Hello at last fellow Children’s Writers and Friends,
With only three weeks to Christmas, whether I have bitten off more than I chew or not, it is time I posted my take on Gifts for the Writer in Your Life. Aside from having one child who is beginning her HSC journey now and one who began his Uni life this year (read assignments and family pressure galore) my struggle with this list lay in trying to be original as there are already several excellent ones out there this year. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel has actually been quite a struggle. Nonetheless, I have decided that some items bear mentioning regardless of how many times they’ve been mentioned before, for example Aquanotes and other underwater writing slates. These ingenious tools originally invented for communicating deep under the sea are a great tool for the writer whose creative juices flow best through a shower nozzle. You can find the bigger versions through shops specialising in diving gear for around $10-20 and Aquanotes itself on amazon.com for $7-9 This great idea and 39 others can be found on an excellent annual list put out by elissafield.wordpress.com
The above are of course simply very clever journals/notebooks which are almost always loved by writers. Some love the feel of actual paper ones and there are many pretty, masculine, luxury, way out designs, out there and which one to get really depends on your writing friend’s tastes and interests. Bear in mind, that just like books; although the swing is back to actual paper, as for many it enhances creativity; many tech-savvy, time-poor scribes are favouring electronic versions. If these are in your budget I’m sure an iPad, Notebook or other such Tablet would never go astray. For those who already own these, but are still looking for some cyber-generated assistance, there are many creative writing software platforms out there from the matrix-style Master Writer series found at www.writersdigestshop.com from $100 to Scrivener which can be found everywhere from www.writersstore.com to eBay and its original home of literatureandlatte.com where you’ll also find their less prescribed more free writing style tool Scrapple for only $20
Here’s another which I know has been around for a while and in different versions for different uses within the office, school and home environments- Dragonspeak, or to use its correct name Dragon Naturally Speaking Software would indeed be a great gift for writers in a hurry. Haven’t you ever dictated a story idea into a Memo/ Notetaking device only to have to transcribe it later? With Dragonspeak that’s no longer necessary as your ideas are transcribed as you dictat. Brilliant and ranging in price from $115 to $1070 for purchase from Officeworks or direct from the manufacturer at australia.nuance.com and www.nuance.com/Dragon/Cyber-Savings to get some great deals.
Aside from actual writing tools and among these don’t forget books, both to read for enjoyment and modelling and books on the craft of writing, these are found everywhere, but see the Pilot Writer’s Diary from http://www.pilotpress.com.au for some great suggestions on which are worth purchasing and perusing. While we’re exploring Aussie companies and the tools, products and services they offer be sure to have a look at Tadaa Book‘s new Storyboard Notebook for Picture Book writers, with each double page spread sporting enough boxes to allow you to plan your next picture book particularly the best possible page turns. Find it on their Facebook Page.
Fun and Quirky gifts are always a good idea as most writers tend to have a fairly good sense of humour, usually a self effacing one, it’s needed to survive the rejection letters if nothing else. If you’re after ideas for some and/or for ones which help writers display their pride check out this combination of clothing, bags, jewellery, mugs, stationary and prints from cafepress.com.au, etsy.com, writersstore.com and aerogrammestudio.com
Disclaimer: I own none of these images. They are screenshots and as a result the websites are listed in the bar above each image. They are also referenced above with links to the websites from which the screenshot was taken.
Something else to consider is that writers, who tend to juggle their time between family, day job and whatever other commitments they have, often feel guilty no matter what they are doing. A truly wonderful gift is to give the writer in your life the permission and if you can, the facility to write. This can come simply via farming out distracting tasks such as ironing, housekeeping, gardening etc. You could take these on yourself or perhaps try such groups as Airtasker who will do just about any job you don’t have time, ability or interest in doing, at a cost of course. These vary so shop around. Other ways to encourage and enable your ink slinging buddy are by purchasing subscriptions to trade magazines such as BuzzWords or PASS IT ON. If you have the facility yourself you could really thrill them by paying for them to attend a course, writers retreat, conference, have a manuscript appraisal or take part in a mentorship. The Australian or State Writers Centres, Creative Kids Tales, Pinerolo and your favourite writer’s website are just a few reputable places to begin your local search. Of course there are so many more possibilities when you begin to search for these overseas, if you plan to make this double as a holiday for you and your beloved literary pal.
Here’s the original part- finally, when it comes to buying gifts for writers the thing to remember is, that there are as many different types of writers and therefore writers gifts as there are writers, so know their interests and buy gifts accordingly, music to inspire or simply enjoy, shows whether DVD or musical or theatre, books, trips, adventures, opportunities to help the world (globalgiving.org is a good place to start, or a charity of their choice) because the more a writer can immerse themselves into what they and those around them find interesting, amusing, heartwarming, important, then the better a writer they will become. The happier therefore, they and you will be when it’s a Happy Christmas all round.
Well that’s it for me this year. I hope you and yours all have a happy, healthy and safe Christmas with lots of inspiration, learning and success in 2017
Till then farewell Fellow Travellers
Savour the Quest