Christmas gifts for writers

Last Minute Gifts for Writers

Today is December 15th, which may qualify as last minute for some of you but not for me. I have not bought a single present.  But that’s okay, because A. my family has very much cut back on the over-the-top gift giving and B. I am a dedicated online shopper.

So as far as I’m concerned, there’s plenty of time for Christmas shopping.  And here are some ideas you might want to share with your beloved families or significant others in case they, like me, need some writerly gift ideas.  Here goes:

  1.  An online class.  James Patterson, famous (infamous?) as the most best-selling author of all time, has a class on novel writing that is actually pretty good, especially for the first-time novelist. (The lovely folks at Master Class gave me a copy of the class and I’ve not made it all the way through, but I have watched some.) It is worth checking out, and you can see a video preview right here.  (Also, this is where you should envision a cool photo of Patterson surrounded by all his books.  For some reason, it is not coming through when I publish. Weird.)
  2. How about springing for Scrivener? I have so far not mastered the software enough to claim myself as a fan but so many other writers love it so much that I have to include it.  You may covet it for yourself, or know another writer who longs for it.
  3. You can’t go wrong with a book. Duh. They are my favorite things to give and to get. Run to your local independent bookseller and buy up a batch, or if you find yourself stranded on a desert island, did you know you can gift Ebooks on Amazon? It’s kind of cool.
  4. Office supplies.  Never met a writer yet who didn’t love them as much as I do. Spirals, pens, fancy journals, plain journals, binders, notebook paper.  I’d be thrilled with a gift certificate that would allow me to run wild at Office Depot. (One of the best things about my grandchildren is that they both love sitting in my office playing with post-it notes, pens, paper clips and other odd bits.)
  5. Speaking of pens, how about a lovely fountain pen? Levenger, the more upscale version of Office Depot (by far) has some lovely ones.  There’s just something about writing with a fountain pen that can’t be beat.
  6. How about a coaching package? Really, there’s no better way to jump start your writing and if 2016 is the year you vow to really get it going, this would be a wonderful thing to put on your list. My prices are going up January 1st, so tell Santa to buy a package now and you can use the sessions any time.
  7. A tablet to read on. I have a long, tortuous history of trying to find the perfect tablet to read Ebooks on, starting with the cheapest most basic version of the Kindle, moving through the mini Ipad and the Surface and even a freebie Dell that I bought with my computer last summer (I love my computer but the tablet was a piece of you-know-what). So now I have my eye on the $50 Amazon Fire tablet.  At that price-point, you might put it on your list, too.
  8. A stand-up desk. I got this nifty number from Target early last year and I’m working very hard at taking my computer to it part of every hour.  Which reminds me, its about time to do that. I couldn’t find the Target link, but it is worth looking for, because I got it very inexpensively there, with free shipping. If you Google stand-up desks, you’ll find a ton of options.
  9. Coloring books.  Yeah, they are all the thing right now, but with good reason because they are stress-relievers. I also think they are excellent for brief breaks from writing, for when you need to think.  I like this one, for knitters, because I am one, or this line, too.
  10. And finally….the grandest present of them all. How about the gift of time and knowledge? Ask for the tuition to our writing retreat in France.  We have only a couple spots left, people, so now is the time to decide! We will be in my most favorite town of them all, Ceret.  See you there!

Okay, so those are my ideas.  What’s on your list? Please share any and all ideas in the comments.

10+ Christmas Gifts for Writers

Christmas is in two weeks.  Urp.  How did that happen?  So, here's my list of suggested Christmas gifts for the writers in your life.  Or for the person who needs to buy a gift for the writer in their life.  If you're like me, you'll offer your significant other a long tiny list of suggestions. Birthday_wrapped_wrap_269147_l

1. A book!

Is there any better present than a book?  I think not.  I've got several possibilities, from friends near and far.

My suggestions:

Emma Jean's Bad Behavior.  My novel, she said modestly.  It's about a woman who loses everything but ends up finding herself.  Most of my stories are about that in one way or another.  

Dollface: A Moses Palmer Crime Thriller.  From my beloved reader J.D. Frost, this thriller will keep you wondering what will happen next, as good thrillers should.  It is also a lovely evocation of the city of Chattanooga. Read J.D.'s guest post from earlier this year here.

Swept Up by Kayla Dawn Thomas.  A wonderful romance.  It kept me company on the plane ride to Paris this year.  I did her cover reveal for the book, which you can see here.

Committed by Patrick Ross.  A unique memoir about creativity.  You can read my review and interview with Patrick here.

The Road Presents Itself, by T. Phillips Holland (also known as Tam).  I've not read this one yet, but it is most definitely on my list!  Read her guest post here.

These Gentle Wounds, by Helene Dunbar.  Another one I've not yet had the pleasure to read, though I did read part of it in  manuscript form a few years ago and loved it.  Read my interview with her here.

2.  Pens (Make great stocking stuffers)

My current favorite is the Tul.  (The u is supposed to have a funny little thing over it, but I don't know how to do that.)

3.  Notebooks, of course

I'm partial to Moleskines.  But I also just bought the Circa system from Levenger for my 2015 bullet journal, and I'm excited to see how it works.

4.  A class on Udemy

One of my favorite novelists, Rachael Herron, has one on how to write a book.  It's aimed toward beginners, but I figure you can always glean something from everything you read/watch.  Speaking of watching, keep an eye out for sales on Udemy–they have them all the time.  Like serious, 75% off sales.  

5.  A different class

This is the time of year when there are tons of them offered.  And some are ongoing. One I've got my eye on is Making a Living With Your Fiction Writing by Dean Wesley Smith.  He is, um, a bit on the bombastic outgoing side, so I'm bracing myself, but it does look worthwhile.  

6.  A goal-setting workshop

In a previous post, I confessed how setting specific goals doesn't work well for me.  So maybe I should learn how to change that?  I'm a big fan of Michael Hyatt, and he has a goal-setting workshop here.

7.  Post-It Notes

I cannot exist without mine.  I use them for everything.  My desk and calendar and to-do lists are covered with them.  So are my notes for my novel rewrite.  Great stocking stuffers.

8.  A workshop in France!

C'mon, you know you want to join me in Collioure this year.

9.  Coaching.

Stalled on your book?  Need a jump-start?  Hit me up!  You will be amazed and thrilled at how working one-on-one with a writing coach can get you going.

10.  A Stand-Up Desk.

I like the looks of this one.  I'm currently in the very long process of moving my office from upstairs to downstairs so I've not bought one yet, but its on my list for early in 2015.  I sit way too much, and I'd like to have the option to set my laptop on a pedestal and stand.

Those are my suggestions.  What are you asking for for Christmas this year?  What are you giving? Please leave a comment.

Photo by Sh0dan.

Writers, What’s On Your Christmas List This Year? 25 Items to Add

Santa_Saint_Nick_265629_lAnd now, suddenly it is Christmas.  

I'm not complaining–I love this time of year.  Love, love, love it.  (And, weather gods, I'd love it even more if we got some snow this winter.  Just sayin.)  It just seems like only yesterday was Halloween. And Thanksgiving, as always, is gone in a flash of turkey and stuffing.

So here we are, in the first week of December in a very short Christmas shopping season.  Perhaps you, as a writer, are looking for some ideas to put on your Christmas list?  I have just the ideas for you. Because I am of the opinion that the best gifts are sometimes the most subtle, I've included a mixed bag of things to ask Santa for.  You'll see what I mean.  Let's dive in.

1.   Focus.  This is number one on my list this year.  I want to hone my ability to focus intently on my writing.  Without focus, the writing doesn't get done.

2.   Patience. You'll need lots of it to stick with making a writing life.  It doesn't happen overnight.

3.   Moleskine journals.  My favorites, bar none.  

4.   An old Thesaurus.  You might have to buy this for yourself.  Though I now often rely on the online thesaurus for a quick idea, I adore my ancient Roget's which is an old-style (I'm sure there's a name for it, but I don't know what it is) thesaurus in that you first look up the word in the back and it leads you to entries in the front.  Between the two sections of the book, your mind will be blown with all the word choices it contains.

5.   A Get Your Writing in Gear session.  Jump start your writing!

6.   Index cards (Great stocking stuffers.) Perfect for stashing in your pocket on a walk, using to storyboard a plot, or keep a stack by your computer to grab for a quick note.  Some people use them for research, too.

7.   Books about craft and creativity.  Two I've liked this year are the Wonderbook and the Creative Compass. Read more about them here.

8.   Books like the one you're writing.   If you're writing a novel, read novels.  Writing a memoir, read memoirs.  Writing short stories–you guessed it, read short stories.  Read as many of them as you can–inhale them.  There's no better way to learn to write than to read, read, read.

9.   Pilot G-2 pens.  (Another great stocking stuffer.) I prefer the purple ones, but this multi-colored pack is a doozy.  

10. A digital recorder.  I love my little Sony, and use it for interviews all the time.   Also useful for capturing ideas when driving or walking.  There's a gazillion fancy (and expensive) models of these babies, I chose a simple one because, well, I'm not very tech minded.

11. A stack of spirals.  Because, if you're like most writers, you need a ton of them. 

12. Enthusiasm.  Gotta keep the enthusisam for the work going! Christmas_ornament_green_268996_l

13. Coaching.  Get help, motivation and support for you writing.  Check out my coaching page here for more information.

14. Energy.  Yeah, I know, you sit at your computer all day.  But exercising the brain takes a surprising amount of energy.  You'll need a constant supply of it.

15. Guided meditation CDs or downloads.  Every writer needs a mental break once in awhile. As a matter of fact, why not take one right now?  You can get a bunch of free podcasts and downloads here.  And, if you have a wealthy benefactor, ask for the Dreamweaver app from Deepak Chopra. 

16. A writer's retreat.  France, anyone?  I'm leading a week-long workshop/retreat in Pezenas this year, wouldn't it be fun to join in?  Learn more here.

17. Post-it notes.  (Your stocking is going to be bulging with useful items).  I cannot live without these. I also adore their cousins, the little colorful taggy things you can use to mark places and so forth.  

18. An office-supply store gift certificate.  Choose someplace elegant and cool like Levenger. (Levenger catalog=writer porn.)

19. Passion. A prerequisite for all writing, not just the romance variety.

20. A coffee mug.  No, don't ask for one!  If your house is like mine, mugs breed like rabbits behind closed doors.  It doesn't help that my husband has an incurable thing for buying mugs everywhere he goes.

21.  A fountain pen.  I love me a beautiful fountain pen.  So much fun to write with one.

22. A new computer.  Yeah, you can dream big.

23. Ink.  Whether for the afore-mentioned fountain pen (it comes in crazy colors) or just for the work-horse printer.  

24. A tablet.  Not the kind with wide-ruled lines that little kids write with pencils on, the electronic kind.  I love my Ipad mini, and I have my eye on the Surface for more serious work.

25.  A book to help you with your fear of writing.  Try Milli Thornton's book.  And read more about her 10K day for writers here.

Okay, beloved readers, those are my suggestions for the writer's Christmas list this year.  What do you have on yours?

Santa photo by LeoSynapse; tree photo by mammuth.  Both from everystockphoto.