It looks like Hurricane Sandy is going to hit the East Coast like a fist. Even here in far northern New Hampshire, with an entire mountain range between us and the shoreline, the local public works guys are pre-positioning road barriers and suchlike in case of flooding from heavy rain. (When you have local landmarks with names like Roaring Brook, it’s not hard to guess what lots of rain coming down on the tops of the local mountains can do to the land at the bottom.) And everybody in Vermont is hoping that this storm doesn’t decide to pull an Irene and come ramping and stamping up the Connecticut River Valley, because some places over there haven’t yet recovered from the last set of floods. And all of our friends on the coast, from Boston down to Baltimore, are white-knuckling it while they wait to find out just where Sandy’s punch is going to strike hardest.
If you’re in any of the likely-to-be-affected areas, don’t forget to secure your writing while you’re bringing the lawn chairs inside and laying in a supply of bottled water and batteries. Nobody wants to be left in the position of having to either rewrite an entire book from the beginning or toss it out as an impossible job.
There are a number of different ways to make certain your work-in-progress stays safe. Offsite backup to the cloud, via services like Dropbox or Google Drive, is a good starting point. (If you don’t like or trust cloud computing, you can always e-mail a copy of the current WIP to a trusted friend.) A flash drive or portable hard drive that you can shove into your pocket or your laptop case on the way out the door is also a good idea — that way, if you end up crashing for a week with Great-Aunt Eunice who lives in a big house on high ground with no internet and a dozen cats, you can still keep on working as long as you’ve got power.
As for the storm itself — you’re a writer. Observe, and take copious mental notes. It’s what we do.