I had planned on discussing writer’s block today, but Fangs, Fur, & Fey just posted a similar topic. Hard act to follow, and I’d feel like I was ripping them off (since no one else in the history of the world has ever talked about writer’s block). Besides, I’m just not in the mood to whine right now. Who really wants to hear about the fanfic that cannot be written, the one that knocks me over and kicks me while I’m down? No one, not even me.
So let’s move on to a happy topic full of Christmas cheer: gifts for writers! If you’re having trouble finding the perfect gift for your favorite writers, look no further! Or if you want to indulge for yourself, that works too. My top ten suggestions, in no particular order:
1. Books for fun. This one is a no-brainer. Find out what your writer likes to read and buy a book in that genre! My friend Steph always writes a little note at the front of the books she gives, which adds a nice personal touch.
2. Books for work. As in, books that teach us to be better writers. There are hundreds of books on writing out there, but only two that seem to be universally accepted by most authors: ON WRITING by Stephen King and THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. I have both, and they’re excellent. I wouldn’t mind getting more writing books, so I’m open to suggestions. Writer’s Digest seems to have a large selection of writing books, several of which I’ve been tempted to try.
3. Books for research. Know a writer who specializes in a certain field? Perhaps a nice reference manual would make an impressive gift. For example, I’ve been reading SPIRITS, FAIRIES, LEPRECHAUNS, AND GOBLINS and GIANTS, MONSTERS, AND DRAGONS by Carol Rose, which are both great encyclopedias for fantasy writers.
4. Subscription to WRITER’S DIGEST or other writing magazine. I like WD because it makes me feel like a professional writer, LOL. Plus you get all the short story contest info right at your fingertips.
5. Lapdesk. If your loved one likes to write on a laptop while sitting on a cozy seat sans desk, then a lapdesk keeps the computer (and legs) from overheating. I have one with little built-in fans to draw heat away.
6. A flash drive. Most writers probably have this already; but if not, get one. Great for backing up stories and taking them on the go.
7. CD of water sounds. Nature sounds are supposed to reduce stress and increase energy levels in the brain—which leads to more productive writing. Okay, I haven’t actually tried this, but I should. It’s an interesting idea.
8. WRITER’S MARKET. If your writer is hoping to find an agent, publish a story, or sell to magazines, etc, then WM is a good investment. You can buy the 2009 version in book format, or buy the online version (which is updated daily).
9. iPod or MP3 player. If you don’t already have one, what are you waiting for?! My iPod saves my sanity. I can listen to audiobooks anytime, anywhere (no more bulky CD/cassette players or waiting for long car trips!). And when I need inspiration for a story, I create a playlist of songs and play them over and over again. Besides my Mac, the iPod is my most essential toy.
10. Writers’ conference fees. Offer to pay part or all of the conference fee, if your writer has a conference she’s dying to attend.
Bonus idea: e-book reader, such as Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader. This isn’t a true recommendation, because I don’t have one. If I had more money though, I would probably buy one. Do your research beforehand so you know what you’re getting into. I think it would be a good idea for voracious readers, especially for you busy, traveling types.
Of course, if we had unlimited money, we could all have Macs and iPods and Kindles. And shelves and shelves of books! And huge offices with sprawling desks and ceiling-to-floor windows and comfy chairs overlooking a scenic view!
Well… a writer can dream, right? 😉 So what did I forget?? What writing toys do you wish for? Anything you really want to try, or something you already have and can’t live without? Let me know! And happy shopping!