A Wishlist for Writers

Do you have a writer in your life? Someone who craves words and sharing them with others? I know I can’t speak for all writers, but perhaps I can lend a helping hand if you’re looking for ways to encourage the wordsmith in your life.

  1. Writing journal. Not all writers use journals, but a great many of us use journals for one reason or another. A friend of mine keeps a small journal in his pocket and near his nightstand to jot down ideas as they come to him. That way, a great epiphany isn’t lost before he can sit down to write it out. Personally, I keep a hymn journal within ten feet of myself at all times. I’m just about finished with journal #7, and I’ve learned that I particularly love the ones that are spiral bound with thick paper and a pocket (but that’s just a bonus). Find out the writing process of your special creative to get ideas of the best tool for the job.
  2. Cool pens. Ask an editor, teacher, or writer what his or her favorite pen is. You will get an answer. And a weblink. With 23.5 reasons why it is the best pen EVER. But don’t let that stop you. We’re always on the lookout for new great pens. There’s something about a new and special pen that must be akin to a new bowling ball, club, or pair of shoes for bowlers, golfers, and runners. Note: this does not mean it must be a fancy, pricey pen. Besides, that might get lost. But there’s a spark of joy in a new sword—er—pen.
  3. Time and permission. Now, you probably think that a writer doesn’t really need to ask for permission to write. And that’s technically true. But with all the vocations and balances and obstacles and . . . there are so many barriers to a writer. If he or she feels guilty for spending time to write, it won’t happen. A gift card to a coffee shop or some such place might be the tangible reminder your poet might need to know that you support his or her work. Couple that with a time when you watch the kids, pets, plants, and you’ve got a perfect scenario for guilt-free creativity.
  4. Books. Writers read. They read other works (poets read poetry, novelists read novels . . . ) to sharpen their own work and to remind themselves of the joy of the craft. They also read metawriting (writing about writing). Search “best books about writing,” and you’ll have a great start. Personally, I just finished How to Read Poetry like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster, and I enjoyed nearly every minute of it. It helped me to think of ways to read poetry as well as ways to write poetry in the future. It also helped me better articulate my own thoughts about poetry (and specifically hymnody).
  5.  Encouragement. Read this person’s writing, and tell them what you love about it. Take their words, and turn them into a pillow, wall hanging, or jewelry. Pull out your favorite quotes from this person, and write them on a box, frame, or paperweight. It’s a priceless gift for a writer to know his or her own words have blessed others.

Whether you use these gift ideas now or in the future, I hope it helps you nurture creativity in the world, one writer at a time.