Sunday, December 18, 2011

Three More Free Gifts for Writers

Last year I received great feedback with my Free Gifts for Writers post, so I’m doing it again, with three different ideas.

Let’s face it, money is still tight for a lot of people, especially those whose job description includes the words “starving artist.” Before you grab the glue and spray-paint and turn a few blocks of ramen into bookends, try these suggestions. All of them are guaranteed to draw fewer bugs than glitter-soaked noodles.

Goalbook or Planner

No matter what the genre, writers live and die by the deadline. Make 2012 easier by creating a planner to keep your writer organized. (Hint: if you have kids, this is a great family activity.)

Dig up a 3-ring binder, a hole-punch and some card stock or construction paper for dividers. Print out a calendar for each month or go all the way and print out every week. (Microsoft Publisher will print calendars, and there are tons of free, personal-use calendars on the Net.) Also print out several blank pages with headings like “Goals”, “To-Do” and “Ideas”. Make sure each month has plenty of space to scribble notes, and separate each monthly section with the card stock. Include quotes from his or her favorite authors or other motivational sayings. Decorate accordingly. Just takes a couple of hours and some creativity to make your writer weep like a Barbara Walters interviewee.

E-books

I have a lot of friends who are e-book authors, so let me put this out there: if you can buy an e-book or two (many cost less than three bucks) then please do so. If that’s out of the budget, welcome to the world of free e-books. Project Gutenberg has always been my go-to for great, zero-cash reads because you can find so many irresistible and esoteric books besides the classics everyone claims they read in school. Feedbooks and Smashwords are also great resources, and I’ve found a few new fave authors through them.

Don’t have a smartphone, e-reader or tablet? No worries. You can download books in a variety of formats at Gutenberg and make a file folder on the computer for your giftee. Amazon, Kobo and B&N also offer freebies if you have their particular reader software. Remember, stay legit with your downloading, because good karma is the gift that keeps on giving.

Office Party

Working from home is wonderful, because the dress code runs from casual (Scooby Doo PJs) to extra summer casual (powdering your butt so you don’t stick to the chair). There is one thing writers miss out on, though, and that is the office party. Throw a tiny shindig by your writer’s desk. Bake some cookies, put up a few decorations. Let your writer talk all he or she wants about work: editors, publishers, magazines, etc., and don’t tune it out. Invite a couple of friends or family members over if you want, but it’s more fun when it’s intimate. Keeping it to yourselves also avoids those nasty “crazy people” rumors, too. You’ll be surprised how much it will perk up a writer’s spirits just to talk, laugh and have their own little holiday ritual.



Photo credit: Flickr.com/TMAB2003

2 comments:

Jenn Greenleaf said...

I'm going to gift myself with the goal/planner book idea. I *love* that!! :)

Beth Bartlett said...

Yay, be sure to share some pics when it's done!