As we are based in southern Florida, we at Professional Editing & Literary Services were heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma. By flood damage? No. By damage to property? No. Damage to life and limb? No. Were we impacted mentally? Creatively? Psychologically? Yes, yes, and, yes.
What specifically about this natural phenomena affected us the most? It was the lead-up, the news coverage, the Governor of Florida telling us, essentially, that this hurricane was going to devastate our state and kill some of its citizens. It was the mile-long lines at Home Depot and gas stations, the water shortages, the houses being boarded up, the feeling that we were slowly watching our fate swirl toward us on CNN. It felt a lot like being in a Stephen King novel.
Now that it's over and the clean-up has commenced, what can we as writers gain from the unstoppable force that is Mother Nature? Experience. We were there when the wind topped out at 125 mph, we know what it looked like, sounded like, felt like. The eery silence of the eye of the storm? We know what that sounded like, what it felt like to get a moments reprieve from the wind, only to have it start up again once the eye had passed.
Experiences are what makes us the writers we are. What we experience is what we write about. Experiences don't have to be as dramatic as a hurricane. An excellent story can be written about the irate woman in the grocery store check-out line or a sad-looking bank teller.
Keep a journal and write down your daily experiences. Draw from them the next time you open your laptop or flip a notebook page.
Write often. Write well.