Christmas For Writers

In this post you’ll find a roundup of ideas of Christmas gifts for writers and bloggers (including books for writers) and you’ll also find suggestions of how writers can use their writing as a gift this year.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers and Bloggers

Books about other writers. Most writers don’t want to read “how to” books about writing so you can skip all of the “places to get published” and “how to write poetry” books that fill the shelves at your local bookstore. Instead, get the writers that you know a book that’s actually about what a writer’s life is like. One year, I got myself a book called A Writer’s San Francisco by Eric Maisel. It’s got essays about what it’s like to be a writer in the city. That’s a lot more interesting and helpful to me than a “how to” do what I already do.

Magazine subscriptions. Most writers love to read but don’t actually get a lot of time to sit down and do non-research reading. Magazines are great because they let the writer read things that aren’t for work but they offer the reading in bite-sized chunks. Figure out which topics interest the writers you know and order a subscription or two for a gift that will keep on giving all year long.

A selection of healthy snacks. If you have a writer friend who works from home, chances are that she snacks all day long and wants to try to be healthier about it. Give her a basket of goodies that she can put on her desk and eat guilt-free.

o Subscription to stock image sites. If you know someone that does online writing, especially blogging, he/she probably spends away too much time searching for images that aren’t copyrighted to use on posts. Give her a subscription to a stock image site and make her work life easier than ever.

Coffee maker. Okay, okay, so it’s a stereotype to say that all writers drink coffee. But it’s a stereotype for a reason. If you’re fairly certain that your writer friend has a minor addiction to this every day vice, be nice and help her indulge it. If a coffee maker is too much of an investment, get her a few bags of coffee beans or a gift card to her local coffee shop.

Website design software and a year of website hosting. If your writer doesn’t have a website, he really needs one. Getting the software and the hosting out of the way can be all the incentive that he needs to make use of this increasingly important tool for better success as a writer.

Walking shoes. Writers write. But they also have to think about their writing before it all comes out on the page. Many writers do that by taking long walks. A new pair of walking shoes and a map of walking trails near the writer’s neighborhood can do wonders for breaking him out of writer’s block. It can also help get the work-from-home writer out of the house a little bit more often!

Laptop accessories. Most writers work from a laptop at least now and then. There are all kinds of things that you can get to make the laptop a little nicer. Laptop skins decorate the outside of the laptop. Laptop stands help make writing on a laptop more ergonomic and comfortable. A new laptop bag can protect the item while also giving the writer a better option than the backpack for carrying work around.

Massage. Writers sit at desks all day long and type their little hearts out. It’s satisfying work but it can be killer on the back, neck and shoulders. Make a writer happy and relaxed with a gift certificate for an hour long massage.

Basket of office goodies. Hit the local office store and pick up a bunch of little things. Paper clips and binder clips, pens, folder and files, post-it notes and any other little things that catch your eye can all be compiled together into a basket of goodies that any writer can appreciate. Add in some printer ink if you know what type of printer your writer uses.

Fun software. There is all different types of software for all different kinds of writing. There is database software for organizing book proposal submissions, design software for decorating writing with images and creativity software with writing prompts. Find something that suits the writer you know and wrap it with a bow.

Coupon book for day dates. The writer who works from home is always looking for excuses to get out and about during the day. Create a personalized coupon book of dates that you want to go on with him/her throughout the year. Trips to museums, poetry readings, parks and nice lunches can all be included. And you don’t even have to spend that much!

Creativity journal and nice pens. Writers write but many of them have forgotten the joy of doing so. Reviving that joy and reinvigorating the writer with more enthusiasm for his craft may be as simple as getting him a nice journal and some pens that are designed for creative writing.

Anything that’s not related to writing. Sometimes all that a writer wants to do is forget about writing for a little while. Think of anything else that he/she likes and get a gift related to that interest instead of one related to writing.

The best gift that you can give the writers in your life is the gift of reading their work, spreading the word and taking their writing seriously. That’s a gift you can give all year long!

15 Books A Writer May Want for Christmas

Some writers do love books about writing. If you know one, here are 15 suggestions for books to wrap up and put under their tree:

1. Writing Down the Bone by Natalie Goldberg. This book is probably one of the most popular books out there among writers. It’s a great instructional book that teaches you about the craft of writing and provides you with exercises that get your writing hand moving. If the writer in your life doesn’t already have this one on his or her bookshelf then it’s a must-buy item for you to purchase this year.

2. Fearless Confessions by Sue Silverman. This new book is a really great book for anyone who has ever had an interest in memoirs. Silverman wrote two memoirs of her own before writing this book which teaches you how to write a memoir. She writes this lesson guide in memoir style so it’s a fun read as well as one that’s educational for writers.

3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. This is another one of those books like Goldberg’s that provides instructional information about the writing life and has made it into the hands of a majority of writers. It’s a great one to read if you haven’t read it in awhile though so don’t be afraid to give this to a writer friend even if you think she may have read it in the past.

4. Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing by Patricia T. O’Conner. I think that the title of this one pretty much sums it up!

5. Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett.  This is another one that you don’t have to learn much about beyond the title because it tells you what you’ll find inside. Nevertheless, what is inside is quite valuable for writers.

6. On Writing by Stephen King. There are pros and cons to this book for writers. If you like Stephen King then it’s neat because you get some insight into his writing process. It’s not my top pick for a must-have book but it’s a good read and it makes a great stocking stuffer.

7. Writers Dreaming: 26 Writers Talk About Their Dreams and the Creative Process by Naomi Epel. Stephen King is actually included in this anthology as well and I happen to think that this is a better book overall than his own book on writing. Fairly well-known authors describe the writing experience here in a way that writers of all levels can relate to.

8. The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination by Ursula K. Le Guin. This is another collection of essays but they are all by a single author. She’s written other books on writing as well and any are a good choice as a gift for a writer but this one really spans a lot of topics and so it has wide appeal.

9. Word Work: Surviving and Thriving As a Writer by Bruce Holland Rogers. This is another book that really gives you some practical insight into the issues that writers deal with just in living their daily lives as working writers.

10. The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson. Admittedly this is a bit of an odd choice but as a writer I really enjoyed this book. It’s all about the process of writing obituaries – of taking someone’s life and turning it into a short paragraph that sums up what makes them special. That’s an art that not all writers (or maybe even most writers) could handle and I think it’s interesting to learn about how it’s done.

11. Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry by Jane Hirshfield. There are a lot of books out there specifically for poets. Most of these are about “how to write poetry”. This one goes beyond that and looks at how to think like a poet and to see poetry in life.

12. Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More by Dianne Jacob. If the writer in your life happens to be a food writer (or a writer who also lives to cook) then he or she will really appreciate this particular book on a great writing niche.

13. The Complete Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice by Julia Cameron. This set of creativity exercise books (which starts with The Artist’s Way and also includes two that followed that one) are a great tool for any writer who wants to get more creative. They’re for all artists but writers can really gain something from them.

14. Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gifting the World with Your Words and Stories, and Creating the Time and Energy to Actually Do It by SARK. In fairness, I haven’t read this book yet because it’s new (and it’s on my own Christmas wish list). However, I think that SARK is a really fun, creative writer who always inspires me as a writer even when her books aren’t about writing. This one is supposed to be a guide for encouraging yourself to just go ahead and give yourself permission to write and I think it looks like a great choice for writers this year!

15. Writer’s Market. I get this book for myself almost every year even though I don’t always end up using it. There’s something about having it that makes me feel like a “real writer” in a way that merely bringing in a paycheck from my writing doesn’t. There are plenty of online options for finding writers’ markets these days but I still happen to think this is a great book to receive for Christmas and I believe that other writers will as well.

15 Ways to Use Your Writing as a Christmas Gift

Anyone who has ever struggled to say what they want to say in writing knows that being able to write truly is a gift. If it’s a gift that you happen to have been given, you should use it. One really smart way to use it is to create gifts for others that showcase your talent. Written gifts are among the most creative, personal and special gifts that you can give to someone in your life. Whether it’s for your lover, your family, your children or your friends, a gift based on your writing is a gift that is going to be treasured by the people who are lucky enough to receive this from you.

Here are fifteen different ideas of things that you can write this year to make someone else’s Christmas a little bit more special:

1.     Christmas Card. Many people overlook the opportunity to give Christmas cards as gifts. However when you choose a great card and write somethingreally meaningful in it then it can stand as a gift all its own. This is a particularly great gift to write for friends and long-distance family members who you want to give something to but can’t really afford to buy something for.

2.     Handwritten Letters. If you have more to say to someone than what fits on a card then consider sitting down and writing them a letter for Christmas instead. It’s so rare for us to receive handwritten letters in the mail today that just getting one can make Christmas feel special!

3.     Family Newsletter. If you have a big extended family and simply can’t buy something for everyone then consider writing something for everyone instead. Send out an email or make some calls to find out what the latest good news is from everyone in the family. Write your own newsletter congratulatingeveryone for these great things. Make copies and email or mail them to everyone in the familiar.

4.     Poetry. Giving the gift of poetry is always a nice way to make use of your writing talents. You can write fun little rhyming poems for the kids in your life and even illustrate them for them if you’re truly creative. You can write love poems and poems filled with best memoriesfor the people that you are closest to.

5.     Song. Put your poetry to music and you’ve got a song. Who wouldn’t love a special song written just for them?!

6.     Short Story. If you’re more of a prose person than a poetry person then you might want to think about writing a short story for someone in your life. Write about a specific time that you really enjoyed with that person. Or write a brief story that tells the tale of your whole history together. This is a great way to show that you remember the important times that you and a loved one have shared.

7.     Book of Memories. If you have a lot of random memories with someone then you can write them down in short form and paste them into a book. Get a blank journal and put one short memory on every page. Decorate it with photos or scrapbook memorabilia from the different events.

8.     Lists. Even people who don’t have a real way with words are able to give their writing as a gift in some form. Lists are something that almost everyone can write. Make a list of reasons you love someone, best qualities about the person or things you want to do with the person in the year to come.

9.     A Recipe Book. Are you someone who cooks for everyone in your life? If so then the special foods that you make probably strike a very important chord in their hearts. Put them all together in a handwritten recipe book. Add your own little notes and touches throughout the book. Even if they still want you to cook for them they’ll like having this physical reminder of the food that feeds their souls.

10. Coupons to Redeem. A great gift for anyone is a coupon from you for something that they really like. This doesn’t have to be a material thing. In fact, it really shouldn’t be. Give them a coupon to cash in for a day off work to stay in bed, a half day spent hiking, a weekend away together, etc. Try to be creative as you write out these coupons. Think about what the person would love that you’d really enjoy doing with them!

11. Special Notes. Get out a series of small notecards and write a bunch of notes on them saying why you love this person. Post these throughout the house on Christmas day – in stockings, on gifts, in the cupboard where they’ll go to get out coffee cups in the morning, in the dresser where their clothes are, etc. For kids you can do it in the form of a scavenger hunt to find the biggest of their presents hidden somewhere other than under the tree.

12. Personal Fortunes. Fortune cookies aren’t something that you normally think of having for Christmas but they can make a great Christmas gift if you get creative. Make your own fortune cookies and put your own creative fortunes in them. Give a dozen each to your friends and make them smile as they snack on them this Christmas season.

13. Notes on Flower Petals or Candy Wrappers. You can write little love notes or jokes on a gift for someone you love. Take a soft-tip marker and write them gently on the petals of a flower (Gerbera daisies work well for this). Get a pack of gum and write the notes on each of the gum wrappers. Buy a box of chocolates and stick a folded little note under each piece.

14. Messages in the Snow. If it snows where you live then get up before everyone else and go outside on Christmas morning. Write a note wishing your family Merry Christmas, saying “Santa was here” or expressing your love. This also makes a great photo spot for Christmas day pictures. If it’s not snowy where you live then you can do something similar in sand, spell it out with stones or write on the mirror in lipstick in the house.

15. Blog posts. Are you a blogger? Regardless of what you typically blog about, send a special shout out to your family or spouse this holiday season. Your readers won’t mind as long as you keep it brief. Your honey will feel special to have been mentioned in this way in a place where everyone can see it. This is the modern way of telling the whole world that you love a specific someone.

Note: The content of this post originally appeared in three separate articles on my HubPages account.

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San Francisco based writer/ blogger with an interest in how words can help heal individuals and connect communities.

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