Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Final Details (of a writer's life)

Of all the things a writer writes in his life, the final details are arguably some of the most important...

Today I'm writing about something that none of us like to think about. The final details of a writer's life--the details that are critical they be left behind and spelled out clearly.  I was inspired to do so by some recent sad events in my writing world.

In May, only weeks after I'd met her in person as she traveled through my part of the world, a writing friend died unexpectedly. While I read a wonderful memorial post written by a mutual author friend, the words really sunk in. There were unfinished projects.The mutual friend had been critting with and for her for quite some time. And not only was she grieving the loss of a wonderful friend, she was grieving the unfinished stories she'd been looking forward to seeing completed.

Unfinished projects.

Two weeks later, my dear friend, editor, and crit partner died unexpectedly. He was an extremely private person. I believe I am the only person who has copies of his writing files. But now, this crazy-good book that was 2/3 finished will likely never see the light of day.

These horribly sad and unexpected deaths, and the unfinished projects left in their wake, compel me to consider intellectual property rights beyond my death.

My daughter knows--I've told her many times, that she will inherit all of my unpublished books, every manuscript and outline, every file of story ideas...  But if I died tomorrow, no one would have passwords to retrieve these files, No one has passwords to my online sites such as this blog, or facebook, emails, or Twitter.

Knowing who will inherit our unfinished business isn't enough. Our survivors need access to the things we want them to have access to. The final details need to be shared.

Taking it a step further, designating in a legal will who inherits these things is something all writers should consider.

There's some general information at this site: Estate Planning for Intellectual Property Rights

Another good article (the first of a series on IP Estate planning) Writers in the Storm 

On November 3, 2014, I ran across this article and am adding it to the list: What Happens to Your Data After You Die?

There. I've gone ahead and broached the subject. I've shared my personal sad experience over the last two months in spite of not wanting or liking to talk about it. But it had to be said. And as much as you, dear readers, don't like to think about it... please do.

Do you already have a plan in place?


  1. A very important post, Teresa, and helpful. My husband and I have lost some very dear people to us in the past few years, which set us to talking about when our turn comes, but it never occurred to me that survivors and executors would need passwords to accounts. It's amazing what we don't think about. Thanks for the reminder. Meawhile, please accept my condolences for your losses. Friends become like family in so many ways; the loss of a friend is a very big loss.

    1. I never occurred to me either, Elizabeth. My husband and I have done some talking about it, too. Things we never gave a thought to when we were younger. :-) I agree that friends become like family. I am sorry for your losses, as well. And thank you for stopping by for a visit.

  2. Our cyber legacies are the next things we need to consider. I hear about this issue all the time. Will my kids know they get royalties? If they don't have the information, how will they cancel my blogs and website and whatever else I have going on. Oye!

    And about losing our writer friends. . .Sadly, I can speak to that. I have had two excellent writers in my life who have died so young and without finishing their beautiful stories. There's something about the unfinished story that is so painful.

    1. Yes...well expressed, Lee. Our "cyber legacies".

      An unfinished story goes hand in hand with the unfinished life its author left behind. Very painful...

      Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts.

  3. No, I don't have a plan in place :( All my writing is on my laptop, but there's the important aspect of all those online sites. My family has no idea what's out there, let alone how to unlock them.

    1. It's such an unpleasant thing to think about, Ian. But it's real. As Lee mentioned in her comment-- "royalties". Something you'll consider now that you're published. Thanks for giving this a read.

      Are you on vacation yet?? :-)

  4. wow. so sorry for your loss, and his family's.
    but i appreciate you sharing this important subject.
    i will have to look into it...

  5. This is a very important post and thank you for bringing it out there. As I mentioned last week, I had to deal with a family emergency - this week has been filled with the finality of death and while the individual was not a writer, we all found ourselves saying, "How did she do this again?" We all need to prepare for our survivors to survive. We need to leave written instructions, discuss our final wishes, and make sure there is some "back-up" plan in place
    I am very sorry for the losses you recently experienced, my heart goes out to you and the families of these individuals. Hopefully we can learn the valuable lesson you allude to and make sure that life goes on even after we do not. Sending you hugs.

    1. Thanks, Chelle. And I am so sorry for your loss. A big hug to you!

      This is so true: "...and make sure that life goes on even after we do not."

      To not add layers of difficulty for those we leave behind.

  6. Thankyou for this post, Teresa! so unbelievably sad but a truth we all have to face.

  7. You're welcome, Tamara. :-) I wish it weren't so...