Gifts Perfect for Writers

Cynthia Ruchti

Gifts. Who doesn’t appreciate them? So how creative are you in finding the perfect gift for a writer?

Blogger: Cynthia Ruchti

Today’s interactive blog post is brought to you by the letter G, for Gift-giving.

 

The Writer’s Gift

If you’re reading this blog, you’re interested in writing, writers, the world of words. When you search for the perfect thank you or token of appreciation for a writer, what comes to mind?perfect gifts

  • A new journal
  •  Jewelry made from Scrabble letters or old typewriter keys
  • Special pens
  • Chocolate anything (including chocolate-covered potato chips)
  • Books
  • Books on the craft of writing
  • A gift certificate for a massage
  • A scholarship to a writers’ conference
  • A handwritten note of encouragement
  • Uninterrupted time to write

Did any of those ideas resonate with you?

gifts of words

The Unexpected Gift

This week, a friend gave me a thoughtful and surprising present. She’d taken her copy of a book I’d written–As My Parents Age–and regifted it to me. Why? Because the true value was allowing me to read her comments in the margins, the words or phrases she chose to underline, the exclamation points and Amens scattered through the pages. A most unusual but much appreciated act of thoughtfulness.

Rarely do writers receive that kind of feedback about their work. Occasionally, a reader will let an author know about a favorite quote. Or write a short review. Maybe it doesn’t happen more often because readers are unaware of the way their affirmation is like oxygen offered to a sidelined football player.

Writers Encouraging Writers–It’s a Gift

As an agent, it’s heartwarming to watch writers encourage other writers. It happens a lot within the Books & Such community. It happens often here on the blog as commenters encourage one another. The mutual exchange of gifts of encouragement helps cushion against the sharp edges of rejection, the sting of waiting, the sometimes agonizing process of searching for just the right research information or the precise word a sentence needs.

We’d like to hear from you. What gifts–large or small–have made you think, ‘That’s the perfect gift for a writer!” How creative have others been in their writer-minded gift-giving?

 

 

32 Responses

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  1. People-watchers (as many or most writers are) by their definition, notice things that perhaps not everyone would. As fellow writers, we can use this to make our gifts even more meaningful, personalized if you will. If she loves coffee or tea, why not a mug that has a genre reference on it? Or if she has a million mugs, perhaps a tea gift basket would be better 😉
    One of my recent finds was a line of inexpensive items with the quote “A book is a dream you hold in your hands.” These words are true for a reader, but even more so for the writer. I simply had to order a necklace with this design for a writer friend of mine who enjoys helping beginners get started. I haven’t mailed it yet (have to get her address first!), but I’m hoping she’ll like it.
    On another note, I received a gift just today that means so much to me. A coworker brought me a copy of a devotional that her aunt (who lost her battle to cancer a few years ago) and several other authors worked together on. When my friend handed it to me, she said she thought of me because each of those ladies had their times of starting out in the writing world, and she thought I would enjoy reading it with that in mind. I already am.

  2. You can find a great gift to writers on many movie DVDs…the commentary by the director and, often, lead actors. You can get a master class in characterization and plotting, this way. Two outstanding examples are ‘Shooter’, a 2007 film directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring mark Wahlberg, and the first film (‘Star Trek’, 2009) in the reboot of the Star Trek franchise, directed by J.J. Abrams.
    * In the commentary on ‘Shooter’, Fuqua develops some interesting background to Wahlberg’s protagonist, the Marine scout/sniper framed in an attempted presidential assassination. It’s easy to see Wahlberg’s Bob Lee Swagger as a typical action hero, but Fuqua breaks him down into man who never quite grew up, and whose actions in the film reflect a fundamental immaturity that’s never resolved. The characterization is dense and complex…and yes, I saw a lot of myself, including immaturity, in Fuqua’s exposition.
    * Abrams’ commentary on ‘Star Trek’ is especially useful for his description of decisions made to improve pacing and continuity. The film moves quickly, but there was an initial desire to contrast the coming-of-age experiences of both Kirk and Spock to a much greater degree than was eventually included in the film. The essential information had to be passed along; no less, but also no more.
    * An honourable mention goes to Oliver STone’s ‘World Trade Center’; he was faced with the daunting challenge of contrasting an almost static dialogue between two trapped Port Authority policemen and the kaleidoscopic confusion, hope, and despair that swirled around Ground Zero on September 11, in the fell year of 2001.

  3. Carol Ashby says:

    If the writer doesn’t already have one, I recommend a Kindle Fire. Even if they don’t regularly read ebooks, a Fire is invaluable for downloading the PDF of a WIP for a reading experience while editing that feels like reading a book instead of a manuscript. I find I catch things on the Fire when proofing that slip past me in the Word document. It also fits in a purse so I can use the minutes I’d waste waiting or riding in a car. (It’s 20 minutes one-way to town.) Those small chunks of time add up fast!

    • Cynthia Ruchti says:

      Thanks for the advice! And the encouragement of how that tool can be used.

    • I treasure editing my work on my tablet, Carol. I don’t print it out anymore. It’s my favorite way to edit. And … it’s a good work-out, too … burns a ton of calories. I sit down, read a page, and pop up, cross the room to my computer to make a change. I sit back down, and the process begins again. Sometimes I get lazy and note the changes on a piece of paper … 🙂

  4. My grandson is a writer. He’s “published” two books that now grace the shelves of his elementary school library to be checked out by other interested 3rd and 4th graders — kudos to the librarian who recognizes that kids will happily read a classmate’s saga of a salamander sleuth.
    * For his birthday, I gave him “Spilled Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook.” My son good-naturedly complained that too often he had to tell the child to “put down Spilled Ink, turn off the light and go to sleep.”

  5. Cynthia, I am not a very creative gift-giver. I always appreciate these kinds of lists. I sometimes give gifts based on what I know writing friends like (like a bracelet with words for one friend). DaySpring and other companies make jewelry with words on them. It’s always fun to find the perfect one for a friend.
    *I’m going to look forward to reading what the more creative gift-givers share.
    *My husband has gifted me with writing time away for a few days, often after he’s traveled on a lengthy business trip.
    *I have friends who have been very encouraging during the hard seasons on this journey. I try to give that gift as well. It can be more meaningful than any tangible gift.

    • You might not think you’re a creative gift giver, but you most certainly are!! I have no idea what “hold in your hand” gifts you’ve given out, but you also give encouragement, time, hospitality and friendship.
      The days I spent with you in Colorado are still bright in my mind. For you to gift me a few days in your home, and make Casa Takenaka my jumping off point on my research trip? It was awesome fun and SO kind!
      (Away wit cha, Mrs. O’Grady Callaghan!)

    • Cynthia Ruchti says:

      I passed a gift shop not long ago that specialized in writerly gifts. It was in an airport. Not sure which one. But wouldn’t that be a fun place to work?

  6. Cynthia Ruchti says:

    Here’s a link you might find interesting, both for yourself and for your plots. How music is a gift–and something we can wrap for others. Or rap, if you prefer. 🙂 https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/inspiring-stories/10-ways-that-music-is-a-gift?sourcekey=WEBTRAXY1A&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=SC_CNTN_ZZ&utm_content=WEBTRAXY1A_1_facebook_ZZZ_17-07-06_67766

  7. Diane B says:

    Cynthia, your comments challenge me! I never really thought my reflections or feedback from an authors’ works would be enjoyed as a “gift”. You use the word, “oxygen”, I think! 🙂 I will have to do better after having read your words. Thank you for giving me something to strive for!

  8. One thought for a gift would be giving a writer the chance to experience something he or she has in a WIP, but has not personally done.
    *This can range from skydiving to a multi-course meal, properly served. Getting the details right can really make or break a story’s ambience,
    * As a personal example, in “Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart” the protagonist drove a VW Bug…the old kind. It had been decades since I’d driven one, and I had the opportunity to take one for a spin while editing the book…and realized that I had forgotten how cramped, uncomfortable, and FUN the things really were. It was a minor point – the car’s not a ‘character’ – but it made me feel better about delivering an internally consistent story.

    • Carol Ashby says:

      Great suggestion, Andrew! For my 1925 thriller set in southwestern Colorado, my male protagonist had to drive a beat-up Motel T truck when he usually drove a Bentley that was designed for road races. I watched an Australian video on how to drive Ford’s two-speed planetary transmission instead of the sliding gear transmission of his roadster (which is like what we drive today). VERY different…and it would have been great fun to try to drive a real one.

    • Cynthia Ruchti says:

      Great suggestion!

  9. Penelope A Childers says:

    I am planning on giving my writers group members each nice fuzzy house socks for Christmas this year.

    I have received things like writer oranments, mugs, scarves, journals, copies of thier books, etc. It is always a challenge but fun to come up with the perfect gift.

    I would love ideas. I like the one about writing comments in thier book and giving it back. Love, love, love it.

  10. Some of my favorite gifts are reviews on Goodreads, Facebook shares, blog post comments, and personal notes from readers. Oh, and chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven.

  11. Cynthia, what an amazing gift for your friend to share with you.

    This week a friend sent me a daily planner along with binder clips and encouraging stickers.

    Gift cards to coffee shops are another favorite gift to give or receive. Great coffee and time to write.

    I enjoyed your post and all of the great suggestions. Thanks!

  12. Oh, my goodness! That is the ideal gift for a writer. Letting them know that their words moved you in such detail. Perfect!

  13. Hannah Davis says:

    One of my favorite gifts I received is a black mug that, when filled with a hot beverage, turns the mug white, which then reveals a typewriter and the words “Go away. I’m writing.”

    But the best gifts, for me, are the free ones. I love it when one of my roommates takes over my weekly chore or someone offers to make me dinner so I don’t have to cook or do kitchen clean up. The gift of time is by far the most helpful to me!