Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bears repeating: back up your work

Save, save, save.
My hard drive crashed at the start of February. It was not pleasant, but this is what I had done that made it far from heartbreaking.
  • I had backed up all my files in September on an external drive. Should have done it more often than that, but I wasn't worried because....
  • I got an account with Dropbox and set that up to automatically save all my writing files (the main files that change)
  • I printed out a hard copy of a short story I had made changes to
  • My husband had backed up almost all our house building pictures on his computer. However, he was missing the stop-action video I had been building.
What did that leave?  The twenty pictures I had taken that morning, spent several hours working through, and fallen in love with. My computer died that evening. OUCH! (And I had removed all files from my camera memory since the majority had been backed-up. I thought what are the chances I could lose these few pictures before I get a chance to back them up.)

My heart was not broken, but I was very disappointed.  While I was waiting to find out if my files were salvageable, I took a stab at replacing those twenty pictures. The two best that I could not get out of my mind were impossible to reproduce.  But I found some great new shots that I wouldn't have gotten if I hadn't lost the original twenty.

Then what happened. My files were recovered -- all of them. So along with my first twenty and those two favorites I picked up another twenty shots with several more favorites.

Lesson reinforced?  Save your work. Back it up. Prepare for the worst so you lose the least. And be ready for the bonuses that come from not sitting down and weeping over the loss. Back those files up.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Excuses, excuses, and no more excuses.

One simple rule.
I have had several rules over the years that have served me very well. One rule is that if I have a goal, I should never stop pursuing it. This rule has a kissing cousin that follows the same determination just replace "goal" with "habit." It is my belief that once you turn away from a goal however briefly or take a break from the habit, then you have opened wide the probability that you will cease the pursuit or will falter in maintaining the habit. To not continue means I came up with a plausible excuse, and I will come up with more.

So a few weeks ago my computer hard drive flat lined (the black screen of doom). I sought immediate assistance from my local computer guru.  She sent me to Best Buy Geeks when her skills at resuscitation failed to bring it back or recover my files.

The Geeks saved my files, and I purchased a new hard drive. I then located another operating system and tracked down the various programs I had loaded.  All well and good.

But it took more than three weeks to pull this all together.  Excuse number one: I can't write a post and upload it if I don't have my computer.

Medical issues of the family sort came up in three different versions.  Excuse number two: I am so stressed waiting for results and imagining how bad this and that could get.

School took on another level of demand. Excuse number three: I have to get this grading done, plan for next week and coach my students for competition. I haven't any time.

Lack of communication between siblings wreaked havoc on my decision-making apparatus (known as the brain to common folk). Excuse number four: My extended family is twisting me in knots.

And the list got longer as did the time since I last posted to my blog or I last wrote something for my new book.

My rule has been for the most part rarely tested. Never longer than a day ..... until now. I kept coming up with excuses and buying every last one of them.

The computer is fixed; medical issues are under treatment and improving by the day; communication is still lax, but I am not letting that stop me from dealing with what must be dealt with; and here I am writing a post about not writing posts because I let one excuse turn into many.

So new rule: No Excuses.

 How do you keep yourself on track?