Yesterday I had one of those catastrophic computer adventures, one that left my Mac in an endless startup loop until I ultimately overwrote my entire drive with a back-up copy I made a couple of days before. [Aside: You are backing-up, right? Between storing work on cloud services and maintaining a modestly obsessive back-up regimen, I managed to not lose anything due to this little adventure. If you don't remember the last time you backed up your files, now might be a great time to do so.]
Both the aftermath and the actual math (is that a word?) of this potential computing disaster convinced me yet again that this is the greatest time in the history of written language to be a writer.
First of all, I was able to quickly recover from the catastrophe. While I thought the entire process took an eternity to remedy, in actuality the problem started when I tried to get to work around 7:00 in the morning and was fully resolved by noon. Five hours to recover years of work isn't too bad. Compared to having your manuscript accidentally (or perhaps intentionally) lost, mutilated, or burned, this was a trivial nuisance. Plus, I didn't really have to recover much of anything, because only about three pieces of flash fiction from my vacation lived no place other than on my local drive; everything else was saved on cloud storage. While returning my computer to a functioning state, I was able to get back to work on other devices by pulling down works-in-progress from the cloud.
On the topic of other devices, I should mention that for far less than a thousand dollars I bought what is essentially a slab of computing glass. In addition to making phone calls and sending emails and surfing the web, I can actually write stuff by pecking around on a "virtual" keyboard displayed on that glass. I can use that computing glass to retrieve documents I wrote on my computer for editing and revision anywhere I have wifi or a cellular data signal. If I am delayed in a waiting room, I can actually tweak my phrasing for an old story or start a brand new one. I know that kids these days may find that all blasé, but this Child of the 80's (and 70's, I confess) remembers when you had to carry what you were working on with you, along with extra paper and pens.
I know that some complain about how writing is just too darn easy these days, that without having to pound out text on a manual typewriter the non-serious can now dabble in the craft. I say that's all nonsense. Today I can write more easily than pretty much anyone else in the history of humanity. Twain could only dream of the tools available to a rank amateur like me, although even his prodigious imagination would have balked if someone told him about the slab of computing glass I can use for my editing. I now have tools to create more and better work than any writer from a prior generation; I simply have to develop my skills to make the most of those tools.
Even if those tools fail sometimes, this is still the best time in the history of written language to be a writer.