Tuesday 26 March 2013

Gifts for Writers

Just before Christmas I was contemplating buying a gift for a writing friend. I saw something that looked absolutely fabulous in Waterstones. It was called “The Writer’s Toolkit” or something similar. It looked delightful. It came in a very attractive tin. It contained lots of prompts, tips and treats for the writer.
But I really shouldn’t spend that amount of money on my friend. She has given up the day job, lives on a shoe string and can only buy people token presents. It would embarrass her.
It struck me, though, that I could make her a Toolkit myself. The time it would take and the care in the choices I made would be the real gift. The Toolkit would come mainly from bits and pieces I had lying around.
I didn’t do it this year but I’m actually considering doing it for next year and also for one or two other writing friends.
Here are some of the ingredients for a Writer’s Toolkit:
  • An attractive tin or box to put everything in
  • A few old postcards – the pictures on the front and the messages on the back may lead to stories (I actually use old postcards a lot with my students. Go to a postcard fair and you can often pick job lots of old postcards for a small amount to money.)
  • Half a dozen or so favourite creative writing exercises (I’d probably gear these to the particular writer – perhaps trying to push them a little out of their comfort zone.)
  • Some free post cards – I’d write prompts on the back
  • Some brightly coloured post-it notes (off my own pad if I’m really doing this on a tight budget)
  • Some nice pens
  • Some other bits of stationery
  • An attractive note-book (Okay. You’d have to buy this but you can often find bargains. Keep your eyes open when you’re out and about.)  
  • A book I’ve enjoyed – with a note about why I’d enjoyed it and how it might help the writer
  • A chocolate bar (squeezed out of the weekly shop)
  • A few paint colour charts to provide exotic names for a piece of flash fiction or poems
  • A few photographs that might prompt a story
  • A list of trustworthy small press publishers who’re currently open to submission
  • A collection of newspaper cuttings of incidents that would make the good basis of a story         
  • A list of affirmations about being a writer  
I have the feeling that I’d get a good deal of fun putting these kits together. Do you dare me? And if you know a writer who’s on a diet right now, would this be a good alternative to an Easter egg. (Skip the chocolate bar!)

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