Saturday, 11 December 2010
7 ways to give to your writer friends at Christmas
I'm a firm believer that staying informed on not only your craft but also your industry is important for all writers. There are various writing related magazines that can serve this purpose and that also run competitions. A good choice for all writers is Writing Magazine which incorporates Writers News. A similar publication is Writers Forum. For women writers, there's also Mslexia.
2. Writing Software
There are all kind of writing related software packages that you can buy for your writer friend. New Novelist provide a package that I've found quite useful in compiling the details of my novel and constructing a chapter plan. For help with creating your characters Character Writer provides what looks like an in depth approach that includes an enneagram based character generator. Storybook provides an open source (free) novel writing programme that can be downloaded from their site.
3. Books on writing
I personally feel that there is an unnecessary glut of how to books on writing that often give identical advice. Having said that, there are certain gems in there. The Writers and Artists Yearbook is my bible providing up to date information on publishers, agents and excellent advice from the industry. Stephen King's On Writing isn't so much a 'how to' as a 'how I did' book that makes for an entertaining and informative read. Writer Mama and Get Known Before The Book Deal by Christina Katz are mainly aimed at non fiction writers but provide information that can also be helpful to fiction writers. The first seeks to help parents fit a writing career in with their family life. The second describes how to build a platform for publicising your work.
Not every online presence has to cost a fortune. Show how much you appreciate your friend's writing, by setting up a blog for them to discuss and display their writing. Blogger provides a free blog service with a variety of designs that you can personalise to their taste.
5. Pens and pads
There aren't many writers that I know who don't turn into a child when faced with a stationery shop. Typing our creative expression onto a computer can be an efficient way to record our writing but having an ideas pad to carry around with us and beautiful pens to write those ideas down with is an indulgent joy that can be treasured.
6. Writing Slot
Any writer's internal editor offers more than sufficient reasons to delay our writing. Add those to the day to day routine (work, house chores, children, social life) and it can often seem that there isn't enough time in the day to get any writing done. If your partner is a writer, then giving them an hour a day when you won't disturb them or expect them to do anything but write can be a wonderful gift. If your writer friend is a parent, then offering to take their children to the park for an hour so they can write will be tremendously appreciated too.
This may sound silly but one of the best gifts you can give to a writer, published or not, is your recognition of them as a writer.