Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When Writers Have Emergencies

Writers are such fierce, independent freelancers, they often don't consider emergencies shutting them down. But emergencies happen. If you are a writer living along the Mississippi River right now, you are standing knee-deep in the midst of an emergency. So what do you do?

1. If you evacuate, grab your past tax returns, current records, laptop and flash drives. To receive emergency funds, you might have to prove your income. As a freelancer, you can't get a note from your employer. Many people claim to be writers these days, but if you indeed write for a living, PT or FT, insure you have proof you are.

2. Make sure your website is up to date. My resume is online with links to many places that prove I write. Keep your online profiles and websites current. When you are in dire straights, those online sites are proof of what you do for a living.

3. Contact your state arts commission. Believe it or not, they kick in with assistance during such times. The Tennessee Arts Commission has an Emergency Preparedness page on its website for those on the Mississippi River. SouthArts has a site for artists in the South. Here's the site for Mississippi.

4. Check out the FundsforWriters website at the grant page where you'll find over two dozen emergency connections for writers with financial emergencies. Many FundsforWriters readers have confirmed that these organizations work, assuming you qualify.  As always, you have to confirm your efforts in writing as a profession.

5. Legal fees. Dealing with an unscrupulous publisher at a magazine...defining a contract in a writing partnership...retrieving your rights to a manuscript. Sometimes you need an attorney. Lawyers for the Creative Arts is one pro-bono connection. Then there's Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Starving Artists has a great page with a list of volunteer lawyers for the arts. And of course always contact your state arts commission.

Crap happens. Don't think that because you write for a living that you aren't eligible for assistance. Just be prepared to prove your profession and provide them what they need to aid you to their utmost ability. There is hope.


Sioux Roslawski said...

I had not even thought about a group like a state Arts Commission being available for assistance during an emergency. Now the question is, if I have to deal with an emergency, will I remember your words of wisdom? Will my swiss cheese of a brain retain the information you passed on? Will memory be victorious over hot flashes? We'll hopefully never have to find out...

Carol J. Alexander said...

When I first started out I heard a woman at a conference share how she keeps a back-up hard-drive in a fireproof safe. I didn't understand until I started working on big stories with a lot at stake if all was lost.
Thanks for a great reminder, Hope.

BECKY said...

Wonderful advice, Hope! I hadn't thought of things like this, either...other than saving my laptop! :D

dtgooden said...

I loaded all my fiction onto Dropbox, which updates all files on saving and shares them between my various computers. It was a load off my mind to know I didn't have to scrambled to save my laptop in fire, flood or tornado.