By: Marilyn L. Davis
What Gift to Give?
“Gift giving is a true art.
1. You need to understand the person to whom you intend to give the gift.
2. You need to know what they truly want.
3. You must be able to give it to them.
Anything less is a symptom of varying degrees, on your part, of ignorance, distance, or insult.
But if you cannot afford the right gift, telling the person what you would do if you could, justifies everything—as you present that not-so-perfect substitute.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
When We Are Sure of Our Gift
If you’re like most of us, we genuinely want to give a gift that means something to the person. I remember only two or three times that I got my mother a present that I knew she would like.
At seventeen, I got my first job working in a shoe store back when we still measured people’s feet and waited on them. I made $1.75 an hour and got a commission on findings. Those are the things people don’t realize they need when they buy shoes – like extra laces, polish, or a clip-on bow for plain pumps.
I saved all my money and got my parents presents with my money instead of each of them giving me money to buy for the other. I got my mom a beaded handbag as she and my father attended formal dinners and galas. It cost $100. I got my dad an antique egg scale as he was in the poultry industry. It was green enamel, and when you placed an egg on it, the egg registered from small to large. He used it as a paperweight. I still have mom’s bag.
A Gift from the Heart Not the Wallet
The pandemic forced and continues to cause many people to stay at home, including spouses, significant others, and children, which means we’re all living in closer proximity to one another. And while it’s true that a writer can scribble on any surface, most of us require quiet, which doesn’t happen with all those others in the house, often demanding our attention just as we are writing the arc of our story.
The gift of Uninterrupted Time, carefully written on a notecard, solves the dilemma. Make several vouchers and let your writer tell you when they want to use them. It’s a priceless gift.
An Uninterrupted Reading voucher works for your writer, too. Again, make several and let your writer read. If you want to impress them further, attach the notecard to a box of their favorite tea – which is probably already in your kitchen cabinet or hang a Writer’s Plastic Door Knob, so everyone knows they are working.
Unsure What to Get?
Sometimes I’ll ask what someone wants. But then I remember what my mom said, “Marilyn, if I want something, I get it, and if I can’t afford it, I know you can’t either, so just get me what you want.”
Now, my grandchildren fall into the same category. “Whatever you want to get me, Nana is fine.” Great.
I’ve succumbed to the gift card for them and routinely ask them what I got them after they hit after-Christmas sales.
Bedroom Writing Gifts
No, I’m not talking about passionate romance writing here. But I know people who have retreated to their bedrooms for some quiet time to write. Yes, we can balance our laptops on our knees, but a lap desk works better.
Bedrooms are also where we sleep. However, writers get ideas while sleeping that have to get written down, or they are forgotten. Noelle Sterne explains this and offers some excellent ways to master the midnight muse.
She is adamant that all writers need a way to record their ideas that don’t necessarily mean getting out of bed. Goldspot Pens has some excellent Notebooks and journals, and one, in particular, caught my eye. It’s the Leuchtturm1917 Some Lines a Day – Five Year Book.
Recording Our Progress is Inspiring
As many of you know, I’m in recovery, and I think this journal would also make an excellent gift for people in recovery, too. Seeing where we were a year, two years, or five years later could be inspiring.
Now, there needs to be an excellent pen with the notebook, and again, Goldspot Pens has a vast selection from ball-point to fountain pens.
Books For Your Writing Friends
“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!” ― Neil Gaiman
We writers love books. Why?
- Reading helps us understand what readers want in a book. Not all best-sellers sold out.
- A well-written book helps us understand plot development.
- Books can be inspirational – either the topic or the way a writer strings words together.
- Reading plants ideas in our subconscious. These ideas show up days or weeks later by some miracle of the brain, and we expand on them in our style, voice, and tone.
- Reading a book before bed brings on sleep.
- We study books by famous authors to learn how to write better.
- Some well-written books become a type of dictionary/thesaurus, so we discover new and exciting words.
Must-Have Books for Your Writer
- The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White.
- Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within,
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King.
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott.
- The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard.
- “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser
- “Plot & Structure” by James Scott Bell
- “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King
- “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
- “The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century” by Steven Pinker
- “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley
Goodreads list of the best writing books – take your pick – any would be a welcome gift for your writer.
Themed Tree This Year?
My oldest granddaughter was going to have teddy bear themes in her room. Unfortunately, once I found this out, I saw Teddy Bears everywhere and bought many of them. Her first Christmas saw a 12-foot Spruce all spruced up (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) with Teddy Bear ornaments.
Got a writer in your life? Then let them show off their skills with an ornament:
Pen to Paper Metal Ornament | Zazzle.com Let them advertise on their tree
Never Suffer Writer’s Block
Sometimes, we need prompts since we’re not going out as much. In A Year of Creative Writing Prompts II (Write On!), you’ll find 1000 prompts in twenty genres. Who knows – you may write the next best-seller with these helpful hints.
For fiction writers, there are novel ways to create worlds, characters, improve dialogue, ground your book in the times, and a whole lot more with this fiction writing exercise book.
Don’t Just Talk and Text on Your Phone
My friend, Peter B. Giblett, swears by Evernote, a mobile app for creating, storing, and sorting your darlings.
One app that looked intriguing to me was My Writing Spot, described on the site with these features:
- Write in portrait or landscape. Unleash those thumbs!
- Word Count
- Document Groups
- Dictionary and Thesaurus lookup
- Email documents
Pocket-Sized Notebook vs. Phone
Some of us don’t like writing on the phone; my excuse is fat fingers and learning a keyboard back in the dark ages. I haven’t mastered the thumb approach, so having a pocket-sized notebook is my go-to when I’m out, and inspiration strikes. Again, Goldspot Pens has some small notebooks that fit nicely in my oversized purse. How about the glove compartment of your car? In your backpack? Wherever you need a small notebook to record your words and inspiration.
Computer Help for the Writer in Your Life
Can you imagine a book, poem, or essay written with just pen and paper or quill and parchment?
- What did they do for edits?
- How did they revise?
- Who checked their grammar and syntax?
Some pictures show writers with a pen in one hand and a knife in the other. The blade served two functions – sharpening the quill and scraping off the offending words, weakening the parchment. If they didn’t catch the errors right away, the writer would “expunctuate” them by making three tiny dots under a wrong word alerting the reader to ignore it. No self-respecting writer would allow a printed copy to have those three tiny dots.
No Knives Here, Just Corrections
Fortunately, we have so many practical and time-saving applications to help us write on our computers like:
__And Then There’s…
- Stress balls relieve the tension in our hands. I’ve had one for years, but there are improvements in the ones available today. Look for ones that are visually appealing or attached to your wrist as a reminder to use them.
- Does your writer need a website? Check the availability of a domain name on GoDaddy or Bluehost.
- Are they a super-fan of a particular book or author, and would they wear the book proudly? Then Litographs might suit them. With over 200 books to transform t-shirts, hoodies, pillows, posters, puzzles, and scarves, there’s sure to be one for your writer, too. The images below are for The Wizard of Oz.
And a Few More for Good Measure
- A voucher for an online book writing course. This one is tricky. Each of us is looking for something specific – memoir, book marketing, drafting a novel, or creating an alternative world. If you make the voucher, your writer can decide when, where, and what they want to learn.
- Give them a subscription to a writing journal or magazine devoted to your writer’s favorite subject. Journal of the Month appeals to “new writers eager to learn about the small magazine scene, emerging writers seeking a home for their writing, or experienced writers in need of fresh inspiration.”
Let them proclaim their writing with a literary poster from allposters.com. Whether it’s books, cute sayings about authors, contemporary takes on classics, or whimsy, there’s a poster here for anyone with a blank wall.
Every Writer Needs an Editor
Why Writers Need an Editor
We writers have several problems when it comes to our writing:
- We think it’s the best it can be.
- We’re sure it’s concise.
- Our mind’s eye corrects misspelled words.
- We’re sure our post, story, novel, or nonfiction is grammatically correct and the syntax is spectacular.
- We sometimes write the same story, information, or hook without realizing we’re repeating ourselves.
Give the Gift of Editing
If those aren’t enough reasons to hire an editor, here’s five reasons why you should think about editorial services as a gift:
- Even when the writing is good, editors read it differently than a reader or writer. We’re looking for interesting, exciting, and unique ways to frame a post, novel, or essay.
- Your favorite words aren’t embedded in our brains and we can often change a word to something more powerful and engaging.
- We don’t alter your tone, style, or voice but work with a writer to enhance all of them with a few modifications.
- Editors are sounding boards for writer’s block, plot problems, character descriptions, and other obstacles that all writers experience.
- We give you deadlines.
So, is it time for a gift of editing? My services are reasonable, and I promise to help create the best work, and I’ll do more than add three tiny red dots to my corrections. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Some additional ideas for your writer.
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
Got a Gift for Us?
I love getting surprise submissions of poetry, prose, and problem-solving tips for writers and bloggers. Two Drops of Ink welcomes collaboration. A guest post from you means that our readers get new perspectives, voices, tones, and writing styles.
What’s In It for You?
Here are four benefits of a guest post:
- Exposes your writing to a new audience
- Your writing is published on a credible site
- Every published post adds to your writing portfolio
- Links to your books, blog and other writing often translate into sales or visits to your sites.
Give yourself a gift of publicity and send a submission today. Here are the guidelines.