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Into Thin Air

As an author who hasn't yet published my first novel, I'm seeking out a ton of advice from others. One thing I hear from EVERYONE: the best way to market your first book is to write a second book. So although I'm a month away (roughly) from launching my debut novel, I'm also about halfway done with the first draft for my second book (tentatively titled The Ballot Box). One of the best tools I've used are word sprints (basically setting the timer for X minutes and doing nothing but writing, not even editing). I used today, and I finished a particularly rough scene—Fenway has to confront a painful memory about her past, and it was painful. But, seriously, everyone, I thought I nailed it. It was poignant without being sappy, powerful without being overwrought. And then?

Then I hit the TAB key in WriteOrDie.

And it erased EVERYTHING.

The whole screen went black. There was no scrolling, no back button—nothing. The words I had just written—about 1,050 of the most painful words I had ever managed to put down—were gone forever. doesn't have an auto-save feature in the web version—if you write it, you must copy and paste (or export to a .txt file) in order to keep your words. I never thought hitting TAB would be so catastrophic.

Guess what tool I won't be using anymore?