Tuesday, 13 December 2011

12 Gifts of Christmas - For Writers

           By Ruth Symes / Megan Rix

There are so many lovely gifts for writers out there, from extremely cheap to lavishly expensive. We must be the easiest people to buy for! Here’s my top 12 Christmas list:

1. Journals and notebooks and paper: You can never have too many or too much, in my opinion, (recycled paper best if poss). A4 books for getting down to some serious writing. Smaller notebooks for stuffing in a handbag or pocket, along with a pen, for when inspiration strikes!

When walking on the beach this spring I even found a waterproof notebook that you could use in the rain or in the bath.

2. Yearly Planner Wall-chart: I love being able to put a daily sticker (occasionally two) on my yearly wall-chart to mark off each 1000 words written. The best part is coming to the end year of the year and having a wall-chart covered in them - very satisfying.

3. Timer: If I’m needing help to get motivated I put a timer on for an hour and tell myself I can’t have another coffee or lunch etc until the hour is up. A friend of mine used to tie herself to her chair so she couldn’t stop until her designated time was over. I think tying yourself up is too extreme - but a timer is good to have. 

4. Books to read: Reading for pleasure and reading for research. Books you like and ones you don’t. When I was thinking of writing my memoir ‘The Puppy that came for Christmas’ my non-fiction agent told me to read as many animal memoirs as I could. I must have read over 20 before I put pen to paper.

All that reading must have helped because it made the Sunday Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List last year.

5. Mobile phone: With email on it, so the writer never misses a precious publisher or agent’s email while out walking the dogs.

6. Incense sticks: These help me focus when I’m not in a writer-ly frame of mind. I also find them very good for getting me in a mystical, magical mood for when I’m writing the Bella Donna books.

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7. Smart Pen: I love writing by hand and although this pen is expensive, along with the special notebooks it needs, it lets my scribbled handwriting be converted into print - it also lets you write anywhere as you just plug it into the computer once you’ve finished – and voila you have text - just remember to turn it on! (I forgot to do this when we were on holiday and came back with tons of handwriting that couldn’t be converted into print - v. annoying.)

8. Dragon Dictate:  For when the poor writer’s hands are too tired from typing and mouse manoeuvring. Seriously though, RSI should not be taken lying down - if a writer starts getting twinges of pain in  their hands they should try to vary the way they write.

9. Pens and pencils: Must haves! You can never have too many pens because you can never find one when you need one.
10. Diary: To record all those things that can be turned into a story or go in a memoir one day.

11.Subscriptions to Writing Magazines: How To ones and Book Review ones. I loved getting this one from America last week: So you've made your list. You've checked it twice, but if "The Puppy That Came for Christmas" isn't on it, you need to check again.’ Thanks Terri Schlichenmeyer.

12. Writers holidays/retreats/courses: A luxury, I know,  but it’s very important for a writer to be rejuvenated every now and again - to keep them going for the next year or two!

 Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Power to your Pen in 2012!  xxx

More details of my holiday gift ideas can be found on my website www.ruthsymes.com or www.meganrix.com


Elen C said...

Yes to the Smart Pen!
I'd also add rugs/blankets to keep your writer warm when they feel bad having the central heating on if they're the only person at home...brrrr.

Ruth said...

Yeowch! Def rugs and blankets and maybe some chocolate sounds needed, Have just come back from walking the dogs by the icy river and am appreciating our tiny terraced house that is all toasty all year round (not quite so good in the summer!) x

Penny Dolan said...

The Smart Pen sounds very incteresting idea. Was dimly aware of such technology but had never thought of it as - possibly - a thing that a writer would use. Until now.

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