The Back-Up Plan

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So anyways, some of you might know that I’m also an astrologer. Although the fiction part of my life crosses over into the astro, I rarely bring the astro here.

Today I’m making an exception- even though it’s Wednesday so I should be posting about writing.

Why? Because I’m about to do my quarterly (or thereabouts) quality check on my back-up plan. And what’s that got to do with astrology? It coincides with the three times a year when the planet Mercury goes retrograde- which it will do in a fortnight.

(That’s a fancy pants astrological term for backwards…although, of course, it doesn’t really go backwards- it just appears to from our position here on Earth. Like when the train beside you appears to be going backwards relative to the speed of the train you’re on. Like that.)

Whatever. Mercury retrograde is one of those terms that’s crossed over from being purely astrological to being relatively well known. Even Dr House mentions it in a few episodes- so it must be legitimate.

Essentially it’s a 3 week (or thereabouts) period when normally smoothly running things tend not to run so smoothly. Things like computers, travel plans, appointments, messages.

Sure, it can be a case of shit happens, but shit tends to happen more regularly when Mercury is retrograde. Believe in it or not, but the incidence of anguished writers lamenting something like the following on their Facebook page tends to increase during this period:

‘My laptop has blue screened and I lost everything.’

‘OMG my manuscript was on that hard drive.’

‘My Mac has died and it looks like everything has gone.’

Hence my back-up plan.

I had a minor panic last Friday when I found out that Miss 17 had taken her airbook to Perisher with her on the annual school skiing trip.

‘What happens if you lose it, or it gets stolen, or it gets broken?’ I screamed via text.

‘It won’t,’ came back the overly confident reply.

‘But what if it does? All your study notes are on that! I need you to hotspot into your phone now- before you lose reception- and make sure that everything is uploaded to dropbox.’

No reply.

‘You do have dropbox, don’t you? We had this discussion at the start of the year…’

‘Chill, Mum…I backed up on the weekend.’

I’ve trained her well.

I’m a tad paranoid when it comes to back-ups. I generally have three copies of everything that’s important (ie manuscripts):

  • The copy on my airbook
  • The copy on the external hard drive that is plugged in whenever I am sitting at my desk.
  • The copy that is saved to Dropbox

In addition to this:

  • My itunes and iphone is backed up automatically to the cloud (you don’t want to know how much music I keep)
  • A few times a year, I also move photo files across to an additional hard drive (I use a Nikon SLR, so my photo files can be huge)

It’s not a perfect system, but it works for me. It also means that in the event of a major hard disk failure or loss of laptop (heaven forbid), the most I’m likely to lose will be a few hours work.

The system got tested last year when I got a sad Mac on my old laptop. The resolution to the issue was a complete wipe of the software, but I was able to restore from the previous back-up. All I lost was a days worth of edits…and a days worth of sleep.

My point? If you don’t have a back-up plan…here’s your reminder to do so!

How do you back-up your work?

Have you ever lost anything you really didn’t want to lose?

If you’re interested in my astro stuff, check out my other website- Jo Tracey Astrology. The link is in the side bar- along with a link to the current months horoscopes…

If you want to know more about Mercury Retrograde, check out this survival guide.

Comments

7 comments on “The Back-Up Plan”
  1. Deborah says:

    Only recently I bought a hard drive and use the Time Machine thingy on my iMac to back it up every few weeks. And I added a plug-in to my site to automatically update it as well!

    Can you remind me in two weeks’ time to be extra vigilant?!!!

    1. Jo says:

      Consider it done!

  2. Is Mercury Retrograde a good time to launch a book? Given that I’ve worked on it in the past (so it shouldn’t be impacted?)

    1. Jo says:

      Funny you should ask- I launched my last one in Mercury Rx. Theoretically? Not really- the Rx is for re words…If you do launch (as I did- in full knowledge that the date I’d chosen was a Rx one), don’t expect mega take-off until after it goes direct again. It won’t impact your work, but rather the launch activity and energy. Thanks for dropping by.

      1. Thanks for the answer. Now I need to push my editor to finish his part!

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