The Perfect Storm–August IWSG Post

Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, founder of the IWSG site. You can sign up here. Or click the badge below. 

The Perfect Storm

by Lauri Corkum
I think it’s safe to say that we, as writers, are a pattern driven, superstitious bunch. The conditions have to be just right—it’s almost like the planets have to align before we can put words on paper. Okay… perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But truthfully, at times, our routines border on the bizarre. So, what happens to our writing day when everything goes spectacularly wrong?
I had one such day… well; actually, it was a day that turned into a week (plus). I live in Florida. The Sunshine State. NOT! We have more storms, more lightning strikes per capita than any other state. One poorly directed bolt hit my house, frying an entire circuit breaker and, more importantly, the power to my office and my cable internet. I spent hours on the phone with the cable company, but the issue was frustratingly persistent. Apparently, the lightning strike had done substantial damage and I was going to be “unplugged” until a service technician could make a house call. Six days later, he arrived and thought he fixed the problem. However, he neglected to check my internet fully, and the router was not functioning. It was a casualty of the storm as well.
So, a few days later, I ran to Best Buy to get a new router. I hooked it up all on my own, running an extension cord from the living room into my office as that room was still without power (courtesy of the storm and I had yet to get an electrician out to fix the blown circuit). Now, I bet you’re thinking that the stress involved in dealing with this mess totally stifled any creativity I had. But, a strange thing happened. While I was “unplugged”, my characters started talking to me. And lo and behold, entire conversations, fleshed out scenes, and intricate plot twists started flowing out of me and onto the page of my notebook. Yes, I put pen to paper the old fashioned way.
Being stressed, frustrated, and technologically free actually helped my creativity in ways I never would have expected. My novel veered off in a surprising direction, and I was more productive during the chaos than I was amid my carefully constructed routines. Live and learn, fellow writers. Trust me… you don’t need lightning to strike before, well… before lightning strikes. You know what I mean! Happy writing! 

Note from Sheryl: I copied the same post to WordPress because I forgot (until too late) that I had Alex change the link. It doesn’t matter where you read, just that you do. And let us know if you’ve ever had lightning strike where it matters most, your ideas.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Ah ha! You’re not the first person to tell me that routine kills inspiration! Or something like that anyway… So, shaking things up really shakes things up! And a bit of lightening doesn’t hurt? Food for thought…

  2. Unplugged is the way to go! I always write by hand for a first draft. It keeps me from backspacing to do immediate edits, and the characters continue to talk. Those first round of edits happen when I put the scenes into the computer.

    LOVE this way of writing!!!!!

  3. I do a lot of my writing in a notebook, a paper notebook, with a pen just for this reason. Well, not because I got struck by lightning but because I can be away from the computer.

  4. Completely unplugged meant no distractions from the Internet. Although crappy way to achieve that. Sorry about the lightning strike.

  5. Its truly amazing the creativity that happens when we’re not checking twitter, FB, blogger, or e-mail. Sorry about your internet problems, but they seemed to have served a purpose. Have you asked your characters if they sabotaged your day life to be heard properly?

  6. It’s a great story. The magic of pen to paper: it only requires pen and paper – no modern technology – and this can take us closer to our true creative selves than we ever imagined.

  7. Sorry about the lightning strike, but it’s amazing how you found the rainbow at the end of the storm! You managed to persevere under the worst circumstances. Glad you were rewarded in the end!


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