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Survival For Writers by Jimmy Morris

Some days I wonder how close we are to the end – man seems determined to destroy the world we live in (not this man, no).  We have depleted our natural resources and are a minute from another war, spate of terrorism or nuclear attack.  The current climate in our country seems fatalistic about these things – as if it’s only a matter of when not if.

So what can we do to survive if something bad happens – from a local power outage to a global collapse?  How, as writers, can we get our characters through it, convincingly?  I encourage you to do as much research as you can, which is what we writers do.  But I can also give you some tips on what you need to know and look for when you’re ready to write about the end of the world.

Be Prepared.  I can’t say this enough.  If the world (of your world) goes down the toilet, it will most likely happen fast.  If you’re not prepared, you may not be able to get you and your family though it.  So what steps can you take to be prepared?

  • Make a plan.  There will be a need to know where your family and/or friends are and how you can find them in the event of an emergency.  Chances are your cell phones, computers, et cetera, may be useless, so you should have a system in place to communicate (CB, ham radio, walkie-talkies), a place to meet and an idea of how you will survive and protect each other.
  • Survival essentials.  You’ll need the basic necessities for survival, including water, food, fuel/power, medical supplies, documents (ID, birth certificates) and some means of financial-type support (gold, gems, et cetera).
  • Security.  In a situation where food, water, and other survival essentials are in short supply, you will almost certainly find people who are willing to steal (and perhaps even kill) to obtain these things if they do not have them.  You must decide how to protect yourself and your family, assess the situation to know whether you can stay in place and get through it or if there is a need to move out and find a safer place to hunker down.  Do you need a gun?  If so, what kind of gun would be most effective – a rifle, a handgun, more than one?

These are all things that are important to think about before something goes sideways.  Preparing ahead of time will help you be ready if the time comes.  You can find many resources online about how to prepare a bug-out bag, how to treat water or store it , food storage and other essentials you will need in the case of an emergency.  Again, I’m not necessarily talking a global impact – it could be something as simple as a huge storm that leaves your home and your town without safe water, electricity, food, whatever.  If you’re prepared for something big, you’ll be prepared for something small.

Knowing what to do in an emergency is your best defense and your best weapon.  Knowing what your characters would need to know and what supplies they would have to have to make it through will make your writing authentic and compelling.

I’ll be teaching a class on Survival for Writers for Savvy Authors on April 25th.  Find the information below.

I hope you’ll join me!


On the 25th of April, Jimmy’s workshop: Suvival For Writers starts. 

Workshop Blurb: The end of the world has been predicted many times throughout our history, but would you know how to survive if the world as you know it changed completely overnight?
Do you know what to do, where to go, who to contact? Can you provide for yourself and your family?


In these days of dystopian novels (Hunger Games, Maze Runner), have you ever thought what you would do if this happened to you? You have to know or you won’t be able to write about it convincingly.


In this workshop, we’ll talk about what would happen if you woke up to a world you didn’t know – how to find water, what to do for food, fuel and communications, the security aspects of staying put or getting out and what to invest in when money has no value. Bring a scene from your apocalyptic novel and we’ll see what’s right and what’s wrong!


For more information, check it out here.

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My name is Jimmy Morris, and I’ve been a sniper, private investigator, cop, survivalist and lots of other things in my somewhat long career (not telling my ageJ). Back when I started out in these careers, you didn’t really have to have any formal education, although I was tapped out of college to join the military, where I learned a lot working in the (mostly) intelligence field. I’ve been all over the world and done things I’m not necessarily proud of, but I did it for my country and it brought me to where I am now in life. Been catching bad guys for 30 years and find new things every day. We never stop learning, and we never should.[/box]