Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The ultimate holiday wish list for writers

The holiday shopping season has barely begun, and already I sense desperation in the air. Last week the anchors at CNBC fretted over whether Black Friday and Cyber Monday would lift the fortunes of a sagging stock market (they did, briefly).

Then there's the quiet desperation of trying to find a perfect gift. If you're shopping for a writer, it helps to know what type of writer she is. Organized or overwhelmed? Disciplined or a Lazy Mary? The following list of gift ideas is tailored to some universal writer types:

For the writer starting a book tour:  A special signing pen. This should be something fairly showy and substantial, like a Montblanc.  Get both black and blue inks.

For the writer who hates her bug-ridden, balky PC: An Apple MacBook Pro, pre-loaded with the Scrivener writing program. She'll think she died and went to writer heaven. (This is top of my list this year, just in case Santa is reading this blog).

For the writer who is researching a setting for his book: An all-expenses paid trip to the most exotic locale in his WIP. This gift has the added bonus of being tax deductible for Santa.

For the writer who is desperately in need of inspiration: A weekend event with motivational guru Tony Robbins. Last year we were at the Marriott in Palm Springs during a Tony Robbins event. We rode the trams with gaggles of freshly-inspired seminar attendees. I can't imagine a more gung-ho group, except for possibly Seal Team 6.

For the writer facing a photo shoot: If your writer is stressing over posing for her author's photo, a little makeover is in order. This gift can include anything from hair and makeup to a wardrobe re-do. At the extreme end, consider springing for some plastic surgery (but only if she's been yearning for something specific along those lines. Don't suggest it first, or you'll be sitting at the bottom of the stocking with a lump of coal).

For the disorganized, overwhelmed writer: A year's underwriting for   housekeeping service. Your writer may still be disorganized at the end of the year, but she'll have fewer excuses.

So, Dear Reader, what would you add to my wish list of gifts for writers? And what is on your own list this year?


  1. Haha! Had me laughing by the end there!

    Technically, my wish list would be for Purim, the traditional time to give gifts in Judaism, but Purim usually falls in March and there are all these Christmas sales... our gift-shopping gets done early. Or right after Christmas, with even more sales. :D

    But. My serious wishlist right now:

    1) A netbook, or similar portable computer to write on out of the house.

    2) Holly Lisle's How to Write a Series Course http://novelwritingschool.com/courses/

    3) This cute little craft kit. http://www.klutz.com/crafts/Paper-Fashions-Fantasy-Book C'mon, you've got to admit it's cute! (If you're a girl, anyways.) And if you don't think it is tied into writing, I write fantasy. So it is tied into my genre.

    Yup. Just three. I haven't had massive lists since I was 10.

  2. Kathrine, anything named Klutz for crafts has my vote, and you're right--those paper dolls are cute! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Kathryn, I'd take any of those in the proverbial New York minute. If any of those show up under your own Christmas tree, you must have a wonderful relationship with Santa.
    Seriously, thanks for the post. I not only enjoyed it, I printed it out and plan to distribute it to my family. You never know...

  4. Your post cracked me up, Kathryn. Obviously you have pretty nice & generous people in your life. My list might read more like below, if I asked my family:

    1.) Therapy sessions (twice a week to start)

    2.) 3-D glasses that can detect ghosts & demons

    3.) An apocalyptic, doomsday survival kit (the Zombie-nator version)

    4.) One foil hat

    5.) More Therapy sessions- DAILY!!!!!

  5. Jordan, you forgot the Jack Daniels. Great list, Kathryn.

  6. I'm asking Santa for the gift of the ability to stop or adjust time. That way I could reverse the time problems I have now:

    There are purported to be 8 hous in a workday, but in actually, each of those 8 hours feels like a full day. On the other hand, our time away from work is purported to be the other 16 hours of the day, yet in reality it only accounts for about 2 hours out of our day.

    Santa's going to reverse that this year and set the world back in proper working order. 8-)

  7. Kathryn, this was a an exellent list. It gave me an idea or two that I can hit up Mrs. Clause for.

    Jordan, I already have a zombie apocolypse kit, I just need another thousand rounds of ammo for each of the tools in the kit. I would suggest infra red gogles, but zombies don't give off heat...

    Joe, it's Christmas. Jack Daniels only if it is Gentleman Jack. Failing that, Makers Mark is much better.

    For my own list, a big assed blower for my Javelin would be a nice thing to see sticking up oout of the hood, or possibly a good solid roll cage for the AMX.

  8. Oh, what I wouldn't give for the maid service! All the time, but especially when I'm on deadline! What a GREAT list...I'm going to send it to the gift-givers in my life. You know, just in case. :)

  9. Jordan, I do have some generous Santas in my life, although I never presume to expect such bounty! Richard, Courtney, good idea about the printout. You never know who's reading...

    BK, a time clock, yes! I could use one too! I'd zip right through my teeth cleaning scheduled for next week.

    John, I come from a long line of Jack Daniels drinkers, and you're right about Gentleman Jack being the preferred seasonal. Here's to you, TKZ'ers!

  10. Kathryn, this was a fantastic list. Almost impossible to improve upon.

    For myself, I pretty much have everything I want. At my age, I'm more interested in experiences than things. So it is that when my wife asks me what I want for Christmas, and I give her my list, she says 1) No, 2) No, 3) Never happen, and 4) That will happen when the kid next door lands on Mars.

  11. What writer can afford gifts like these?! How about some low-budget options, like, say, a BOOK? Outrageous, I know, but just consider it.

  12. Sorry Katherine, I should have said fantasy gift list--my bad!

  13. Great list! I desperately want scrivener...for my next book (too far along with current WIP) I could also do with an iTunes voucher for more ebooks... Also more fun makeup so I can play while seeking inspiration...oh and aromatherapy candles for the relaxing baths I never seem to have time to take.

  14. Clare, I downloaded the beta scrivener to my PC, and it's great, but I get freaked out that the beta trial runs out every month. I'm always afraid I'm going to lose all my work.

  15. My wish list:

    1. A trip to someplace not in my books - cuz folks tend to get hurt in my story locales

    2. A pill that knocks 50 lbs of extra stuff off of the real me ... to get me down to that svelte hunk-o-rama my wife pretends I used to be

    3. A good book deal, or better yet, a movie deal that can enable me to quite the day job and build the narration job to a point that I can do just that and write.


    Oh, wait...

    4. And a Red Ryder BB Gun.

  16. I'd like one of those magic Weight Off pills too, Basil!

  17. Great suggestions, Kathryn! I think the research trip to an exotic place is in order for this author's wish list.

    So, do I send my Santa letter to you??

  18. You should send it to Santa, my dear! He'll put it on his TBR stack, right next to mine!