Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What to Get Your Writer Friends

It's the season of giving. (I REFUSE to say 'tis. I just refuse.)

And if you have any writer friends on your gift list, you might be wondering what the heck to get them. A pen? Some paper? A QUILL?

Here, are some suggestions that go beyond a gift card to Barnes & Noble:

His/Her Book
Notice I didn't say 'a book' but your writer friend's actual book. Whether it's a self-pubbed e-book or a traditionally published small press number - SUPPORT YOUR FRIENDS' WRITING by buying their book. If you already have their book, buy it and give it to someone else, letting that person know how much you love said book. Nothing feels warmer and fuzzier than spreading the word about books you love (by people you love.)

Here are two books I recently bought for friends, after buying for myself:

Cat Winters. SO GOOD.
Sarah Bromley - so excited, picking up my copy from

What all writers want more of (yes, even more than chocolate.) If you can give your writer friend an extra couple of hours where you will watch their kids for them, or where you will pick up their dry cleaning or take up some other mundane task for them so they can have writing time - this is more precious than gold.

Time, The Luxury Edition
If you are feeling flush and/or particularly love your writer friend, you can help ship them off to a writers retreat or conference. Nothing is better for the writer's soul than being forced to be writerly, to put DOWN the dishtowel and be FORCED to be immersed in writing. A retreat is perfect for a writer who just needs to finish the *FUDGECICLE* up. A conference is good for a writer looking for representation, community or guidance.

For writers conferences listed by state, go here.

Writers retreats can be formal like these, or it can be informal - as in one or two nights at a quite inn or hotel.

The Lambertville Station Inn is great for informal retreats - just outside of Philadelphia and overlooking the Delaware river, it's perfect for contemplation.

Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat and center is wonderful for getting the writer-mojo flowing. No TV's in the rooms, dorm-like accommodations, beautiful, walkable and woody setting and, the cherry on the creative sundae, a 24 hour Art Studio that you can use when you have writer's block and need a work around. I can't recommend Pendle Hill enough.

I have a fridge magnet that I keep on my desk. My husband gave it to me and I don't even have to look at it. I know what it says. I feel the fridge magnet's pull (get it?) every time I get crushed by this writing life.

Sometimes, that is all your friends who write need to hear.

Encouragement, The Luxury Edition
A cheerleader is great. A truly interested reader is even better. My mom is both. She tells me I'm awesome (naturally) but she also reads my books and tells me what she thinks of them. She tells me one character reminds her of a babysitter I had when I was little - and did I mean to write all about Olga? The gift with this kind of interest is that I get a glimpse into how my writing affects someone who isn't the intended audience, but who's opinion means more to me than I can show. If you are that person for a writer friend, take the time to read and comment.

Booze/Chocolate/Comfort Drug of Choice
There Will be Tears. The writing life is basically a mash up of hysterical, joyful and despairing crying mixed liberally with the writer's comfort drug of choice. Give them a whole box of it. A really great vodka. A box of expensive chocolate. A lunch date to a Jersey Diner for Disco Fires (what? That's legitimate!) Whatever gives comfort and fuel to keep fighting the good fight - that's a great gift.

So, what are you giving your writer friends? And what do you hope to get?

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Happiest of New Years!


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