Make a Writer's Panic List - Don't Fall Prey to Writing Disasters!


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In The Writer magazine some time ago, author Janet Groene said she has a panic list: a list of phone numbers and supplies she keeps handy in case of emergencies. On her phone list are the numbers of her computer consultant, the support lines for the software she uses, her office supply store, an office machine repair shop, and a temp agency that can send over an assistant at short notice. Her emergency supplies include packaging and paperwork for overnight mail and FedEx.

Here are a few more things you should have ready:

Extra batteries of various kinds (for your Palm Pilot, your phone, the portable tape recorder you use for interviews, etc. );

Extra inkjet or toner cartridges for your printer;

An extra memory card for your digital camera, if you use it for work;

An extra hard drive that you can boot up from if your main hard drive crashes;

Stamps and a variety of envelopes;

A fully updated resume in case an editor wants it fast;

A current photo in digital JPEG form (both color and black and white) in case an editor wants to run your photo in a ‘contributors’ section of a magazine;

An extra back-up CD or DVD that you leave with a friend in case your computer is stolen or you have a fire;

An extra email account on a different servier, in case your usual one is down or sluggish.

ACTION: Every person will have his or her choice of items for a panic list, but it's a great idea to have one with at least two options for each type of person you may need to call upon, and two of each of the key items.

Your writing coach Jurgen Wolff shows you how to achieve writing success in his new book, YOUR WRITING COACH (published by Nicholas Brealey Publishing), available now from and and bookstores (find more information at ). He has written more than 100 episodes of television, six non-fiction books, short stories, articles, and plays. He is also an international creativity and writing teacher coach. More tips and techniques are available at his website: , where you can also sign up for his free monthly Brainstorm e-bulletin. Also see his blog at


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