunky. That said, an advantage of Scrivener for all types of writing (short and long-form) is I can bulk export everything to a variety of formats, including Markdown. Unlike Ulysses, Scrivener exports attachments, e.g., images, to the same folders. And there is the fact that there is no subscription. :slightly_smiling_face:

That is a shock. If you have a change of heart, then I look forward to your spirit quest to find the ideal romance novel writing app… :wink: (We already know it won’t be Google Docs)


In which case, having gone to the dark side, I’d probably need to go to the dark web for my writing. Given that I celebrated my 42nd wedding anniversary yesterday, I don’t think writing romance novels is likely. :slightly_smiling_face:


This is why it is crazy for people earning a living using their own gear to rely on free 3rd party services. If your business relies on it, it’s worth paying money for business level apps. Or at least leaning how to do it yourself. I used OneDrive for my financial documents, but I always had them backed up in at least 3 other places because they were important to me.

Granted people like the person in the article don’t know any better, and I don’t know how you fix that. They won’t learn until something like this happens.

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I hope the Wired story helps her recover her files, but this could probably have been avoided for $6/month. A Google Workspace administrator has the ability to contact Google Support for assistance.

And even the free Gmail version allows you to download Google Docs in a number of standard formats.

Or export all your data, mail, calendar, contacts, etc. at takeout.google.com


But, can she do this once locked out?

Download/export her files? Not if she cannot log in.

I routinely export important Doc/Sheets files as Word/Excel as a backup. And I have an automatic export of all my data files/photos/mail, etc. scheduled once a month.

Regular files PDF, TXT, etc. are constantly being synced to my Mac for backup.

People I encounter who use Google Docs assume that they’re backed up somehow. It’s part of the spin from the cloud. It’s always been my fear using cloud services that I would lose access even for a while due to Google/Microsoft/Amazon mistakenly suspending my account.

Native Google Docs in particular require effort to back up, as all that’s stored on your disk is a pointer to an online file (although you can use GDocs to edit Word documents).

I’ve switched to Obsidian (with sync) for all my writing from Google Docs and enjoy being able to see how everything works and how it’s saved.


Totally agree

If you are not the customer then you are the product.

Free is great for learning or for fun - but not for any data you would miss if you lost it.


The majority of people I’ve encountered never even think about back ups until they have lost all their photos, files, etc.


While I enjoy the convenience if iCloud syncing so I can get to my files from any device, I spend the money for adequate SSD space so I can keep all files local. I do not use optimize storage. That enables me to have full backups to multiple destinations.


I believe this story has been written before, it sounds a lot like Kafka’s The Trial! Of course Kafka never dreamed of the internet, but he sure nailed the faceless bureaucrats that can turn your life into a nightmare.


Many people, which includes me, don’t think that “sync” to cloud services is a reliable backup. If something happens deliberately/accidentally, e.g. deleting files, the flaw is “instantly” synced to the other device (server or local) and “poof”, backup is gone.

I use sync services to SYNC, and use other methods for more secure backups. The 3-2-1 Method, explained fully on internet places, is a good start.


My multiple backups are to local drives, one by the iMac and space on a file & edia server in the basement. Back blaze with full year versioning for off site. I also test the backups at least every quarter.

Neither sync nor raid are backups. One is for ease of access and the other is for fault tolerance.


Blaze is the right word If one is only backing up to local media then there is a risk of total loss in the event of a fire, which is why back in the day backup tapes and exchangable disks were taken off site. Now we can use the cloud as off site storage.

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I think it should make it more likely. Clearly you are doing well at marriage. Though, it might not be as marketable.

Romance novels usually are associated with “steamy.” I doubt my wife would countenance my writing one. Besides, my wife gets more credit than I do for a great marriage. She is a saint. :slightly_smiling_face:


Romance novels are missguided romance. :slight_smile:

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