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I made a mistake, but in my defense my computer updating itself has all been very automatic in the past and so it’s not something I’m used to checking. Also, the reason it wasn’t updating was stupid. Really, really stupid. (On a related note, I did no writing last Thursday but instead watched progress bars fill up very slowly.) On one hand, I’m glad I found out because my computer was getting increasingly glitchy and now it should be fine (or at least fine-er). On the other hand, it took an entire day to fix this stupid thing (and thank you Microsoft for setting up your system in a way that it breaks if I customize it at all).

This has been an unsubtle reminder to be careful about doing maintenance.

First, always backup your files. Most basic form of maintenance there is! Always have an extra copy of your work somewhere, because sometimes accidents just happen and things go crazy.

Second, do the updates. Some are glitchy, sure, but for the most part they’re there to fix the bugs, not make it worse.

Third, don’t assume that things will happen automatically. If you don’t keep up on it, something will fall by the wayside. (Don’t make yourself crazy, just set reminders to watch out for things being lost.)

Fourth, don’t put it all off to do in one big set. Do a little at a time and it won’t be completely insane on one day when it just can’t be put off anymore. Because otherwise you will spend three hours reading while you wait for the critical update to be installed. Which was, admittedly, a pleasant way of spending an afternoon, but not productive.

Yes, this is focused on my recent experience. It’s also something that can be applied to writing. Keeping up with spreadsheets about where you’re sending your book, updating resumes and writing samples, keeping on top of critique partners and their suggestions, it’s all good stuff. Don’t let it fall by the wayside because it just gets too overwhelming to think about.