Stumped for a holiday present for that hard-to-shop-for copywriter, blogger or editor in your life? Feeling a little frayed with the clock ticking as you hustle to tie-up 2009’s loose ends?
Relax. I’ve given it some thought—and come up with 10 useful presents that will please any and all writers in your life. Most ring up at $50 or less and are available online.
Writers’ Holiday Gift List and Buying Guide
Here are my gift picks, arranged in no particular order—okay, I’m lying: the Lamy Safari is my favorite.
- Lamy Safari Fountain Pen. Every writer deserves a nice fountain pen—the iconic symbol of our craft. Give a pen that’s more than retro-cool: A giftable fountain pen needs to look good, write better and not break the bank. My hands-down favorite is the Lamy Safari. Unlike your grandma’s vintage pen, the Safari puts ink where you want it—flowing smoothly over paper—not leaking into the pocket of your only good suit. Along with scribbling daily to-dos and muse-inspirations, the Safari impresses at client meetings. While available in many colors, all Lamy Safaris are green: the pens use replaceable ink cartridges or refillable converters. I admit a fetish for the white Lamy Safari, with its groovy Courrèges vibe. It’s hard to find—but I’ve spocked out a source for you.
- Stylish slippers. Corporate writers love to tell tales about freelance copywriters working at home in PJs all day. It’s not true: I make sure I change into street clothes before my kids come home from school. Just kidding! Self-respecting freelancers get dressed for work in the morning, just like everyone else. But we wear looser, comfier togs that transition quickly from home office to outside world. Stylish slippers are le must. Daniel Green’s “Glamour II” slippers make a great gift for gal writers. Put on a pair of his gold lamé or faux leopard slides and tell me you don’t feel like Dorothy Parker. Sorry men, you’ll have to settle for Minnetonkas.
- Sound-canceling headphones. Home-office-based freelance writers face constant assault from noise pollution. No place is immune and no season sacred: Lawn mowers, weed wackers and leaf and snow blowers mark months as dependably as equinox and solstice. When you really love a writer—and can spend $100-$400—give him the gift of silence. Let him tack up in a pair of headphones and block out the barbarians.
- Coffee. Joe. Java. Elixir of Life. Hot Black Liquid Inspiration. Writers run on coffee. For a cheap, sure-fire hit gift for word-slingers, buy a pound of good, dark beans. If you’re feeling flush, add a coffee grinder.
- Hourglasses. Looking for a simple, reliable writing
prodtool for the disorganized scrivener in your life? Try an hourglass. Nothing gets dawdling writers clacking keyboards faster than one of these old-fashioned time measures. I find two sizes useful: The 15-minute hourglass dissolves Writer’s Block. You turn it upside down, chant, “Just write for 15 minutes,” and watch what happens: An hour later you’re still writing. Magic. The 60-minute hourglass, on the other hand, helps you stop writing and switch gears. The hour-hourglass is great when you juggle multiple jobs and need to prevent Scope Creep, the cancerous disease that bloats jobs in proportion to the amount of time you allot to them.
Price: $10 for 15-minute hourglass, $30 for 60-minute hourglass
Where to buy: CB2
- Think Geek T-shirt. This t-shirt logo says it all, dudinit? Additional just-right-for-writer Think Geek t-shirts include “I’m blogging this” and “Caffeine Molecule”—illustrated with molecular diagram.
Where to buy: Think Geek
- The Synonym Finder by J. Rodale. Sorry, paper-free evangelists, but online search doesn’t substitute for this scrivener’s stalwart. Rodale’s The Synonym Finder helps you find exactly the right word for your copy. More importantly, a walk through its whispering pages reduces stress levels and lowers blood pressure. (Results of exacting clinical research trials conducted in the MarketCopywriter Writing Labs over the last 20 years await publication…) Think your writer friend already owns The Synonym Finder and doesn’t need another copy? Think again. Neurotic page turning breaks down this hardcover tome. I’m on my third volume.
Price: $21 Hardcover—don’t buy paperback
Where to buy: Amazon
- Massage. Writers barely move when they’re working—and their statue-stillness takes a huge toll on the body. Let a professional masseuse knead away kinks, spasms and tensions for better writing, health and well-being in 2010.
Price: $20- $30 for neck massage; $80-$100 for full-body massage
Where to buy: Try local search for spas and gyms, or ask chiropractors or physical therapists for recommendations.
- Gym or yoga studio membership. If you can afford a big splurge, exercise is probably the best gift you can give a sedentary scrivener. Sitting hunched at a computer screen leaves writers prone to weight gain, muscle loss, and mental and physical tension. This thoughtful gift—and its guilt-inducing price tag—forces
meflabby writers to move it before they lose it.
Price: $400-$2,000 annually
Where to buy: Google for gyms in your area. Time permitting, ask for a free pass to try the facilities.
- Amazon gift certificate. If nothing else appeals, you can always rely on Amazon: No matter how many books a writer piles on her to-read stack, she always wants more. Aside from The Synonym Finder, above, you’ll want to let your writer friend choose her own volumes.
Price: As large as your budget
Where to buy: Amazon
Add your own gift suggestions for writers.
Writers and those who love them: Feel free to add your own holiday gift suggestions in my comments.
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