WHAT GIFT CAN I GIVE A WRITER?
By Vicki Hinze
A few years ago, I was shopping late for Christmas due to two weeks of flu knocking me to my knees–and I was reminded of Christmases past–and faux pas committed on behalf of well-meaning family members (not mine, but those of other writers) when it came to shopping for their writers. Join me for this little trip down memory lane—and avoid the mistakes those non-writers made…
There’s the writer wife who left hints–some subtle and some bold, including a sale circular taped to the refrigerator door–and still ended up with a lovely piece of crystal when all she’d yearned for had been a fax.
There’s the writer husband who left hints–including an explicit, written addition to a shopping list–and still ended up without the gift card from the office supply store he wanted because his darling wife “wanted to surprise” him. She did, of course, but not in the way she’d hoped.
Then there’s the writer who wanted books–novels to read–and got Quick Books, so the writer could do the spouse’s business’s bookkeeping. (Yeah, that went over well.)
And the spouse who got a trip to Italy when the sole item on her wish list was to attend a writer’s conference–which now, she could not attend because of the expensive trip to Italy.
For those of you shopping for writers. Here’s the thing. Writers are very easy to please. If you want a cannot fail gift, give them a card for an office supply store. The writer will feel they’re in heaven–and that they’ve got the most thoughtful person in the world shopping for them. Why? Because of the thought, the acknowledgment that writing is important to the writer–and you know that and place value on it.
If you want something more personal, consider a special pen or notebook. Flag tapes, post-it-notes, banker’s clips. None of these are expensive items, but you would be amazed at how many times on writer’s chat loops, Facebook and Twitter, they’re discussed. A specific type of paper. A specific pen. Pastel or neon post-its. A little organization caddy for these tiny things. Anything writing-related brings smiles to the writer’s face and warms his or her heart.
And if you’re flat broke and cannot afford a gift, there are still heart-warming things you can do for your writer:
1. Post a book review. Have you read an author’s book and loved it? If so, go to amazon.com or bn.com or indiebound.org or iTunes, or goodreads, or shelfari or library thing—to any online store and post a review of the book. Authors do read them and they are grateful for them.
2. Write a fan letter. Listen, these are absolutely treasured by authors. And they don’t care if they’re emailed or written on a paper towel. It is the thought–hearing what you have to say about their work–that counts.
3. Give the writer the gift of time. Watch the kids for an hour so s/he can write. If you are the kid, then give the writer a coupon.
Years ago–and this remains one of my most favorite gifts ever–my daughter gave me 20 coupons. She’d handwritten them on squares of paper she’d cut. Each was good for her to bring me a cup of coffee. Considering my office was upstairs and the coffee was downstairs, this was a really, really thoughtful gift. I loved it–and to give it, boy, she loved me.
Office supplies and coupons. For writers, it just doesn’t get much better than this!
Acknowledgement of the writer in the human being is the best gift of all. *
© 2012, Vicki Hinze
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