Hearts Through History Romance Writers

How Ready Are You?

by | March 13, 2011

The horrible earthquake in Japan reminded me of how natural disasters can impact all aspects of life.

Here’s an article I wrote for our chapter’s new letter several years ago, right after one of the large brush/forest fires that routinely hit Souther California.

How ready are you?

As I’m sure you all know, the San Diego area has been on fire for the last week. We live in a suburb of San Diego, and last Sunday morning when I got up the air smelled of smoke the sun of just a orange ball (you could look directly at it) because of the smoke. This was at 7 am, and the TV told me the fire was forty miles away.

Well, brush fires are not uncommon in Southern California, so we went on with our usual business.

By noon, the fire was only twenty miles away, so I told my dh to get a box out of the garage and I started putting all the thing I couldn’t live without in it in case we had to evacuate.

I put in the important papers (birth, marriage, DD214, etc), and photos of weddings and graduations, etc. The good jewelry my husband bought me. A bag with a couple of changes of clothes and underwear, a book (with four novels) and some needlework just in case I got stuck in a shelter for a few days.

And of course, I packed all my back up disks with all my mss, letter to editor/agents, articles I’ve written, any thing to do with my writing. And just as I entered my office to pick up these disks — the power went out. What if I’d waited to do the back up??

As it turned out, they stopped the fire about ¼ mile from our house. We and the neighbors spent all afternoon and evening at the end of the street watching the flames come closer and closer.

So we were lucky, just a lot of clean up and unpacking and a hard time breathing until yesterday when the weather changed.

The moral of this to all you writers is WHERE IS YOUR BACK UP FOR YOUR WRITING?

Even in my critique group, when we finish a ms., we put it on a disk and give it to someone else in the group, or take a copy to work. What good will it do if your back up disk is next to your computer when it burns down?

Yes, and I knew there are ways to do off site storage on line, but I’m too computer inept to deal with that, so as long as disks work, that’s how I’ll do my back up.

Just as a side note, when I taught a workshop on POV at our chapter, I went back and found, on disk, the first draft of a scene from my first ms., where I’d changed POV every paragraph. Although I’d written it in WordPerfect 5.1 (the best !!), my WordPerfect 10 pulled it right up, and I used the first draft against the final version at the workshop to show how I changed from switching POV every paragraph for four pages in to one POV change, and made the scene work better. And all because I had the back up disk to go back too.

So thanks for letting me share this with you. And go make those back up disk and update it as often as possible.

Terry Irene Blain
(cough, cough)




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