There are many lists this time of year, recommending that you run out and spend your hard-earned cash on endless items for your friends and loved ones. Some of the lists are helpful, while others feel more like marketing tools. So, I will get the marketing part out of the way right up front. Writers are readers, so I highly recommend you buy the writer in your life something good to read. It can always be thought of as research, with the added bonus of being highly entertaining as well. And what do you know! We at The Knight Agency represent tons of writers who have written wonderful books. We highly recommend them. Some of their more recent releases can be found at The Knight Agency site.
Moving right along, I have some other fun things that you might want to buy the writers in your life, or poke at someone to buy for you. They range from educational to whimsical to hedonistic. I hope they spark some ideas.
Writing Excuses, seasons 1-5 – Some of you might be familiar with the Writing Excuses series of podcasts, featuring writers Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and in recent seasons, Mary Robinette Kowal. In the store on their site, they offer CDs of their first three seasons, individually or as a set, or a DVD-Rom of the first five seasons. Each season is comprised of a series of 15-minute podcasts providing down-and-dirty writing lessons that can help writers get over any difficulties they have with a particular skill. Topics range from writing beginnings to character flaws to editing and the submissions process, and each cast includes a writing prompt and a book recommendation. The podcasts are available free online, but the disks include all sorts of fun extras and unaired material. Prices range from $10 for a single season to $39.95 for five seasons.
Ecosystem Journals – These great, ecologically conscious journals come in a variety of sizes and colors, both blank and lined, hard- or soft-cover, and include sturdy paper that will stand up to writers who like to use rollerball or fountain pens that sometimes bleed through traditional journal pages. Up to $19.95 for large size.
Write, Rewrite Wall Clock – Bright and fun, keeps normal time, but adds that little push your favorite writer might need. Handy for an office wall. $15.99
Gift Certificate for a Massage – Too many hours in front of a computer means stiff neck, shoulders, back, etc. Gift your writer with a massage at their favorite local spa or health center, and help them relax in the new year. Prices vary by location.
Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired by Favorite Books – For the writer who also knits, this book includes patterns for a number of projects based on characters from famous fiction. Fun and a bit different. Retails for $22.99. Discounts vary per outlet.
Writing Books: Just a few of my favorite titles to inspire, instruct, and help get writers over a block.
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life by Pricilla Long
Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew by Ursula Le Guin
Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See