10 Christmas Gifts That Writers Really Want
It’s that festive time of year when everyone thinks about what to buy their friends and family members for Christmas. Here are gifts loved by journalists, marketers, and content strategists.
Have you ever tried to finish an article on deadline while someone else’s child sits next to you on the plane watching Monsters Inc without headphones? Or maybe you’ve sat next to someone who decides to bust out their mechanical keyboard at your coworking space. At any rate, you’ll be wishing the Momo challenge springs to life and reaps revenge on those silence killers. While most writers learn to write during background noise because no one’s got time to find a quiet place when the time’s ticking, that doesn’t mean it’s a preference. Give the gift of silence, and they’ll love you forever.
An ergonomic chair
Sure many of us can type with abandon while sitting in bed or on the couch. That doesn’t mean we should. A chair with spine support, comfortable cushioning, and glideable wheels make us happy about spending 8 hours stuck in a chair. Besides chairs, footrests and laptop raisers are also great for those behind the screen.
A transcription subscription
As any writer and you’ll know that the most painful part of interviews is transcribing them. Its literally the bane of my life and the only thing that makes it easier is transcription services. Everyone has their preferences, but Otter and Speechmatics are AI-powered, so no real person is transcribing your conversation so they don’t get every word right; however, there is enough accuracy to make it less of a chore. It’s is a gift that will be remembered and appreciated!
Yes, you will meet some writers that claim to live on herbal tea, but the vast majority of us are addicted to the black stuff, whether piping hot, infused with aspartame and fizz, or masquerading as an energy drink. The mug will be enjoying holding any beverage; we’re not all that fussy, trust me.
A Grammarly subscription
If you write in English, the chances are that you write in both English and American English (not to be confused with Australian English which is closer to English English but uses some of the same words as American English.) When you flip flop between these, it gets confusing, and that’s before you even get to paratheses. Enter spelling and grammar checker, Grammarly. If you write a lot on particular topics, Grammarly also helps you avoid accidentally plagiarising your own work which comes in handy.
Writers LOVE music. Some use punk rock, others binaural beats or classical music. But what we all have in common is playlists that we use to get us writing, for deep concentration, and to celebrate when our article is finished.
Membership at a Coworking Space
Writing is a pretty solitary pursuit. Every day involves just you and your laptop and your desk, as you write words for payment. You learn early on that those who spend most of their time talking about writing are usually doing anything but writing. Procrastination doesn’t pay the bills. It really is like a muscle that has to be exercised regularly, and like any job, you have to do the work. But what makes it easier is being around fellow humans, even if it is in a shared space where most people are wearing headphones focused on their own words.
Coworking spaces aren’t always cheap, but they usually work out less expensive than buying coffees and lunch every hour and offer free wifi and better plugs than cafes. There’s also screaming children to contend with.
The mantra of any writer is always be charging, whether that’s your laptop, wireless headphones, smartwatch, or mobile phone. Plugs are a bit like the holy grail at times and charging mats are easily misplaced so something that recharges many if not all your devices is a great help.
A Kindle/ebook reader
You can wave your hands around all you want in horror, and wax lyrical about how you like the tactility of holding a book in your hands and the smell of paper. But you’ll change your mind when you experience the ease of travelling with a kindle in your carry on only luggage or reading in bed in the dark without needing to put the light on. Add a kindle unlimited subscription or a voucher for some purchases for bonus points.
Seriously, how much time do you spend cleaning when you should be writing? Probably a fair chunk, it’s much easier to pop on a load of washing than transcribe an interview and condense a 2000 word article into 1000 words.
Akin to a magic fairy that mysteriously transcribes your last five interviews, a cleaner is a magical creature that cleans your home, so you don’t have to, in exchange for cash. Let’s face it, they’ll do a far better job than you’ll ever do and you can claim their work as a business expense if you work from home.
It’s worth noting not all gifts have to be stuff. You can also offer to read a draft article, meet your friend for a drink after work (it gets us out of the house when we’ve been working at home all day), or join us for a cooked meal. Tell us what you’ve been reading, that new podcast you’ve discovered, and we’ll love spending time with you.
Note: The items I’ve mentioned in the article are purely things I like. There’s no sponsorship, kickbacks or anything like that.