hard lesson learned. or, what to do to prevent Tumblr [or any other platform] from screwing up your hard work.

The moral of yesterday’s lesson: when you create a process for ensuring the safety and sanctity of your work, do not vary from said process.

Perhaps it’s a reminder we all need every so often, given how so much of our knowledge work is created and lives in the cloud these days. I just wish it weren’t such a painful reminder.

So yesterday I drafted a quite nifty little post for this blog. I think it was titled “lawyers should study copywriting.” (I was so frustrated when I realized the posted post contained only the title and one sentence that I deleted it yesterday.)

I’m working out of another office, in another state, this week. I was pressed for time when I wrote the post. I didn’t follow my typical process for making sure I had a back-up before posting the draft. 

I’ve gotten so used to writing directly in the Tumblr editing window that I created a process for saving a copy of the content in another platform to make sure that a random event (browser or network crash or Tumblr screw up, etc.) didn’t destroy my work. 

The back-up process: I view the draft post in “Preview on blog” mode within Tumblr and save to Evernote periodically. If Tumblr screws it up, I can simply pull it up in Evernote and copy/paste into a new Tumblr window. I’ve had to do this more times than I can count on all of my fingers so far.

Sadly, I failed to do it yesterday. The post was flowing, I was pushing myself to finish. And when I opened the draft to edit and hit “post,” the new post contained exactly a headline and one sentence. The other 700+ or so words I wrote? POOF. Gone.

So. From now on, no matter the circumstances, I shall not vary from my process. A somewhat excruciating reminder of the importance of a process, but one I will take to heart. Choosing to believe that such things aren’t unintentional in a karmic sense is often what keeps me from going over the edge.

So, if you’re working on important stuff that relies solely on the smooth functioning of one app or one platform or one machine, ask yourself these questions: How can I not rely solely on the ONE? How can I create another copy or another way to access, in case the ONE fails?

The time to create and use a process that backs up your important work is NOW, and not after tragedy strikes. 

And it bears highlighting that I’m focusing here specifically on work you may be doing that is ephemeral if the ONE fails. This isn’t solely an issue of backing up your Word files via a server/external HDD/online service. This is also about backing up the work you do on any platforms that “live” other than on the hard drive you’re backing up, e.g. Tumblr, WordPress.com, Blogger, and a plethora of others.

Spend a few minutes to create a thoughtful back up process. And then follow it. Each and every time.

And now I shall go follow my own advice.