Holiday Gift Guide for the Writers You Know

Writers tend to be like black sheep. Everyone knows a writer: in the family, a GiftBulbsfriend, a quirky coworker…we’re everywhere. With the holidays around the corner, here’s a simple guide of various gifts that writers would greatly appreciate, including a few items to avoid. 🙂

~Reviews! – Top of the list, are reviews on their novels on whatever medium you use. Amazon, GoodReads, B&N Nook. If you loved a novel, write a review and let others know! Can’t tell you how much this one is appreciated, more than any other ‘gift!’

~Printer paper – Reams of it. Because most writers go through them like water. Or wine. Or chocolate.

~Ink – See paper.

~Coffee, or Starbucks gift cards – Most writers could probably use this best in anCoffeeInject IV, but unless you’re a doctor and can write a prescription for the needles, best stick with the gift cards or beans.

~Pens – Something cool, unique, different.

~Coffee mugs – Just like pens. Be unique (and something that is dishwasher safe!)

~Books – Duh! Bonus points for knowing their favorite genre. But s safe bet would be a gift card to their favorite bookstore.

~Comfy Clothes – Bonus points for writing related shirts/sweaters, such as “I’m WriterShirtthe PsycHOTic Writer Everyone Warned You About,” or “Grammar Snob,” or “Don’t Piss Me Off, Or I’ll Kill You In My Novel.”

~Subscription to Writer’s Digest or Writer’s Journal – precious jewels in the mailbox, that many budget-conscious writers are forced to consider luxuries.

~Massage or Spa Day gift card – This forces us out of the house to relax our writing muscles.

Don’t Bother With These:

X Thesaurus – Every writer already has one, and every good writer knows not to use it.

X Digital Voice Recorder – Every phone has something already on it that works. My phone came with 3 different apps.

X Journals – Unless specifically requested, stay away from these! Every writer has a billion of these shoved somewhere in drawers. Plus, it’s a cliché. Writers are supposed to hate clichés.

Hopefully, this list gives you some ideas and starts you off in the right direction. Have a fantastic holiday! And Merry Christmas!

*This post originally appeared on Smart Girls Read Romance blog on 12/10/15.

Merry Christmas! Straight No Chaser 12 Days of Christmas

Here’s some Christmas fun from Straight No Chaser, one of my favorite Acapella groups. Click on the link above to go to the YouTube video.

XMasLighthouse

Once again, no matter what religion you practice or if none at all, I wish you a wonderful holiday season and great New Year’s. I appreciate the message of peace in any religion, whether it be Christmas, Hannakuh, Kwanza, Buddi, or atheism. Stay true to your religion: there’s nothing wrong with sharing it.

Since I’m Christian, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

 

Time for Christmas Music!!!

It’s that time of year again, where I blast Christmas carols and Holiday music on my computer and radio!

My favorite carol of all time is “Still Still Still,” especially from Manheim ManheimSteamrollerSteamroller. I also really love the German verse. Pretty much anything Holiday related from Manheim Steamroller is worth buying the entire album.

The highest grossing (and sadly overplayed) song of the holidays is Mariah Carey’sAll I Want for Christmas is You.” But let’s face it. It’s a good song, upbeat, and really gets people happy and in the mood for Christmas shopping (whether from the coziness of your couch/online or battling the crowds at malls).

98DegreesChristmasAbout eight or nine years ago, I bought the Christmas Album from 98 degrees (back when they really were the best of all Boy Bands), and I’ll still listen to that thing on a loop in my car. Specifically, “If Every Day Could Be Christmas,” and “The Gift.”

Another awesome one is “Carol of the Bells.” And when put together with a light show like this, how can you possibly not be entertained?

A billion more songs come to mind, but I’d love to hear from you. What’s your favorite carol of the season? How early in the year do you start playing them?

Gifts for Writers

Writers are like Black Sheep. Everyone knows a writer. In the family, a friend, a giftkooky coworker… we’re common. And in one way or another, we’re all loved. That means with the holidays screaming around the corner, everyone has a writer for whom they need to buy at least a small gift. Here are some gift suggestions for writers (including ones to avoid).

Paper – Reams and reams of it. Because we go through that much. Either for brainstorming, rough drafts, character sketching, revisions (*raises hand*) or querying. We use a lot of it.

Ink – See paper. (With one caveat: it is essential to know the kind of printer the writer has, of course).

Coffee – Most writers need this fully stocked in IV bags. But don’t get them needles- that requires a prescription.

Dragon Dictate Software – For writers on the go, moving around a lot, this dragonwill help. You’ll need to find out if they have a PC or Mac. Downside: it’s a bit pricey.

scrivenerSrivener A fantastic new software that most writers love, no matter what they write (fiction or non fiction).

Pens – Like paper and ink, we use these a lot, and therefore run out of ink in the middle of jotting down a great idea, and then chuck the pen across the room, chipping our favorite coffee mug while we desperately search for lipstick or marker to write down said-great-idea before we lose it.

Coffee Mugs – To Replace said-broken-mug from above.

 The Latest Edition of Writer’s Market – This may be baffling for those of you who are not in publishing, but this is the first step to a golden ticket in the Willy Wonka’s Factory of Publishing.

Elements of Style from Strunk & White  – See note above.

Books – Duh. Bonus points for knowing which genre they prefer, but they’ll pretty much take anything. Especially books on writing or autobiographies from serious writers. (FYI- Snooki’s recent book does not count).

Comfy Clothes – Any funny shirt or pants specific for writers. There are so writershirtmany websites offering screen-printed quotes on shirts like ‘Don’t Piss Me Off Or I’ll Kill You In My Novel’ or ‘Grammar Snob.’ We need something comfortable to write in and what better way to be motivated to write than to wear the reminder. CafePress has some great ones.

Slippers or Socks – See clothes. No writer can write with cold feet.

Computer Accessories – A laptop case, wireless mouse/keyboard, thumb drive. Again, helpful to know what kind of computer they have to make sure the case fits. But a thumb drive is universal. As are screen cleaners and cans of air to blast out the dust from our keyboards.

The Writer’s Block – Nuff said.writersblock

Lap Table – A bunch of different kinds, depending on whether they like classic wooden, or contemporary chic, or funky bumbo style. But a cup holder is essential.

Air Fresheners or Wickless Candles – For writers who spend hours sitting in one spot desperate to get the dialogue out of their brains, sometimes we tend to forget to shower. Something to mask the stench in the air is helpful (Scentsy is popular). But nothing that includes a flame where we’ll forget to blow it out and burn down our masterpieces.

Massage – To force us out of the house and relax our writing muscles. Spa gift cards are a great way to achieve this.

Magazine Subscription  – Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Journal, The Writer (any of these are precious jewels in the mailbox).

Don’t bother with these:

Journals – Every writer has a million of these shoved away in drawers and closets. Don’t add to their clutter. Plus, it’s a cliché. Lesson #1: all writers hate clichés.

Laptop – Come on! These are so freakin’ expensive, with way too many variables that are too personal to each individual writer. Unless you want to take them to the store to pick out their own, don’t do it. They’ll just end up exchanging it for something that suits their query personality more. It’s like women and shoes. We’re just too picky.

E-Readers – See laptop. Though gift cards to purchase e-books are good.

Thesaurus – Again, every write already has one. And every good writer knows not to use it.

Digital Voice Recorder – Every phone has something that meets this need. My iPhone came with 3 of them. And there’s about 30 more apps they can download for free.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas. Have a great holiday!

Merry ChristmaHannaKwanzikuh… or Happy Festivus

If your Christian, say Merry Christmas.

If your Jewish, say Happy Hanukkah.

If your African, say Happy Kwanzaa.

If you’re Buddhist, say Happy Budhi.

If you’re atheist, say Happy Holidays.

I will not be offended by hearing you say something nice to me during this holiday season. I believe in free speech for all, including sharing your religious greeting, since in the end, it’s all meant to wish peace for everyone.

I, myself, am Christian.  So I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas. And hope you feel nice enough to wish me peace as well – in whatever religion you practice or not.

Writer’s Reflection of the Year

Christmas lights are up both inside and outside my house, decorations surround me as I type, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is playing the in background on iTunes. My son is asleep in his crib while my husband studies in his office. For once in our household, it’s quiet. And since it’s been so long since I’ve blogged (for several reasons), I thought this was the most opportune and rare moment to reflect.

It’s been a whirlwind year, to say the very least.

Great highs as we watch our son grow, a billion little challenges and a few big ones thrown in there. Same as my writing ‘career.’ Great highs as I improve my skills and learn new techniques, a billion little challenges (mostly just to find the time to write), and a few big road-bumps. Most of my writing goals I set at the beginning of the year I achieved, which I’m very proud with. I set a few stretch goals (NaNoWriMo), and didn’t quite complete those, but I was so close. Again, I’m proud I got that far.

I’ve helped my writers group expand its membership (nearly doubling in size) and learned so much from everyone, I’m so thankful for their help and support. I couldn’t have gotten through my writing goals this year without them. Well, maybe I could have, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun or interesting.

I’m hoping to pick my manuscripts back up in the next coming weeks, after I finish my Christmas shopping and overcome consistent sickness, and finally be in a position to query my 2nd one, and revise the 3rd. Along the way, I greatly hope not to stress out the loved ones around me.

I’ll post my goals for 2012 as soon as I have them created. I strongly advise every writer to have goals for the year, and non-writers as well. Gives you something to strive for every day, week, month.

In the meantime, keep writing forward. And reflecting in the rare quiet moments in between.