I'm not one of those people who fancies rules of writing. I believe it's such a personal endeavor, so when some writer says these are the things you must do in order to be a real writer, I tend to want to do the opposite. I prefer writing advice. I can pick and choose the advice that work for me.
My #1 piece of writing advice that I give to anyone who will listen is to write using Scrivener. Some people say 'Word works just fine', and it does. I get that. But Scrivener gives me options for plotting, for saving character profiles, research and other information all in one handy document. It also has an amazing name generator that I've used to name more than one of my characters.
Scrivener can do loads of other things I've never even thought to look at. I have the Scrivener for Dummies book which has helped me learn more. Let's be honest, though. I don't see me reading it cover to cover to discover every single thing the program can do.
The main reason I recommend it is because of the life-saving back-up features. I am pretty darn careful with my writing. I save frequently. One of the reasons I do so is because Scrivener saves a back-up file (more info on that here) each time you save. I used to write and leave my document open for hours at a time. Then I had an oops moment with my dropbox not syncing right between my desktop and laptop. I was able to pull the older back-up from my Scrivener backup. I only lost about five pages. It could have been a lot worse. Now I save my document every time I know it'll be more than twenty minutes to get back to my computer. My Scrivener back-up keeps a copy of each updated version. So if something happened between that update at 10:00 and the one at noon, my butt is covered.
About four months ago, I noticed my Scrivener file was massive, so I decided to delete some of the outdated sub-documents. Such as files imported with CP notes, cut and pasted old drafts, etc. In the process of doing this, I somehow managed to delete my entire manuscript. The manuscript I'd spent the last three years on. Dropbox had already synced, meaning that the file saved there would be empty.
I didn't panic (well, I did for a minute). I went into my Scrivener back-up file and pulled the most recent one and got everything back. Phew!
Now, maybe MS Word has some amazing back-up feature that I'm not aware of. I wouldn't know, I haven't used it in nearly a decade. I use Open Office for my Word Processing needs. Still, I think Scrivener is worth checking out just for the back-up features and the way you can visualize all the data for your project in one place.