Gifts for Writers

Nancy J. Cohen

What should you buy for the writer on your gift list? Here are some ideas that may appeal to all in no particular order. Some of the more interesting gifts I’ve received have come from my writer pals or my kids, like the jar labeled Writer’s Remedy that holds little squares with different words for inspiration, or the figure holding a hammer to his computer with a plaque that says #1 Author & Mom, or the coffee mug with my book title. One year, my husband gave me a glass-blown Disney castle to represent my dreams coming true. Be imaginative or be simple. Whatever you give will be appreciated.


1. Books and DVDs on their Wish List.
2. Gift Cards to Amazon, BN, Starbucks, Office Depot, iTunes or their favorite shopping site.
3. Office Supplies: Sticky notes, highlighters, Sharpie pens, a good quality ballpoint pen, paper clips, pocket notebooks. You name it, we can use it.
4. Personalized notepads or sticky notes.
5. Cute desk accessories like Brighton pens or desk clocks or magnetic paper clip holders.
6. Scented candles to make the office smell good.
7. Body lotions, hand cream, scented soaps. These are always useful.
8. A gift certificate to a day spa. A manicure or massage can go a long way toward relaxation.
9. Flash Drive. We can use several of these to back up our files and to keep in different locations.
10. Portable charging device for electronics.
11. Food baskets, chocolates, and wine. You can never go wrong here.
12. Decorative coasters for their desktop.
13. Collectible paperweights.
14. Restaurant gift cards so they don’t have to cook.
15. Cute novelty items for writers. Look in all those catalogs you get in the mail.
16. DVD movies about writers. Years ago, I gave my critique group pals each a DVD of Her Alibi. Starring Tom Selleck, this movie is a hilarious romantic crime caper about a mystery writer. Or get one of the many take-offs on Jane Austen (Austenland, Lost in Austen, plus the works themselves), English period murder mysteries or Downton Abbey, the latest season of Castle, or anything else your loved one might appreciate. Remember how we all loved Romancing the Stone? The classics never go out of date.
17. Did I already mention chocolate?

What else would you add to this list?

Holiday Frenzy

The holidays are approaching and along with them comes the frenzy of gift buying, writing greeting cards, shopping online, planning family dinners, and attending parties. Who can write with such distractions? It used to be, when I wrote one book a year for Kensington, that I could program in time off during this season. But since my current deadlines are self-imposed, this doesn’t hold true anymore.

My goal is to submit my next mystery within the next two weeks. I am going through my second round of self-edits now and am two-thirds of the way through. Then I have to comply with the publisher’s formatting guidelines, make sure I have the front and back end material, and complete the ancillary forms that have to be sent with the manuscript.

All this while roofers are banging overhead to replace our tile roof. My friend had a broken roof too and she told me to check out to get it repaired. I’m so glad it’s finally getting fixed!! Oh, and it’s also our anniversary this month. So as you can see, it’s hard for me to concentrate on work-related issues. I’ve had to vacate my home office when the roofing guys start banging over my head and plaster drifts down from the ceiling.

If I ever finish this project and send it in, I plan to take a few weeks off just to get caught up on mail, to enjoy seasonal events, and to start on tax records. That’s the beauty of setting your own deadlines. You can take time off when necessary.

Do you figure in a break during this season or do you plow ahead? That’s assuming your editor doesn’t send you page proofs or edits with one week to turn them around. And do you do anything special for your fans during the holidays?