My Favorite Things

This week the Muses will be sharing gift ideas. I encourage you to pass on the items that spark your interest to significant others and family members looking for that perfect holiday gift to support your writing endeavors. Or you can just buy them for yourself :)

So if I were Oprah, I'd cue the elves to bring out one of the following for each and every one of you! (You can start screaming, crying, and jumping up and down now if you want... you know, virtually)

Donna's Gift Ideas for Writers

1. Books about writing. There are lots of good ones, but my all time favorite is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I've given it away so many times, I don't even have a copy right now.

2. A writing journal and a good pen. I find writing "the old fashioned way" with paper and a pen brings something different to the page. I love beautiful journals and a pen that glides across the paper.

3. Coffee Shop Gift Certificate. Most Tuesday/Thursday mornings before I head into the office, you'll find me at Cafe Adore in Old Town Fort Collins. I love the fact they know me by name and keep my account on an index card in a box by the register to settle up at the end of the month. If Santa wanted to put some money on my account, that'd be great!

4. Time Away. When I get to a critical point in a manuscript I go to "writer's prison." It's actually an abbey on a working farm up near the Wyoming/Colorado boarder. The cost for personal retreat time is $55 a night and all meals are included. You get a bed and a desk, no five star hotel, but it's perfect for just writing. No internet. No television. No phone (except for emergencies). Even my cell phone doesn't work unless I climb up to a rocky cliff overlooking the retreat center and perch just right on the overhang. The result... no excuses. And there's a wild, beautiful landscape right outside the door for long hikes to think through that next scene. Maybe you don't have an Abbey of St. Walburga near you, but there might be something similar.

5. Time to Connect. Writing conferences are the perfect opportunity to get outside your head and connect your writing to others. Make new friends. Hear about the business. Learn about the craft of writing. There are lots of wonderful choices, but one upcoming opportunity is the SCBWI winter conference in New York at the end of January. A timely idea for a holiday gift, right?

6. A Netbook. They're relatively inexpensive and can slip right in to an oversized purse, so writing on that latest manuscript is never far away. I LOVE my little hp mini and take it everywhere.

7. An E Reader. I adore books. I love the look of them, the smell of them, the feel of them. So it was a bit hard to convince me I could love my Kindle with same kind of passion. I was won over though by the fact I can easily take five new hardback books on every plane trip and, if I ran out of reading material, get something new at a moment's notice.

8. Housekeeper. Maybe a bit of a wild card, but buying a housekeeper's services for a month or two would be an amazing gift to a writer struggling to get a draft down in midst of the rest of life.

9. Snowshoes. I live in Colorado, so snowshoes might not be the best choice for you. To me, they symbolize time outside and away from a computer screen, to walk, think and reconnect with the bigger picture ideas in my mind. Maybe you'd choose tennis shoes, a gym membership, or a bike. Whatever works.

10. Your turn __________________________. What would support you right now? What's your "ultimate" gift idea for the writing life. We'd love to hear it.


I love Bird by Bird. I read it in an Intro to Creative Writing class in college and her chapter on crappy first drafts has stuck with me--it's the only way I got through the first draft of my WIP without going insane! I would definitely recommend it to any new writer.

You've covered almost every one of my ultimate writing gifts! I'd add great fiction books to read that would inspire me.

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