[Screen]Writer Gift Guide // A Guide to Buying Gifts For the Writer in Your Life
With Christmas drawing near [bah humbug], I thought I’d take this opportunity to jump on the “gift guide” bandwagon [as it seems that every blogger and his dog has already posted at least one]. So, today I present to you some gift ideas for the writers in your lives.1
01. Apple iPad: I figured that I may as well start off with the priciest present suggestion. I’ve had my iPad for just over six months now, and it’s changed my life. I don’t use it so much for actual writing, but it’s absolutely brilliant for reading. Before, if I wanted to take a script somewhere, I either needed to print it out [which would sometimes cost over $20 at the uni library!], or carry my [rather heavy] MacBook Pro with me. The only problem that I can really think of is that some of the games are a little too addictive [Heroes Call, anyone?], which isn’t wonderful when you’re supposed to be productive in your reading or writing, but can’t stop killing goblins.
02. Desk Fan: Sometimes the only way I can get through a hot day is to sit with cool air being blasted at my face. While the Northern Hemisphere might be heading into winter, down here in Australia we’re about to face a pretty hot summer. And, if, like me, your writer friend plans to spend that summer sitting at a desk, tapping out some sort of masterpiece, they are going to need a desk fan.
03. Moleskine Diary: I absolutely swear by Moleskine “weekly planners”. I’ve been using them consistently for the past four years, and can safely say that they are the best diaries ever. The left hand page shows your week, broken down into days, but on the right you have a sheet of lined paper for other notes and to-do lists. Bendy and durable, the softcover “pocket” variety is a great size to chuck into a handbag, or even keep in your [jacket] pocket, if you don’t have another notebook handy. I finally ordered my 2013 diary on Saturday, and I hope it arrives soon. I’ve already got so many things to write in it…
04. Moleskine Square Reporter Notebook: I know, I know, enough with the Moleskines. They may be a little too hipster for the likes of many, but this particular style of notebook is one that I have yet to find a non-Moleskine replacement for. The square ruling means that you can write in any direction, or easily divide the page into boxes [great for brainstorming and storyboarding ideas], and the “reporter” binding means that it’s bound at the top, which is brilliant for any fellow left-handers out there. The thing about Moleskines is that they’re a little too expensive to buy for yourself, but not too expensive to give as a gift. With the classic design and functionality, they’re almost guaranteed to be a well-used and appreciated gift.
05. Lollies: They don’t have to be Wonka, really – any kind of sweets will do. Any writer who claims to never use lollies to motivate and power themselves along is either a liar or some kind of genius, the likes of which have never before been encountered. The truth is that most of us need some kind of sugary treat to keep us going2. Obviously some sort of dried fruit and nut arrangement would be far healthier, but nothing can quite compare to the kick that you get from downing a whole box of Nerds in a very short period of time.
06. Save The Cat!: Widely regarded as the only book on screenwriting that you’ll ever need, Save the Cat! contains excellent advice for writers of any story, not just film. The book breaks down different genres, and takes you through the bare bones of a story: from structure to embellishment. Complete with Blake Snyder’s own story cheat sheet, Save the Cat! is a fascinating read, and I thoroughly recommend it.
07. Logitech USB-Powered Cooling Mat: If you’ve ever burnt your legs by sitting with a very hot MacBook Pro on your lap, then this cooling mat is exactly what you need. The one I use is a few years old, and therefore not as fancy as this one [2 speeds, what?!], but the principle is the same: you sit your laptop on the mat, plug in the USB, and a little fan keeps your computer cool. It’s also great to sit your computer on without the fan, because the grippy pads keep everything in place, and it sits your keyboard at a nice angle that is really comfortable to type at. It doesn’t need software or anything, just plug and go, so you can use it on any computer – PC or Mac.
08. Owl Kigurumi3: Any writer who works from home will understand that some days you just don’t ant to get dressed. So, why not wear an owl onesie instead? Perfect for sitting around and pretending to be wise.
09. Scrabble Mug: If your writer friend is also a Scrabble-playing tea/coffee-drinker then they will certainly appreciate one of these. Even if they’re not into hot bevarages, they can still use it as a pen holder or something. And if they don’t like Scrabble… well, there must be something wrong with them. Scrabble is awesome.
10. ‘Laptop Buddy’ Stable Table: It may not look like the most glamorous of gifts, but trust me when I say that the stable table is a much appreciated gift. With its built in cup holder, this ‘Laptop Buddy’ is like a portable desk, allowing you to work on the couch, in the car… or in bed. It can also be used for eating, or playing solitaire.
11. Microsoft Office: If your writer friend is anything like me, then they’re probably too poor/stingy to pay for Microsoft Office, and are instead stuck with its freeware counterpart, OpenOffice. While OpenOffice is good [and free!], there’s nothing like the original.
12. External Hard Drive: I’ve been meaning to buy myself another external hard drive for months, however I just keep putting it off. There’s nothing scary about actually buying a hard drive, but it’s just one of those things that never seems quite important enough to warrant going out of my way to buy. Keeping everything backed up is important, though, so if someone were to give me a hard drive for Christmas, I’d be very appreciative.
13. Final Draft: As I mentioned above with Microsoft Office, computer software is expensive, and often writers simply can’t afford to [legally] buy the stuff. I’m still using Celtx for my screenwriting needs, and while it’s fine for the moment, I know that as soon as I try to find industry work, I’m going to need to upgrade to Final Draft. It’s pretty much the standard when it comes to screenwriting software, but it’s not cheap.
14. USB Fridge: I’ve wanted a little USB fridge ever since I saw one in an Officeworks catalogue a couple of Christmases ago. Just big enough to cool one can of drink at a time, having one of these babies would mean that I could lock myself away for hours. Imagine never having to walk all the way downstairs to the kitchen to get yourself a cold drink…
15. Fake Plant: When I set my desk up last week, I really felt like it needed a little bit of life; something green to help it feel less stuffy. I ended up buying a little fake plant from Ikea, and it worked like a charm. Somehow it makes the desk seem a little more homely, and less sterile. These bonsai plants are adorable – and the best thing about them is that they are never going to die. Writers can be forgetful folk, and there’s no way they’d be able to remember to water plants every day. This way, they don’t have to.
So, there you have it. 15 gift ideas for writers. Do you have any other awesome present ideas? If so, please leave a comment and let me know.
1 Please note that this post features Amazon Affiliate links, meaning that if you click through one of my links and buy something, then I might earn a couple of cents from your purchase. If this bothers you, then feel free to use Google to find the items yourself – most of them are available from many different sellers on a variety of websites. I should also point out that all opinions stated in this post are my own, and I have not been paid by any companies to shill their products.
2 Seriously, as I write this post, I am “rewarding” rewarding myself with Maltesers.
3 This is the same one that Arthur Darvill owns! Oh, and if anyone is still struggling to find a present for me: no, I don’t have one of these, and yes, I would most certainly like one.