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Page 4.

Tornado Season for Writers (Continued from Page 1.)

David Steinkraus

They managed to keep most of their people working by shifting them to other locations, and fortunately the other restaurants are close enough to fill most delivery orders that would have gone to the stricken building.

This time between the struggle of winter and the     distractions of spring and summer is a good time to ask yourself a similar question: What is your disaster plan?

If your home catches fire tomorrow, are you prepared? You may have time to grab the cat, your phone and your laptop, and if all your work is on the laptop you can set up at your favorite coffee shop with minimal disruption. But what if you have a desktop computer, or what if you cannot reach that laptop? Are your working files backed up at some offsite location — perhaps a disk drive deposited with a neighbor or a cloud service — so you can pick up again with minimal delay? Is your important contact information stored off premises so you can call clients, warn them of a delay in their assignments, and keep their goodwill and their business?

It is not only home fires you should worry about. There is also death. No, no one likes to talk about it, but after being born, it is the big reality of life. Do you have a will, and does that will provide for your intellectual property? Let’s have a show of hands: Who thought about IP? That’s what I thought. Neither did I. Yet if you have a book, screenplay, articles, etc., on which you hold copyright and that provide or could provide income, a will ensures those rights and income go to the person you want them to go to. Fail to do this, and state courts decide who gets the residual checks from your four-volume history of Navy Pier. This is no small thing because as we learned in our January legal update program, copyright for works created after Jan. 1, 1978, is the author’s lifespan plus 70 years, and that’s a long time for relatives to earn money from your work.

As I write this in mid-February my friends are just starting the rebuilding process for their restaurant. It was delayed by all the inspectors for all the insurance companies: their insurer, the landlord’s, the insurers for the smoke-damaged businesses, insurers for the company that made the (allegedly) faulty bug light, insurers for the contractor and subcontractor who (allegedly) failed to properly seal the tops of firewalls and thus (allegedly) caused the smoke damage, and so on. If rebuilding goes smoothly, they should be back in business by fall. If disaster strikes you, how long would it take before you and the cat are productive again? 

David Steinkraus

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