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Writers Need Emergency Preparedness Too

Today started out as one of those days. My husband woke me at O-Dark-Thirty to tell me he was taking my truck to work because his was having mechanical issues. I guess this was kind of him, as it prevented me from wondering if I’d been out sleep-driving and forgotten where I parked, but it took forever for me to fall back asleep. When I finally did, the alarm clock yanked me  into the land of wakefulness, whether I wanted to be there or not.  Okay. Sure, a rotten way to start the morning, but survivable.

Then I heard the first transformer blow.  A short time later, a  second transformer exploded. After that, darkness. Silence. Then I heard a low rumble of evil laughter from the shadows where my deadlines skulked.

mwaahaha!

No wheels, and no power. Not a good combination for anyone who works at home, especially not for writers with deadlines. No power=no internet for research. No wheels = no scooting off to the  library, or anywhere else, for research.

FLOOD! FAMINE! PLAGUE!

You get the idea. After some initial panic and a few text messages, I pulled out the trusty pen and notebook, rooted through the book closet (Yes, I have a closet devoted to books. Doesn’t everyone?) and started doing my research and writing the old-fashioned way.

It’s not the first time a lack of power has interrupted my writing. Over the past few years, we’ve had more than our share of outages at ye old homestead. Hurricane Ike barreled through the Midwest taking out 100-year-old trees and power lines alike leaving us in the dark for days. Then, not too long after that, a killer ice storm plowed over us and plunged us back into the dark ages (literally) for nearly a week.

Acts of nature aren’t the only thing that cause disruption. Today’s transformer fiasco is proof of that. What if your computer crashes? Or, heaven forbid, your house burns? Do you have a backup plan? I recommend making one today.

The essentials:

1. E-mail a daily backup of current projects to yourself at a web-based mail account like yahoo, or google.  That way if something happens to your computer while in the midst of a large deadline, you can still access your work from another computer at another location.

2. Back up current files and research to a flash drive once per week. Include bookmarks to any Internet research you may need to reference.

3. Plan to use a short-term emergency workplace should you not be able to use your normal writing locale for a day. Try a local coffee shop, library, whatever — as long as it is a place where you can go and accomplish your goals it will work.

4. Have a long-term solution in mind. If you are unable to use your workspace or computer for a week or longer, where would you go? What would you do? You might try arranging a reciprocal agreement with a writer friend. She can write at your place if she has workspace issues, in exchange for letting you work at hers.

What plans do you have in place to keep the writing flowing in case of emergency?

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