Yes, I am a writer. No, you won’t find the word ‘writerly’ in the dictionary. Language is always evolving and the word perfectly captures my meaning (as words are meant to do).
An old friend has become a new writer friend. He hasn’t found his publishing path, but he’s finished a novella and starting on a second book. I wanted to give him a gift to welcome him to the writers club and encourage him along his own way. Any writer’s path may be full of plot twists, disappointments, and failures (check out my previous blog posts for details on my own journey). Knowing you aren’t alone in your suffering and that someone loves and supports you makes all the difference.
Three things I included were notebooks, note cards, and good pens. If you have a writer in your life, this is a great starting point for holiday gift ideas.
Even with a new pen and notebook, staring at a blank page can be intimidating. Additionally, I wanted to add my own touch so I penned a personal note in the notebook (no, I didn’t use the new pens). I also added my favorite quotes about all things writerly. So many of these simply work as life inspiration as well. However, exploring that thought would require another rambling post.
Here is what ended up on my list:
–A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God. Sidney Sheldon
–It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly. C. J. Cherryh
–Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Benjamin Franklin
–Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. E. L. Doctorow
–The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. Gustave Flaubert
–There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. Ernest Hemingway
–A reading man and woman is a ready man and woman, but a writing man and woman is exact. Marcus Garvey
–I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles. Shannon Hale
–Easy reading is damn hard writing. Nathaniel Hawthorne
–A writer is a world trapped in a person. Victor Hugo
If you have a writer in your life, consider adding some encouragement on the first page of any new notebooks you give this holiday season. You can also find great inspirational and snarky writerly quotes on notepads, blank cards, mugs, totes, and pictures. Such gifts will encourage and support your writer even when they’ve chained themselves in their laptop in an attempt to finish their current draft. Again though, as we are writers, we appreciate you taking the time to pen your own personal note of encouragement and support to us in your gifts.
Your response may be that you aren’t a writer and wouldn’t know what to say. I understand that – it’s even harder for writers to pen such personal notes and typically requires many drafts. However, exploring that would definitely require another post. Let’s get back to you wanting to support your writer.
I understand it may be difficult to always know what your writer may need in terms of support. For example, regardless of how much we love writing, it can be a brutally savage experience before we even get painful feedback and bad reviews. We are pulling out our thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams, and nightmares from the darkest recesses of our minds and hearts to fill those blank pages that others judge and rip apart. Sounds like fun, right?
In truth, it is for writers. Even when it isn’t fun, it is still essential to us. It’s a strange paradox, I know, and chances are good that any writers in your life may be a little strange too. However, let’s celebrate the strangeness! Let us remember that the pen is mightier than the sword. Those writers in our lives may write something to change the world…they may write something that changes them…they may write something that changes you.
Your personal note can be quite simple and only needs to say that you love and support us. No need to pressure us to write a bestseller or how you want to celebrate once our books become movies. Trust me, we do enough dreaming and put enough pressure on ourselves as it is. We only need to know you support and love us.
Regardless of what gift you settle on, that’s really what your writer needs.
It would be remiss of me not to note that chocolate is always a wonderful encouragement and comfort to the writers in your life! And, of course, books are great gifts for writers but again do add a quick note in the cover to make it an even more personal gift. I would say to write a note on the chocolate, but I know I rip those open without reading anything (lest I accidentally read the calorie content).
And finally, if you need further encouragement to support the writer in your life, how about this: if a writer loves you then you’re forever immortalized.