5 Things to Get Your Writer for Christmas

1. Amazon gift cards. Believe me, most writers already have a copy of On Writing (I have two). By all means, get us books, but best to make them random books, books that are ‘I read this in 5th grade and it makes me think of you’ more than ‘this is #1 on the best-selling books for writers.’

2. A Saturday night in a hotel room. It doesn’t have to be so specific — you might even do a ‘redeem this for one hotel stay’ coupon. The point, however, is that you would like to give your writer friend about 18 hours distraction-free to help them get some writing done. The change in atmosphere can really get the creative juices flowing.

3. A massage. While we’re on the subject of giving writers time away, why not treat them to some pampering? Other acceptable alternatives could be certificates for movies, restaurants, fun things in the city…you can tailor things like this to your writer’s interest and give them something fun to do away from the keyboard.

4. A personalized moleskin journal. Everybody loves these things, but you know what would make them better? A collage on the cover of their favorite writers. A picture of a moment of fun you’ve shared. A doodle of their ideal bookshelf. The gift of a journal is a good start for a writer, but it’s nice to show you put effort into the idea.

5. Soundtracks. Not to movies. Give them soundtracks to their writing. Think about the type of music that comes to mind when you read their stuff. Is it epic? Is it sappy? Is it retro? Put it together on a CD for them. Trust me, even if it’s the worst stuff on the planet, your writer will get a kick out of it.


What are you buying your writer for Christmas?


Full of Cheer!

Cat in the Hat

A study revealed that 80% of Americans do not like Christmas. They find it a stressful, difficult time of the year in which they feel pressured to buy gifts, fall into debt and spend time with people they don’t like.

I am the 20%.

I love Christmas. There are rarely days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day that I am not doing some small thing to stay in the holiday spirit. I love watching Christmas movies. I love baking. I love looking at cards. I love driving around to see lights. I love seeing the decorations in the city. I love good Christmas music.

But this isn’t a post that’s just me gushing about how much I adore the holiday season (though I do – have I established that well enough?). It’s also for you, dear reader. And that is why I offer to you Five Ways to Stay Creatively Sane During the Holidays.

1. Make sure to schedule in time for yourself. I fall prey every year to my own inability to schedule time appropriately. Looking up, I realize suddenly, “I leave for Virginia in three weeks and my weekends are booked – oh god!” And there are gifts to wrap, confections to sugar up, people to see and… Don’t be like me. Give yourself the gift of even twenty minutes a day to recharge and work on something.

2. Forgive yourself. I already know that I’m not going to be terribly productive this month. And you know what? I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I know that come January I will be back at the bag, and I know that I’ll at least tinker with a few things here and there. I’m not setting myself up for failure. Not for the next few weeks anyway.

3. Journal. I don’t jump on the journal wagon nearly as much as I should. This is a super stressful time of the year, and it’s easy to feel like you’re one of those cartoon characters that’s just gotten buried under a comically huge snow drift. When that’s happening, go into a small room with a notebook, close the door and write for five minutes. Get it out. Figure out what’s bothering you. You might find it actually doesn’t have anything to do with Aunt Marge or that guy your mom keeps asking you about over Christmas turkey.

4. Do good for others. Give back to your community during the holidays. Whether monetarily or through the gift of time, do something that benefits the human race. It feels great. You’ll feel like a super hero, and they will appreciate it. Even if you never see their face, someone out there is benefiting from your small donation, your willingness to do what’s in your power to make the world a better place. This always leaves me feeling inspired. Karma creativity – who knew?

5. Avoid negativity traps. I’ve been working on this ever since Thanksgiving, and the Internet makes it really, really hard. The horror stories of Black Friday, the griping about consumerism, the bickering about which new holiday gaming system is best…I’m trying not to take part in it. It’s a waste of time and energy you could be using on Ninjabread cookies. As I find myself having my time drained, I’ve started to stop and ask myself, “Does this contribute to who I want to be during this time of the year? Is this making me happy?” If the answers are ‘no,’ I find something else to do.

Happy Holidays!