What does a writer use? Outside of imagination, experience, and (one would hope) a healthy sense of spelling and grammar, most writers' primary tool is their computer. Whether you have a laptop, a desktop, or a notebook-style machine, chances are you spend a lot of time relying on your computer to help you produce your work.
Which is why it can be extraordinarily disheartening when, for example, one experiences browser problems while researching a fascinating yet complicated post that one had planned for a day such as today, and one's computer crashes three or four times, and one decides that one has had enough for the week.
So. While I'd planned to regale you with interesting and timely information on the changing landscape of the e-book industry this week, my tool apparently has other plans. Instead, I'll talk about the importance of backing up your work.
Whenever you're writing, whether it's a blog post or your Great American Novel, make sure to save frequently. At the least, you should save your file after every sentence. Preferably after every word. Some of you may want to hit that save button after every single keystroke (but if you feel you have to save THAT frequently, you probably like wearing tinfoil hats and calling NASA every other night to report a new alien spacecraft sighting. Really, a save after every word is fine.)
In fact, an even better method of backing up your work is to e-mail your file to yourself. You should do this following each paragraph of prose you type -- it only takes five minutes, and will add mere hours to your writing process. Hours which, I might add, are completely worth the investment, as you will discover the next time your computer freezes when you're right in the middle of working on something complicated.
One caveat: if you own a Mac, forget it. Just write on toilet paper instead, or get a highly trained parrot and dictate your manuscript to him (video evidence below - WARNING: nasty language! :-)
This is S. W. Vaughn, promising a lengthy, informative and interesting post on the e-book industry next week. Now, where did I put that parrot?