Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hurricane Preparedness (for Writers)

We are now at the peak of hurricane season, as evidenced by Fay, Gustav, Hanna, Ike...

I appreciated the 4 or 5 inches of rain that Hanna sent Raleigh's way a few weeks ago. But, we all know that with the bigger storms, manuscripts that are lying around the house can be damaged. Water and paper are not exactly friends. Therefore, we writer's must be prepared! And so, I suggest this Hurricane Preparedness List:

Prior to any hurricane -- once the children, spouse, pets, and family photos have been wisely ferried to appropriate, steel-lined, cement buildings (preferably somewhere in Central Canada...or perhaps Kansas), gather these supplies:

Preparedness Packet for Writers:

1.) Large Inner Tube (with something in the middle to cover up the hole. I leave this to your own creativity).

2.) Large plastic trash bag (super hefty -- all the following items will go inside of it...)

3.) The key (to your bank lock-box in Kansas, or Central Canada, where you have already wisely stowed both digital and printed copies of all of your manuscripts in their most current possible state.) Note* If you have not done this and a hurricane is on your doorstep, email the manuscripts to the most responsible person you know who lives in Kansas or Central Canada, my friend, and hope that they recieve them and can save them to disk for you before a tornado comes through and knocks out their power. Yes, silly, DO IT RIGHT NOW!

4.) Your laptop (batteries fully charged, so that you will have at least 2.5 hours worth of writing that you can get done while you are waiting for the power to come back on at your inlaw's house -- or worst case scenario -- at the nearest shelter.)

5.) Six of the YA or children's books you've been most wanting to read. (Yes, go to the library to get these the day before the hurricane arrives. Libraries tend to close during hurricanes and you don't want to be without them!) You'll be a hero at the shelter, reading to all of those kids! And you'll be able to count the hours as "work time" when you file your taxes, because a writer MUST read other samples in their genre, afterall!

6.) A print- out of the most recent copy of your current work, in a 3-ring binder, triple-wrapped in plastic, with a pack of pens and a highlighter tightly attached. This will be invaluable for getting some revising done during all of the down-time you might experience if the governor announces: "We know you are anxious to get back to your homes, but PLEASE wait until we get the drinking water cleaned up, and the power back on -- we expect that this will take about a week..."

7.) Lantern-style Flashlight with extra batteries. You want to be able to SEE your manuscript, no matter where you are. So it's important to think of these details.

8.) Cell phone. Fully charged. If that editor from New York (where there is no hurricane, most likely,) calls to ask you to write a personal memoir on this current (actual) life crisis, do you want to miss that call? I THINK NOT!

9.) Rope. To attach all of this stuff to the inner tube, of course, silly! Make sure that everything's well encased in the plastic bag and secured to the tube before you head out of your front door with it. But also make sure that the bag has no air pockets causing it to stick UP in places. You don't want to increase the aerodynamic-potential of the tube, for God's sake! It will be windy out there, and this is a tricky endeaver.

10.) Second to last, but not least. Drug of Choice - chocolate, caffeinated beverage, herbal tea -- whatever most brings your muse to life. I recommend at least 3 days' worth. But remember, this has all got to fit on your inner tube, (looking, I suspect something like Yertle on top of his precarious stack of turtles.) So pack wisely. Twelve 40-oz cokes may be a bad idea in this case. They are heavy. Then again, those might keep the inner tube from lifting off, so, hmmm...

11.) Sense of humor. Without that, we'd all be lost. Best of luck to those drying their pens after Ike and Gustav.

May our writing continue -- whatever the weather.


Craft Write said...

Great list, Janelle. I thought of something else, but don't know where to get it. I showed a video to my students the other day about some cave divers. They had pens and pads that you could write on under water. Looked pretty cool. So, even as the rains come in and you just thought of that one last line that will sell the book, you can still get it down on something!

C.R. Evers said...

LOL! great list Janelle! You are such a dedicated writer. I feel so unprepared. Now that you have provided me with such a thorough list, I shall now go shopping! :0)


Bish Denham said...

Very funny Janelle :O

Ike missed us entirely where we are in Texas. Not a bit of wind, not a drop of rain...and we sure could have used the rain...we are so very dry here this year.

Linda said...

Too funny Janelle!!
I have now revised my emergency preparedness list. I had to make room for these essentials so I had to take out most of the toilet paper and the blanket, I figured the paper would suffice if need be. I also practiced securing my garbage bag to my inner-tube. Word of advice, secure the bag AFTER you get outside as it won't fit through the door, without dumping.

Janelle said...

Glad Ike missed you, Bish! Sounds like a lot of people got more water from him than they had hoped for, alas!

I can see how the underwater pens and pads could be useful, Kathy. And will happily add them to my preparedness list!

Although, if we have writers out there still trying to get down those last few brilliant lines of text before evacuating, with water streaming into their homes --- I'd suggest they hop on top of those writing supplies on their inner tubes and head on out, ASAP! : )

Linda - great advice on the door and inner tube problem! Well noted! And I agree - who needs two kinds of paper?!

Christy, happy shopping!

Janelle said...

I must admit that when Hanna came our way I DID charge both my phone and my computer the day before, and did buy the lantern flashlight and two plastic coated giant packs of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups . lol. So -- this list is not so far fetched as one might think. : )



Writers are people of action many times and not simply people of words. :) - Janelle

C.R. Evers said...

Hey Janelle,

Go check out my blog! I've tagged you in a meme! :0) Tag. You're it!


C.R. Evers said...

Hey! It's me again again. I tagged you for the "I love your blog" award nomination on my blog today. I'm going to keep you busy. :0)


SAVanVleck said...

One additional safeguard that I do is a flash drive. I update to my flash drive all the time and wear it around my neck often, when I am traveling. This is in addition to a twice monthly CD backup and, at this point, a paper copy or two.

I'll have to keep a ziploc to put the flash drive in, in case of a flood.

Janelle said...

Good point about both the zip drive (and the ziploc,) Sheryl!

I love zip drives! They can hold so many novels at once!

kathleen duey said...

Not limited to hurricanes...

I attach every single file I have touched at the end of every single day, clearly labeled,to an email sent to both my yahoo and gmail accounts. Once a month, I make a total word-files CD and store it in the suitcase that holds my wild-fire evac stuff. Here in So CA it's, fire, not water...


Janelle said...

Hi Kathleen! Glad to see you stoping by here! - Janelle

Carol Baldwin said...

Fun to read 4 years later. I wonder if Kathleen still emails her files to herself using her gmail account --or if she's now using an online service like drop box. COuld you ask her in your September interview? Looking forward to reading that one. I am a long time Kathleen Duey fan!