Saturday, December 18, 2010

Three (Free!) Gifts for Writers

There are so many wonderful gift lists to help you surprise your favorite writer this year (Stacey Graham and Cindy Myers wrote two of my favorites) but what if you’re short on cash and have extra time on your hands? If you can’t swing the latest must-have gadget or even a B&N gift card, don’t sweat it; there are three things you can do for a writer that will mean more to them than anything you can buy. Try one or all three this year; I guarantee you’ll make it a holiday to remember.

Make a space. If your writer has been balancing the laptop on unstable knees while perched on the couch or waiting until dinner is done to steal a little tabletop real estate, make some room for a desk. Rearrange the furniture and create an area just for your wordsmith. You don’t have to buy a desk, but you do need some ingenuity. Erma Bombeck wrote her columns on a door balanced on cinder blocks. Make it yourself if you have some spare lumber and know your way around a hammer. If you don’t have anything suitable, check Freecycle.org. Who cares if it’s particleboard? It will be a little slice of Heaven for someone with a vivid imagination. Like a writer. Extra points if you can round up a few office supplies too, like a mug from the kitchen to hold a few pens or a couple of file folders from the dollar store.

Help with research. You can do this a couple of ways: go the traditional handmade coupon route with redeemable certificates for an hour’s worth of web engine searches, or, if you know what kind of material your writer needs, clip or print articles and interesting tidbits year-round and give them occasionally in a brightly decorated folder. Extra points for rounding out a coupon book with an afternoon of child care when deadlines threaten, a few mandatory days off, a walk in the park when the plot is stuck or (if said writer is your sweetie) a sexy coupon good for a little afternoon delight. After all, everyone needs a good Googling now and again (bow-chicka-wow-wow!)

Ask to read some work. Then read it. Take your time. If he or she wants a critique, fine. Find one good thing for every bit that needs attention. Writers work in solitude, and they always end up asking people to read their stories, articles, poems and posts. Sometimes they feel awkward about it. If you volunteer to read for them, it’s like showering them with sunshine. Your attention and interest in a writer’s scribblings will make his or her day complete. Extra points for family members: collect your writer’s clips after they are published. A scrapbook made up of articles or stories not only show how far a writer has progressed, it demonstrates that you care. What better gift is there, really?


Photo credit: Idea go and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6 comments:

Sue London said...

You need to add the "email" function to your blog post so that we can immediately send this to our loved ones! Now I'm off to send the link to my husband. :)

Beth Bartlett said...

Eep! I didn't realize that wasn't activated. Done!

Stacey Graham said...

Love these! Especially the space. With my kids, I need a large dog and an inflatable bubble in order to get my work done.

Betty (bcatgray) said...

Great tips! I'm often afraid to have DH or DD to read any of my writings, but they always seem to like them. I need to get a laptop so that I won't be so isolated at times. Sometimes I can get a good flow going when I'm around my family while they watch a movie. Other times I DO need solitude!!! LOL

Beth Bartlett said...

A space of your own is such a luxury, isn't it? I miss mine, but I'm hoping to reclaim it in the new year!

Kappa no He said...

These are some fantastic ideas. Seriously if anyone did even one for me I'd faint dead away. I hope you reclaim your "space of your own" in 2011. I spent all day cleaning mine (it easily becomes the "junk" room. Not next year!).