Five Gifts For Your Writers

Hello, hello!  It’s December.  That means everyone who didn’t put up their decorations right after Thanksgiving (or even before it) will soon be scrambling to catch up with their holiday check-lists (unless you’re like me and don’t really celebrate anything, then you have nothing to worry about!).  Those check-lists will undoubtedly include doing some gift shopping.  So, I thought I would take a minute to give you a few gift ideas for the writers in your life.

218375-Welcome-December

1. Journals.  Yes, your writer probably has a bunch of empty or half-empty journals and spirals scattered around their writing room.  Don’t be fooled.  It’s never enough.  They are always on the lookout for a new place to jot down ideas and notes.  And it’s easy enough to see what kind they prefer by taking a quick peek in their writing room (if you’re allowed in there).  Some writers prefer simple spirals, some prefer eye catching covers, and others prefer leather-bound journals.  If you know your writer well enough, you’ll find one that speaks to them.

2. A good pair of headphones or earbuds.  Preferably noise cancelling.  Because, even though your writer loves you, sometimes it’s just easier to write when they can drown out the rest of the world.  Plus, if they’re the type who listens to the same playlist on repeat while writing, headphones will give you a break from having to listen to the same song for the hundredth time through the wall.  It’s a twofer!

writers-tears-mini-book-776x1176

3. For your writers who drink, there’s always Writers’ Tears from Walsh Whiskey Distillery.  It’s an Irish whiskey and comes in three varieties.  You can also find the cute little book version pictured above.  I’ve never tried it and I’ve heard varying reviews of the stuff, so I can’t vouch for the taste.  But even if your writer isn’t a whiskey drinker, who wouldn’t want a bottle of this stuff to sit on their desk?  We all need the reminder that our writerly tears are not the only ones being shed.  Because writing is hard.  Plus, we’re always told to write drunk and edit sober!

4. Fancy pens.  Like the journals, your writer probably has a few of these sitting around their workspace unused, but don’t let that deter you.  Writers tend to love pens and quills and all the fancy writing equipment from days of old.  Granted, they probably won’t use them because there’s nothing that writes quite like a cheap BiC, but they sure are pretty to look at.  And those pretty pens help keep the impostor syndrome at bay.  That’s always a plus.

IMG_9920_1024x1024

5. Soap or candles from Whiskey River Soap Co.  Aside from the writer’s block soap, there’s also grammar police soap and soap for introverts.  With such a wide variety sold in a number of places, you’re bound to find the perfect match for your writer.  Also, sometimes your writer needs a reminder to take a break and shower.  After the shower, give them food before they wander back into their own little world.

So, there are a few ideas of gifts for your writers.  Feel free to add your own list here or on my social media pages!

Screen Vs. Paper

Hello, hello!  How is everyone’s March going?  Are we all ready for spring?  Personally, I’m definitely ready to sit outside and write or read.  The only problem with writing outside is that I use my computer (and its battery sucks), so I only get about two hours if I’m lucky before it has to be plugged back in.  Which brings me to today’s topic: screen vs. paper.  It’s a subjective topic.  Some people work better when typing and others feel more productive with a pen in their hand.  I’m kind of stuck in the middle on this one.

notebook-computer-writing-blogging
They both have benefits and drawbacks.

I tend to be a screen person.  Why?  Simply because it’s easier for me.  Whether I’m using my backscratcher to hit the keys or the on-screen keyboard, I can type much faster than I can write.  It’s not that I feel more productive (though technically I am) or creative when I’m on the computer, it’s just a matter of time management and the independence it gives me to work on whatever I want without having to worry about asking someone (namely Dad) for more paper or a different binder or whatever when I want to change projects.  For me, the computer makes life easier, so it’s what I use.

What most people don’t know is that I actually enjoy using a pen and paper.  I’ve always loved notebooks and journals and the like.  I used to have tons of them, but they mostly stayed empty.  It takes me twice as long as the slowest writer you know to even sign my name.  The paper has to be placed a certain way.  Sometimes, I have to write upside down.  I can’t move my arms much, so even something as simple as writing by hand becomes a big production.  But still, I like the feel of a pen in hand and my hand coming away covered in ink or graphite from rubbing across the page (left-handed people will understand).  Plus, I like being able to doodle in the margins when I’m stuck on something.

7
The struggle is real.

So, like I said, I’m stuck in the middle.  I love the idea of writing by hand, but it’s not a feasible every day thing for me, so I usually go with typing.  I can definitely see where some people might have trouble focusing on a computer (that Internet button is so damn alluring).  I can also understand why some people find paper to be impractical (there’s just no easy way to erase a sentence and add a paragraph in its place without making a seeming mess of the paper).  I guess I’m lucky that I can enjoy working both ways, even if I mainly stick to the screen.

squirrel of judgment
The lure of the Interwebz has its downsides: judgmental squirrels.

I guess it’s all about finding what works for you.  Are you a screen or paper person?  This question isn’t limited to writers.  Even artists have the option of working on the computer or in more traditional mediums.  So, what do you prefer?  Or maybe you like using both in your process.  As always, feel free to share your thoughts here or on my social media sites!

Until next time!

Snail Mail: A Forgotten Art

Hello all!  Today, I’d like to talk a little about the forgotten art of letter writing.  Most of the year, I don’t really think about it, but around Christmas and family birthdays, the lack of snail mail becomes quite noticeable.  Each year we receive fewer Christmas cards.  For instance, this year we sent out about three times as many as we got.  We used to get just as many as we sent.  I’m not complaining, it’s just an observation.  It got me thinking about the yearly lack of letters (not that I can say much since I don’t send many either), so I thought I’d ramble a bit about it.

10259737-805322799477840-6426087887499538364-n-1

I’m actually one of the lucky few.  I receive letters pretty regularly (granted, they’re from my sister in prison, so they usually say basically the same thing, but a letter’s a letter).  It’s a subject I talk about with my friends a lot, and we all agree that we should start writing to each other more often, but we never do.  Why?  When did writing a quick note, stuffing it in an envelope, and putting it in the mail become such a hassle?  People blame the Internet for making us lazy, but is that really it?  I mean, it takes just as much effort to send an email or PM or whatever as it does to write a letter, it’s simply a different kind of effort.  Don’t believe me?  Then you’ve obviously never taught someone how to text or anything.

In a lot of ways, social media makes keeping in touch easier, but it’s really superficial.  Don’t get me wrong, since most of my friends live far away from me, I love that social media keeps me up-to-date with them.  I’m just saying that it also gives me the option of stalking these friends without actually interacting with them, like “oh hey!  He posted something today.  He’s alive.  I’ll check in with him later.”  But later never comes because it’s an endless cycle.  You can’t do that with letters.  In letters and cards, people often choose to let you deeper into their lives than “here’s a picture of my dinner!” or “look at my feet in this weird beach pic!” or whatever.  Letters are personal.

8a15ff034673cf5c66ebc4b0131d1b22

Letters and cards also show that people are thinking about you.  They require forethought, especially for events like birthdays and holidays.  I love all of the birthday messages I get on Facebook (from the “happy birthday!” messages to the more personalized ones), but I always wonder what would happen if I turned off the notification.  How many people would actually remember without Facebook telling them?  A birthday card in the mail means someone put me in their calendar.  It’s just really sweet.

FountainPens1-e1285556502616
Plus, it gives you an excuse to buy pretty pens.

 

Like I said, I can’t say much since I’m not very good about writing letters and sending cards and all that, but I do recognize that it’s a dying art form.  I think it would be neat to get back into it, especially with friends.  So, go out there and show someone you’re thinking about them outside of cyberspace.  Write a note.  If you don’t want to spend money on a stamp and they live close enough, slip it under their door or put it somewhere they’ll find it.  Bring back the letter in all its glory!  Or don’t.  Whatever floats your boat.