Have a writer in your life? Want to encourage them in their endeavors? Christmas is coming up quickly, but there is still time to get that perfect gift for your writer friend/relative.
Have no funds? You really don’t need to purchase a thing. The best gift (in my opinion) is the gift of time. If you are a relative, offer to do the laundry, make dinner, shovel the sidewalk clear, or mow the lawn. This will free up valuable time for your writer to put butt in chair and write without worrying about those common, everyday distractions that we all must tend to. If your writer friend has children or elderly parents to babysit, offer to watch them for a few hours. It would be especially nice if you could make a habit of it, say every Friday from 3 – 6? (Hint, hint…)
Books (of course!) are always a welcome gift, and writers need their libraries full of reference books. Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley is excellent. On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner, also good. Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way Every Day is a daily reminder. Having had attended some of her workshops at the San Francisco Writers Conference, I can attest that Martha Alderson’s Blockbuster Plots: Pure & Simple is a good reference, especially if you find yourself stuck. (Currently using this one.)
Another good gift option is online backup. When you have hundreds of thousands of words saved in digital files and can barely remember what you had for dinner last night, much less remember to manually back up, you need a little automatic help. I have been using Carbonite for years, and it’s saved me when three of my laptops have died. Every time I power my laptop, it backs up – a no brainer. For me, it’s been more than worth the $59 a year.
Gifting an online class is also a good idea. SavvyAuthors and Litreactor are but a few of the web sites offering classes on craft, queries, and even design, most of which are given by authors, agents, and others in the publishing business.
Having taken a class with Michelle Richmond, I would highly recommend gifting classes, reference books, or even a personal session with this best selling author. You can find her store here, or you can purchase her novels on Amazon or any retailer.
Depending on your writer, blank notebooks are also a great gift and will be well appreciated. I’m a strong advocate of keeping a small notebook on your person at all times. Doing so prevents the use of napkins or Taco Bell wrappers when inspiration strikes – items that can be easily tossed into the trash, because…well, it looks like trash. I personally like the pretty, small notebooks for such tasks. I also use a full-size Moleskine with graphing lines for each novel I’m working on (or if I’m in a class). The squares make it easy to plot out your story line into a graph, or if you need to make a calendar in order to keep your events straight. I’ve also given each character a page and a color and can cross-reference the number of times they appear in my novels. Moleskine also offers an “Evernote” which I have but haven’t figured out how to use yet. It takes your notes from your Moleskine and somehow through the magic of technology, transfers from paper into your computer. (Yeah, right.)
In 2017, I’m going to use a Hobonichi, only because I will be prompted to write something every day. Like the Moleskine I like, the pages are graphed. I’m using a big one for creative thoughts and the smaller one for work.
Speaking of notebooks, if your writer has a favorite pen or pencil, consider buying those for gifts. (I like the Pilot G2 07 pen in black but mostly use the Papermate Sharpwriter #2 pencil. Erasures, you know…)
No matter who your writer is, there’s a perfect gift for them just around the corner. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments. There is no such thing as too many good suggestions.