Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gifts for the Writer

I love the Christmas season, but the older I get, the harder it is for me to find the perfect gift for my friends and family. Since I’m an author, I thought it might be fun to put together a list of things that any writer would enjoy getting. I’m not talking about big ticket items like a new laptop or a Kindle or iPad. I’m talking about something that anybody who writes for a living (or a hobby) might enjoy.

I started looking around my office and thought about the things that I use all the time or things that I don’t have and wish I did. The first thing that I saw was my book shelves overflowing with books. What author isn’t an avid reader? We write because we love the written word and we read to fulfill that need. We also read to keep our creative muses fresh and active. I like to give books as gifts to help out our fellow authors and the publishers that keep our books alive.

Besides novels, authors use reference books. I know computers have dictionaries and thesauruses, but I still find myself grabbing for my hard copy of either of these books. I have all kinds of dictionaries, but I still pull out my Merriam-Webster Pocket Dictionary that I’ve had since the 1980’s. It’s now in two pieces, but I find it is most beneficial to me. One day I’ll buy a new one, unless of course, I get one for a gift! I have also recently found Reader’s Digest’s Illustrated Reverse Dictionary which helps you find a word from the meaning.

Other reference books might include an atlas for location information or books from different periods in history. I have a variety of reference books on my shelves ranging from maritime history to everyday life in the Civil War. A gift card from a local book store is always appreciated.

Other than books, writers need stocking stuffer type gifts and I’ve simply listed some below:
-Easels of different sizes to display our books at book sales.
-“Signed by Author” labels. Different companies sell these and they can be found on line. The labels are inexpensive, but a must-have at a book signing.
-Pens. For my first book signing, a friend gave me a beautiful pen set and I love it.
-Calendars and day planners are great. I use several types and sizes for the variety of family and business events.
-Any office supplies make great stocking stuffers. Walk through an office supply aisle and you could fill a basket in no time, anything from staplers, different styles of paper clips, memo pads, and legal pads.

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year and a stocking filled with books and supplies to get you into the next year.
What would you like to see in your stocking?


Jennifer Shirk said...

Signed by the Author labels is a good one!
Cafe Press.com has some fun gift for writers too.
I'd like to see a new contract in my stocking too. LOL!!

Zelda Benjamin said...

Nice blog. I would put any of those gifts to good use. Feel free to add me to your holiday gift list.

Jess said...

One thing I love are huge three-ring binders because I like editing hard copies of my manuscripts. I buy the white binders with clear covers--that way I can stick pictures of my characters, pics of setting, bits of dialogue, quotes...a collage of things that pertain to that novel. Anytime I feel stumped or blocked, I can flip to the cover and be inspired. :)

Really good post. HOpe you have a wonderful Christmas.

Joselyn Vaughn said...

Some great ideas here. I should email this to my husband. :-)

I like small notebooks with pretty covers. I handwrite my rough drafts and blog posts in them. The pretty covers make me feel creative.

Happy holidays.

Sandy Cody said...

Nice post, Fran - full of good ideas. I'm thinking about stuffing my own stocking.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the great comments. I like the idea of the notebooks. I use them too, and I can always use an extra one.
I'm going to check out Cafe Press. Thanks for the hint, Jennifer.
Merry Christmas.

Fran McNabb said...

I'm totally computer illiterate! I'm the Anonymous above.