With severe weather season upon us, it’s a good time for writers to think about disaster planning. Businesses have disaster plans in place, not just for the possibility of severe weather, but for the potential destruction of their property through other natural disasters—fires, explosions, floods, earthquakes, you name it. No author wants to be trying to save a manuscript with a tornado bearing down. There won’t be time and chances are you won’t even think about protecting your work in a crisis.
- Keep your manuscripts somewhere safe, preferably off site. If you have a publicist, manager, agent, or other trusted individuals make sure they have copies of your work, both completed and in progress. My publicist has copies of most of my works. This same principle is why your attorney has copies of important documents such as wills, healthcare directives, divorce court documents, etc. Safety deposit boxes are also an option.
- Back up your manuscripts regularly. Or, save the information to “the cloud,” which is a server that can accessed via the Internet at any time. Consider keeping your data on more than one cloud.
- If you do keep manuscripts in your residence, place them in a fireproof safe. A good friend’s home was struck by lightning in 2021. Besides the lightning causing a substantial fire, there was extensive water and smoke damage as the fire department extinguished the blaze. Her dwelling had to be completely rebuilt.
Let’s say you’ve taken those proactive steps to protect your writings. Other things to consider:
- When taking cover from a tornado (you’ve gone to the basement or a windowless room), put your shoes on, grab your purse or wallet with your identification, insurance card and money. Credit cards are fine, but cash is always king. ATMs may not be accessible or functioning.
- Most people carry their driver’s licenses and auto/medical insurance information with them, but you will also want to consider your social security card. If you suffer a major disaster that involves the destruction of your town, you’ll need documentation to prove who you are, and begin putting your life back together.
Writers put a great deal of time, sweat, and even tears into their creations, so it’s best to be prepared rather than wondering how in the world your manuscript can be retrieved off that damaged computer.