Hello, hello! There are some changes going on around the place at the moment here. I feel like I’m in a chrysalis stage. Sometime soon I’m going to burst forth with a new and improved version of myself 😉 One of the small things I’ve started doing of late is that when I get asked what I do, I say I’m a writer.
A writer is someone who writes, right? (groan)
It felt weird at first to say, “I’m a writer”, but I’m growing into it. I think.
The next question is usually, what do you write?
At that point in the conversation, I’m usually rather cryptic because I don’t want to jinx anything, but also because the potential for the story to change is highly probable. Also, side note, I’ve been working on my elevator pitch for ages and for me this finally feels comfortable, if a little short. Ha, it’s clearly a short elevator ride right now.
I’m writing more than I ever have before and it is blowing my mind that I’ve stuck with it.
There are some things I use that make my life easier and that I wouldn’t be without. I’ve included these below.
There are other things I’ve included, in this gifts for writers article, which would help any writers life. I’ve not tried them, yet, but I intend to. Read on for gift ideas for the writer, blogger or budding novelist in your life.
Sticky notes/ Post-it notes
I go through so many of these and I’ve tried a few different brands too. I always come back to Post-it though as they seem to have a bit more sticky staying power than the others. Great for To-Do lists, word count targets, scenes or chapter shuffling, messages for family members (send more coffee) and general notes.
This is something I haven’t tried yet and at the moment I feel like the learning curve would be too steep for the time frame I have. Having said that, Schrivener does tick a lot of my boxes. Its app-based and you write within it. You can store all research and notes in one place and also shuffle things around. I’m currently working on Microsoft Word and I’m not a fan of it at the best of times. I’ll definitely be using the free trial of Schrivener at some point soon.
Subscription to Writing Magazine
I first bought this magazine off the shelf last year when I was in the midst of my coaching. There was a great offer on a subscription within it so it seemed like a sign and I subscribed. Some months are better than others at Writing Magazine, but I love getting it through the door and reading all about the wider world of writing. This magazine covers so much and has loads of actionable content. It’s a definite motivation boost for me. Another one I’ve spotted recently is Mslexia magazine which is specifically for women writers.
This is another app which does all your spell checking and grammar checking for you. I use the free version at the moment, but there’s always room for improvement. I hate getting bogged down with spelling and grammar. I find it muddles up my creative flow, so having this tool in my arsenal is helpful for me making progress.
This is self-explanatory, right? All writers are stationery fiends I’m sure.
Another self-explanatory one, but this pen especially. I write a lot in pencil but I’ve realised that pen is much more legible, even in my handwriting!
Okay, so when I realised I’d be sat at my laptop for hours on end it felt like (dairy-free) chocolate was the only way I’d get through. After a while of doing this, I started to feel sluggish and bigger around my middle. I wasn’t moving around and I was eating way more than I needed to. So I looked into healthier nibbles and now have a mix of almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds on hand for those, I need a nibble, moments. I’ve got lots of herbal teas in too, as too much caffeine hinders rather than helps me. Although I do have coffee, I’m trying not to have too much.
Comfy and Warm clothes
Being uncomfortable and/or cold does not help when writing. You need distraction-free clothes. Jogging bottoms or yoga pants, thermal socks (if you’re in the UK!) and layers on top. My house gets cold and layers work best. A Tee shirt with a shirt over with a cardigan over that. I’ve even worn a scarf before now. I’ve seen some wrist warmers too which still allow you to type.
Time to Write
This is the biggy, isn’t it? How to find the time to write. The truth is no one has time to write. Unless you’re Stephen King.
You have to carve up the rest of your day and create the time to write. In terms of giving this as a gift, you could take the kids swimming on a weekend morning and give your partner that guaranteed time each weekend or treat your writer to a couple of nights in a local hotel with the aim of getting a large chunk of work done. Perhaps find your writer friend a local creative writing group and insist they attend. Improvise and see if you can give them some time, or go to the next point…
A writers retreat or festival ticket
If you want to invest in your writing or give the gift of time for your beloved writer, then perhaps a residential writing retreat like Arvon who have several sites in the UK would help. There Literary Festivals all over too, you just need to look for them (hello Google) Or maybe a Summer Writing School like Swanwick is the perfect writers’ gift you’ve been looking for.
Do any of these float your boat? Let me know in the comments.
I’ll write about my favourite books about writing in a future post because they make great gifts too, but clearly need a list of their own.