The 10 Best Gifts for Writers (and three worst)Posted: December 17, 2013
As a commissioned novelist who averages 10 – 15,000 words a week – and the staff writer for a publishing company – I was asked to come up with a list of the best Christmas gifts for writers. I also threw in the three worst – in the interest of my fellow word herders out there. And remember, the most important gift you can give anyone at any time – is love.
The Ten Best Gifts for Writers
Coffee – (Or Tea) – Most writers either need to wake up or stay up. Some specialty coffee (or tea) is always well appreciated.
Gym Membership or Free Pass – Writing is a solitary, sit-down-all-the-time existence. Something that gives writers a chance to get up, be around people and move is a good thing. Exercise is also a great way to get ideas and defeat writer’s block.
Massage Gift Certificate – If your writer doesn’t like working out, loosen up his/her muscles with a nice massage. Relaxation encourages creativity and productivity.
Autographed Books – All writers have writers who inspire them. Give an autographed book to connect your writer to the community of authors. Or, give a gift subscription to Tattered Cover Book Store’s “Autograph Book Club” which sends out a signed book each month.
Staples Gift Card (or any office supply store) – Writers love office supplies. Highlighters, tape, cool labels, index cards – you name it we want it.
Pandora One Subscription – A great way to get into a character’s head is listen to the music that character likes. But, who wants to spend money on music you hate just because you’re writing dialogue for a teenage Goth or an eighty year old big-band fan? Pandora (without commercials and no time limit) can let you design a station for every character.
Cork Board or Dry Erase Board – with pins – Cork boards make great story boards to put up pictures of characters, plot outlines, or descriptions. Dry erase boards let writers dump all their ideas, character names and weird things to remember in one erasable place.
Dyna-Flex Gyro – We might not be surgeons or pool sharks, but – writers need their hands. We type A LOT. Keep your writer carpal tunnel syndrome free with a Dyna Flex. It is a plastic ball with a rotor inside and spins at G Force. A 3 times a day Dyna Flex (2 mins per hand) will keep the doctor away.
Noise Cancelling Headphones – You don’t realize how loud common household stuff is until you try to concentrate. The cat snores, the office lights buzz, the person beside you won’t shut up. Give your writer the ultimate gift – white noise or the ability to control their sound environment via music so they can concentrate.
Specialty Dice – head to any game or comic shop and pick up a couple 20 sided, 8 sided, 6 sided dice and put them together in a set for your writer. Dice are amazingly helpful. You’re writing, you need an address for the killer to go to – if you stop to think too hard about it you’re going to break the flow and the muse will get all cranky and leave again. So – grab the dice on your desk and toss a couple. BAM! 1482 Applewood Street. Or the guy is in hotel room (3 Dice Roll) 624.
THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER GIVE WRITERS:
Fancy Pens – They are beautiful, functional and personal. But – writers really don’t use pens that often except for jotting notes (and most of use our phones for that).
Blank Notebooks – It doesn’t matter if they are fancy or plain, lined or open. Don’t do it. First, writers get tons of these and second, the last thing a writer needs is MORE BLANK PAPER STARING AT YOU!
DVD’s of TV Shows – So, you know your writing friends would love Boardwalk Empire. But they keep blowing off the suggestion (cause they are busy writing and don’t have time for TV) – Do NOT buy them the Box Set. Writers have to shut out other media for time and creativity (It’s hard to write your story when you are watching other stories) – Don’t force it into their life. Let them decide IF and WHEN they have time for a new story in their world.