By Lisa Tener
Do you wonder what to get the writers on your holiday giving list? Or has anyone asked you what gifts you’d like this year? Here is your resource!
In today’s post, writers from the San Francisco Writers Conference community—and beyond–share the most delightful, useful and inspiring gifts they’ve received.
Writers’ Favorite Gifts
Literary Agent Regina Brooks of Serendipity Literary Agency points to her love of writers conferences as a clue to finding her the perfect gift, “Pre-pandemic I’d participate in at least twenty in person conferences per year. That means a lot of handshaking. When networking, collaborating, and sharing ideas I love to lead with good positive energy. One of my clients knew that I was going into a major event so she bought me Juniper Mist lavender and sage smudge spray, handmade in Sedona, made with natural oils and infused with quartz crystal. Just what I need to stay in good cheer when meeting energy filled writers.”
That same client also introduced Regina to blue light block computer glasses. “After a full day on the computer writing, zooming, or editing, I wear them to read manuscripts online. Especially in the evenings when my eyes are tired and my circadian rhythm is screaming at me to go to bed.” Regina is also founder of Possibiliteas, a tea company that specializes in exquisite floral teas for creative minds. I’ve sent these teas as well loved gifts after sampling for myself.
Grant Faulkner, Author of Pep Talks for Writers and Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) made time during his busiest month to share his favorite gifts. “I once received a mug heater, which was quite helpful because I lived in a drafty house. I’ve received bookstore gift certificates, which are always appreciated and never wasted… most writers need time, so a writer’s retreat might be the best gift of all if you can swing it.” Grant cautions, though, not to assume even a high quality journal and pen will cut it. “I’ve received my share…and had to force myself to use them because they didn’t fit my persnickety preferences.”
A gift of a notebook or journal, however, will likely win over Sabrina Ricci, author of numerous dino books, including 50 Dinosaur Tales, and blogger at Digital Pubbing. “Years ago, I used to carry a notebook with me wherever I went, so I could jot down ideas or random quotes I may have heard throughout the day. I filled my notebooks up pretty quickly, so I was always grateful when I got a new one. Plus, it was fun to try out different types of notebooks (small, spiraled, with lines, blank, etc.).”
Elisabeth Kauffman, author, editor and Director of Marketing for the San Francisco Writers Conference also loves notebooks, particularly the “travelers notebook, a leather casing with straps for holding up to four notebooks together… It keeps me organized, it’s pretty on the outside, and then I can keep my separate idea notebooks and journals all in the same place.” Of note, Elisabeth’s Lunaria deck and guide book for writers makes a great gift for friends looking to connect with their muse, break through creative blocks and write.
Super Simple Gifts for Writers
Founder of She Writes Press, author of Write On, Sisters and co-host of Write-minded Podcast Brooke Warner says, “The best gift I ever got was a typewriter Christmas ornament. It’s fun and meaningful to unpack it every year and hang it on the tree. I only see it for a few weeks out of the year, and I love to give it a prominent place on the tree. It’s a conversation piece and a reminder in a wholly different context from most that I am a writer… It’s also a great gift to give because it’s personal while not being too expensive.”
Eric Maisel, creativity coach and author of Redesign Your Mind and 50+ other books says, “I just received a pair of writer’s socks that read, ‘A word after a word after a word is power.’…Writing really does have power. It has changed lives, nations, and history. Not bad for just some words on the page.” Or words on a sock, for that matter.
And Not So Simple Gifts
Amanda Clay, SFWC volunteer coordinator and blog guru, and author of the popular Redemption Series, shares a high-end gift—the one possession she could not live without! “The best writerly gift I ever received was my MacBook Pro, a gift from my husband when I quit my day job to write full time. It’s an expensive piece of technology, definitely. But having a quality, reliable machine that I can take anywhere and can run all the ‘writerly’ programs I need is invaluable. I could live without pretty much any other possession but not my trusty Mac! With it, the world has become my office.”
Gayle-Sylvia Pullen, author of The Good Around Us shares that “42 years ago my new groom gifted a weekend away to attend the Guidepost Writers retreat because, ‘I believe in you. You have many books inside you that need to come out…’” Inspired? How about sending a loved one to The San Francisco Writers Conference. If the full conference is a bit dear, you can augment someone’s registration with Speed Dating with Agents ($75) or an Agent Conversation ($100).
When my first book was published by Health Communications, my two co-authors and I decided to hire a publicist. My mother-in-law gifted me with my portion of the cost, way out of my reach at the time. Even after our contract at the PR agency ended, Rusty Shelton continued to send opportunities my way, making this a gift that kept giving.
Other great gifts I’ve received are a book recycled into folding paper art (thank you Jackie!), a pen that flowed smoother than any other and beautiful journals.
Gifts of Love and Service
The gift of time is a winner. Rusty Shelton, co-author of Authority Marketing appreciated “my wife telling me to get away for a couple of days guilt-free when the kids were young to work on finishing the first draft for our book. It was hard to set aside time to do the chunk work that comes along with writing.”
Frances Caballo, social media guru and author of Social Media Just for Writers, reminds us that one of the greatest gifts to offer a writer is believing in them. “When I was 8 years old and told my mom and family friend Carmen, ‘One day I am going to write a book,’ my mother laughed, and said, ‘Oh, Frances, you will never write a book.’
Frances continues, “As my smile faded, Carmen looked at me from across the table and said, ‘I believe that someday you will write a book.’” Frances dedicated her first book to Carmen.
What’s the best writerly gift you’ve received? What great gifts have you given to the writers in your life?
Lisa Tener is an award-winning book coach, speaker and author of the book The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day. Lisa has helped thousands of aspiring writers and authors access their creativity, find their voice and write and publish groundbreaking books through her coaching services and courses. Dozens of her clients have won prestigious book awards and/or signed five- and six- figure deals with major publishing houses. For over a decade, Lisa served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s CME publishing course, helping doctors, therapists, and other healing professionals bring their books to life. Find out more at LisaTener.com.