Gifts for writers can be a tricky thing as all of us have different likes and dislikes. But whether or not you are the writer putting together last minute ideas for others, or you are buying for a writer, here are some ideas.
What is better than having a stack of reference material to go consult on occasion. Online references are easily used, but a book to add to a writer’s arsenal is The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglish. This lovely book allows a writer to look up what a character is feeling and then lists out the physical and mental attributes of that emotion. For example, under the emotion “overwhelmed” they have the physical signals like pacing, rapid blinking, or biting at lips; along with mental responses like a desire to flee or wishing time would speed up. For every writer who struggles with showing not telling — don’t we all — this reference is golden.
Another handy reference is Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. For most of us grammar is tedious and boring, but this book is a fun and quick reference guide. Good for writers just spreading their wings, but also valuable for those of us that need to go back every once in awhile.
For all of us writers, inspiration comes in many different forms. Expanding the way we think about writing is often a source of inspiration, and The Daily Writer is a fun way of thinking outside the box and in different ways. The 366 meditations cover a vast array of subjects including characters and food, conveying nostalgia, and working with symbols. The book is a great tool for a constant writer.
Another book I look to for inspiration is Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. This book is a very short gem filled with such wisdom that I find myself returning to it constantly. It is a reminder that writing is a vocation, a gift, and to write well is to give back to the world.
To write well is to read a lot. I preach this all the time, but being a voracious reader is really one of the best tools for being a good writer. Write a lot and read a lot. For this giving season, then, put together a list of books that you are interested in, then add a few that you might never have bought yourself. If you are the one doing the gift giving, sometimes the best book gift is a book that you have loved and could not put down. Share the gift of a good story, there really is nothing better.
Pens and Notebooks
Finally, even for writers like me who rarely use paper and do almost all of my writing on a computer, there is still something magical about a nice pen and good paper. Barnes and Nobles has a good selection of gifts for readers (read: writers) but look for interesting notebooks at specialty stores, or even antique stores. Pens are another fun item. We might not actually use a fountain pen, but as a writer just owning one is some kind of touchstone, transporting us to a bygone era.