Last year I did up 25 Gifts for Writers, and may have accidentally suggested you kidnap Neil Gaiman. WELL NO MORE OF THAT, says this very specific legal writ. This year I’m back with another ten suggestions for the penmonkeys in your life.
What if I told you that there existed a piece of software that slammed a giant glacial wall between A WRITER and the INTERNET so that said writer could write? BOOM INTERNET BLOCKING SOFTWARE. Which sounds strange, I know, because it’s like a cookie jar that bites you every time you reach for it, but dang, it does the trick. Sure, the first few days the writer will be greasily pawing at her monitor trying to get at that sweet sweet Facebook game she’s been mindlessly playing instead of writing, but after a week she’ll settle into the warm productive bliss of hot, fresh word count. Get this for a writer and help them eliminate distractions. (Bonus points: actually give the writer in your life time to write!)
Tonx Coffee Subscription
A writer needs coffee. Tonx has amazing coffee. They will send it to you automatically. Yay.
Give somebody the ability to take notes and gasp keep them anywhere with the magic that is Evernote. As writers, we all basically have brains that look like 10-year-old underwear, all ratty and ragged, so give us this. Help us out. (If not that, then an iTunes or Android gift card to get us other writing or note-taking apps. Or maybe just porn. Who doesn’t need more porn?)
A book that explodes and dissects story in the most visually-explosive of ways. The writer in your life may not need this book, but they’ll damn sure savor it. Wonderbook, baby.
Houseplants give oxygen. They make excellent silent companions. And in a pinch they can be eaten for various hallucinogenic benefits. Ta-da! Health! Nature! Hallucinations!
Plus pins, markers, string, whatever. A corkboard on the wall — or a whiteboard or a chalkboard — make a damn good receptacle for a writer’s thoughts in a very physical, present way. You know how detectives or CIA agents or conspiracy nuts sometimes have that crazy wall with all the photos and all the strings connecting them? Writers are like that, too. Forget that thing I said about Evernote: an outline or mind-map right on your wall is magic stuff. The writer will appreciate this. Check Etsy for home-spun versions.
Life is distracting as all fuck. Kids screaming inside. Lawnmowers roaring outside. The wails of those you’ve trapped down in your basement. And so: ta-da, noise-canceling headphones. Also don’t be upset that when the writer in your life ignores you for a while — it’s nothing personal, it’s just, THE STORIES WILL SPOOK IF YOU SCARE THEM WITH LOUD TALKY TALKY.
External Storage Device (or Dropbox)
Redundant backups are powerful voodoo for a writer, so get them a USB key, an external hard drive, or a paid Dropbox account. I also use a robot monkey, an NSA drone, and the photographic memory of a 125-year-old Buddhist monk to store my writing, but I understand if you don’t want to take it that far. … Poser.
Solar-Powered Bluetooth Keyboard
I fucking love my solar-powered keyboard. Note I didn’t say “I love fucking my solar-power keyboard,” because I figure that would hurt. Never tried it, though. And my mother always said I should try everything once? Hm. Anyway. I’ve got the Logitech one for Mac, though larger ones are available. I take it with me wherever I go — er, I mean, when I travel, it’s not like I’m bringing it to the fucking gas station and shit. But it’s great. No batteries required. Very responsive. Will bludgeon an interloper in a pinch. The word-herder in your life may diggit.
Daniel Solis created these great physical dice — d6 “Writer Dice” — that work to help a writer continue pushing your story forward. You’ll find varieties other than these, too, like Rory’s Story Cubes. Related, but different: also awesome to get a writer word-bases games like Balderdash or Scrabble, or even awesomer, get them hooked on tabletop roleplaying games.
Shameless Plug #1: The Kick-Ass Writer
My book, The Kick-Ass Writer, will punt a writer’s netherquarters into the wordosphere with 1001 hard jabs of writing, storytelling and publishing advice. It exists in physical format, which means the aforementioned writer-type can get naked with it and rub it all over themsleves to absorb its dubious wisdom via fleshy osmosis. Details here.
Shameless Plug #2: Terribleminds Merch
Mugs and shirts terribleminds-style, baby. Certified Penmonkey! Art Harder, Motherfucker! And now I’ve added a new mug: the Art Harder Safe-For-Work version, where FUCKER gets a bunch of fancy asterisks. Whee! Asterisks! Asterisks look like cat buttholes!
37 responses to “Ten More Gifts For Writers (2013 Edition)”
Ooh… me like the writer dice very much. me want writers dice.
Uuuh… yeah, I’ve been away from my books a lot… painting clothes pegs can close your mind up a fair bit… 😛
As for the noise-cancelling headphones, I have closed off my office anyway, and so any noise has be really, explosively loud to bother me…. :D… honestly, the last time I got into writing and ignored the world, I was dumped by a guy over the phone and didn’t even realised it as I was editing my book at the time and he didn’t realised I was doing that while he was talking to me on the phone… so, really, I don’t need the headphones, I can switch off no matter what.
But the dice look great! 😀
I took “The Kick-Ass Writer” (along with a few other writerly books) with me to Europe when I went over to meet with my editors. Awesome book! Funny, too! It was the only book I read the whole time I was there. I even took it to the restaurant so I could read it while I was eating. I took it other places, too, but I’m not telling about those.
Anyway– great book!
Thanks, Ruth! Kind of you to say!
I happened to stumble across this post while surrounded by family and friends. I am not afraid to say that I turned the screen around and did some shameless elbowing when it came to the SFW coffee mugs and The Kick-Ass Writer. And then I did some more elbowing. And hinting. And then winks.
I don’t think they got the message. Yet.
Maybe just an empty storage unit with a notebook and pen in it.
Freedom looks cool but have you tried Cold Turkey? I like how it can be set to block certain websites and not the internet entirely.
Totally have to agree with you on the Evernote sub. Completely changed the way I write and the version control has saved my ass more than once when it comes to accidentally deleting shit which I seem to constantly do.
Don’t forget CASH money. The best present of all.
Ooooh, noise-cancelling headphones….!
I never thought I’d need them – being hearing-impaired has kind of given me a built-in noise-cancelling ability I can call on by simply not looking at the source of the noise if it’s human in origin. But that was before I got myself a seven-year-old son who’s discovered the joys of computer games. He plays on Daddy’s computer while he’s at work, which is in the same room as mine.
It’s ideal for making sure he’s not accessing stuff he shouldn’t be – but the downside is a seven-year-old is VERY LOUD, even for a cloth-ears like me. And he’s picked up a lot of the gamer leet-speak; trust me, you can only hear high-pitched screams and sentences where every other word is ‘dude’ for so long before your brain starts to cry bitter tears of pain…
But i’m also liking a lot of the other suggestions too… might have to leave this page strategically ‘up’ on my screen for long periods in the run-up to Christmas… ;^)
I have the PC version of the logitech keyboard and would second it’s greatness. Though now we’re into an English winter the light into my caveoffice has substantially reduced and I’m “doing the grizzly” hoping that it’ll survive on body fat until spring comes.
I like to use the waste no time app on chrome, its free, but limited obviously just to google chrome. It has seriously curtailed my internet time though!
Chuck, I’ve been looking for your ‘Pen Monkey’ mugs on that site you mentioned a while back but couldn’t find them… 🙁 could you upload the link again please? I want to get myself something cool that I can use while I’m writing and painting … and I can take to the coast and say: ‘Hey! That’s my coffee mug!’
*Does the Snoopy Happy Dance*
Oh crap you guys saw that! Shit… now you know I love Snoopy. *blush*
Yeah, I’m doing my famous Snoopy Happy Dance around my home office for a great reason, I bought your ‘Certified Penmonkey’ mug in hunter green, chuck! I can’t wait until it arrives at my post office box! It’s gonna be a wonderful thing of wicked beauty to add to my collection. 😀
And aren’t we all penmonkeys at some point in our lives? 🙂
I think I’ve given three copies of the Kick Ass Writer to folks now for Christmas. Every one has thanked me after reading a few pages too.
No kidding? Thanks! That’s great to hear.
[…] I’m at that cut-the-whole-project phase. Le sigh. While I work through this, I found a wonderful and hilarious list of gifts to give writers from the terrible mind of Chuck Wendig who is increasingly catching my notice as an hilarious […]
[…] Chuck Wendig’s 10 More Gifts for Writers, from Terrible Minds […]
Glad to see “Wonderbook” mentioned on your list, Chuck. I picked it up earlier this month. If you or anyone else has finished “Wonderbook” and are on the prowl for another book on writing, I recommend Samuel Delany’s “About Writing”. Delany’s a sci-fi and fantasy author who has also taught creative writing for decades. Some sections of “About Writing” are a bit discursive, but nearly every page has advice worth annotating.
I’d also add “Buying their books” or “leaving reviews on websites” to this list. Assuming the author in your life has work in the world.
I think I covered those in the 25 Gifts for Writers post last year. Though I kinda fade in and out.
Happily, my workspace would be perfectly tolerant of an “Art Harder, Motherfucker!” mug without the cat butts.
Thankfully, the NSFW version remains, then! Woot.
I gifted myself the Kick-Ass Writer for Christmas. Best present I’m going to get!
Oh, houseplants are a bad idea in practice. As a writer, I get so lost in my work that I commit plant homicide through neglect. .
I already have half your books. I just need others to get me the rest for christmas! =D
Wonderbook and Kick Ass Writer look good. Thanks!
*paws at the wonderbook and Rory’s cubes like an estranged animal*
*cough cough* ahem. Good list. Good list indeed, sir. *nod nod*
Thanks for the plug! I’m almost out of stock of Writer’s Dice!
Awesome 🙂 i got 50 GB of Free dropbox space when i bought my new Samsung tablet, Yay for freebees
I’m a big fan of anti-distraction and productivity programs. There are actually quite a few free/open source alternatives to Freedom. You can find a nice list here: http://alternativeto.net/software/macfreedom/ (AlternativeTo is a great way to find free/OSS/commercial programs similar to Mac-only applications for Windows or vice versa.)
[…] at Terrible Minds, 10 Gifts for Writers […]
[…] Ten More Gifts for Writers (2013 Edition) Chuck Wendig suggests ten items to get for the writer on your gift list. There is some good stuff on here. I have more than half the stuff on this list and I use ‘em all daily. […]
[…] Ten More Gifts For Writers (2013 Edition) « terribleminds: chuck wendig […]
[…] Wendig (whom I have been referencing a lot — sorry, Chuck) has made a really awesome post of gifts you can get for a writer. These gifts go beyond the obvious notebook-and-pen choice and into even more practical territory. […]
[…] one day, Chuck Wendig (Terrible Minds) ran a blog post about Christmas gifts for writers. One of the gifts was Rory’s Story […]
[…] one day, Chuck Wendig (Terrible Minds) ran a blog post about Christmas gifts for writers. One of the gifts was Rory’s Story Cubes. […]