Gifts For Writers
There’s no denying it – Christmas is coming. In fact it’s getting way too close for my liking. I still have a hundred and one things to do (not to mention finishing a book!) but at least I have bought – or planned out – almost all my presents for family and friends.
So let’s see: 15 ideas of gifts for writers
2. Pens- or pencils
Another gift that can be practical – and pretty. To go with those useful notebooks, a writer needs a pen to scribble down the best ideas. And if you can find one that fits with her/his style of writing then so much the better. I have a lovely pale purple pen with a heart on the barrel. I’m picky about my pens and I want them to write as neatly as possible, so I always try before I buy (I’m picky too about the pens I give away and never have one I wouldn’t use myself). And some people think better with a pencil to dash off their notes – so again some really pretty, sparkly, decorative pencils will be so much more inspirational that a plain old HB pencil.
If other writers are like me, they almost always have a mug of coffee or tea sitting on the desk beside the keyboard. So here’s another chance to help along the inspiration by choosing a really lovely one. Here in the UK we have an internet shop that sells a mug that has printed on it ‘ Go away I'm writing’ so that would be perfect. Or others that have the cover of classic Penguin novels to inspire. You could add in some posh tea – rich coffe – or maybe even hot chocolate so they can fill it up.
4. Books by favourite authors.
Need I say more ? Is there an author your writer friend really admires? Someone whose books they collect? Or someone outside of their reading ‘comfort zone’ – that might just spark off a new idea.
I collect lovely or interesting notecards wherever I go. I have so many uses for them – thank you letters, acknowledgements, replies to people who have been to workshops etc. Right now I have a set with characters from fiction on them – perfect.
When I first started writing I had to send in my submissions, my revisions, the proof-corrected manuscript all by post – and the cost of postage mounted up. Now I can send in a manuscript by email – but I still have lots of uses for stamps – see those notecards above - and to have a supply ready at hand is just great.
7. Music to inspire.
Many authors have a sound track to their latest book – has your writer friend talked about a singer they want to hear more of – or do you know of a performer you think would fit the mood and style of what they write? In between books they need to relax and ‘fill up the imagination well’ Music can help with this.
8. DVDs -
This – and the books – will provide more to fill imagination well. Whether it’s a film starring a gorgeous hunk so that they can do some heavy-duty ‘research’, a romance, a thriller, a historical story – the sort of thing they write - or, again something that takes them out of their comfort zone – all of these will feed that vital imagination
9. Time vouchers
Does your writer friend have children – or need help to get some time in which to write? Why not make up some ‘time care vouchers ‘ on your computer and print them off? They can say things like : I promise to look after kids for an hour/afternoon/ day while you write. Of I promise to do the ironing so that you can write. Of course the writer must use the time to write – not anything else.
10. Trip to historical place a writer's house .
This is something that could help with research – or just add to their imagination banks again. Is there a stately home near you – or a castle – or some historical monument that they can find out more about? Or what about a trip to the home of some famous writer? I recently took a friend to Haworth, the home of the Bronte sisters and we had great fun as well as her learning a lot.
11. Q&A session.
You can make vouchers for these too – a Q&A session can be on any subject,. If you have some special knowledge that your friend can use in a book – why not make afternoon tea and let her ask all she wants? Or you can reverse the process and you sit and ask her all about her plot, her characters. By telling you about them she can get to know then better – and if you have any doubts about them you can mention them and discuss them with her.
12. A critique.
Be careful with this one – some critique partnerships are made in heaven, others can end up in real hell. Only offer to critique a book if you know what you are doing – and you can be fair and objective about your comments. You want to help her with her writing – not lose the friendship. Or you could offer to pay for a professional critique if you can afford it.
13. Membership of an association –
Membership of a professional association like the Romantic Novelists’ Association (UK) , The Romance Writers of America or The Romance Writers of Australia can be invaluable to a writer just starting out. The RNA has its New Writers’ Scheme where an unpublished novelist can have her work critiqued by a professional - but you need to get in on January 1st because there are only 200+ places and they are snapped up very fast. All associations have their regular magazines, meeting and conferences – which leads me to –
14. A course – or a conference
Can you afford to treat your friend to a day course on writing – or perhaps a weekend residential event? Perhaps you could pay - or share the cost – for her to go to a conference run by one of the professional associations? Meeting other writers is a valuable experience and they can learn so much from the workshops, talks and just plain chatting at such events. ( Every course/workshop I run is listed on the Events page on my web site.
15. A kitchen timer
This small, practical gift can be used as a real incentive toil get your friend writer. Make them promise that they will write – and do nothing else – until the timer sounds – the set it for 15 minutes/30/an hour. It’s amazing what someone can do if they concentrate, focus – think of nothing else – and write.
So there you are - suggestions for gifts, covering a whole range of prices. Some of them don’t cost you anything – some you need to be feeling pretty financially flush – and generous even to consider. I’ve given – or been given – all of them – and I’d be happy to receive any of them over again.
Oh – and of course you can buy books on writing if you know the sort of novel this writer is trying to create. But try to make sure they are books on writing by people who know what they are talking about and have some experience to draw on – there are a lot of ‘how to’ books by people with no qualifications at all.
Kate has a new release out:
Standing high on the windswept moors, the lone figure of Heath Montanha vows vengeance on the woman who destroyed the last fragments of his heart...Lady Katherine Charlton has never forgotten the stablehand with dangerous fists and a troubled heart from her childhood. Now the rebel is back, his powerful anger concealed under a polished and commanding veneer. When ten years of scandal and secrets are unleashed, with a passionate, furious kiss, Heath's deepest, darkest wish crystallises...Revenge - and Kat - will be his!
Readers can find Kate on the web: