Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cheap Christmas Presents for Writers

So, let's say you're a little strapped for cash this holiday season (I can hear all the grunts and moans of agreement out there - who isn't strapped this year?). Further, let's say you have some writer friends on your list, and you don't know what to get them. That you may, in fact, be considering telling everyone you know that this year, you're moving to a monastery in Zimbabwe and giving up all material considerations and attempts at communication, rather than go through the humiliation of having nothing to give.

Fear not! For the writers in your life, at least, you can offer them something special that also happens to be cheap (and when I say 'cheap', I mean 'free'). If you're reading this post, you already have everything you need: an internet connection.

Herewith, S.W. Vaughn's List of Super-Cheap, Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Writers!

* Compose an ode to the writer's greatness and post it in a public location, such as a blog or message forum. Then, e-mail the writer a link to said ode. It doesn't have to be particularly literary, or even spelled correctly. The writer will appreciate the sentiment.

Need an example? Here's one:

I know three writers who blog
With a fourth, whose head is in fog
But these guys are the best
Above all the rest
And forgive the fourth the occasional lapse in participation coupled with the loss of ability to produce writing, or even rhyme the last line of a dumb poem
(Er, I mean 'frog')

* E-mail the writer a list of things that you like about them as a person, and link each item on the list to writing. For example: 'You always remember my birthday - so you must never have any dropped plot threads in your books!'

* Choose a length of time (one week, one month, one year) and promise during that time to always refer to the writer as 'Writer Name, the Magnificent and Exalted Wordsmith' or a similar grandiose title. This includes all written and spoken communication.

* Offer to read something the writer has written. Actually read it, within a reasonable time frame (note that a year is NOT reasonable). When you are finished reading it, offer your honest and thoughtfully considered feedback. Please note that if you think said writing is a pile of steaming cow dung, say so . . . but gently, and make sure to include something positive with your feedback. Trust me, the writer will eventually thank you for it (if not right away).

* Simply say to the writer, 'I love your work. Have you written anything lately? Tell me about it!' Then, when the writer starts telling you about it - actually listen and show interest, without letting your eyes (or fingers, if you're communicating online) glaze over. Writers love talking with interested parties about their work.

None of these gifts will cost you anything except time, and any writer on your list will appreciate them. So give freely (and I do mean free! Isn't that a great word?) this holiday season, and may you also be blessed with such gifts for yourself.


Marta Stephens said...

S. W., oh Magnificent and Exalted Wordsmith, you. I LOVE this post!!

"I know three writers who blog
With a fourth, whose head is in fog
But these guys are the best
Above all the rest
And forgive the fourth the occasional lapse in participation coupled with the loss of ability to produce writing, or even rhyme the last line of a dumb poem
(Er, I mean 'frog')"

What a hoot!! LOL

Folk, let me tell you about my friend S.W. Not only is this person a talented writer, but has the knowledge and experience to back the work. S.W. has mentored and encouraged more than one author including yours truly. I've said it before numerous times, I wouldn't be published today had it not been for S. W.'s guidance. A truly generous,hard working author who deserves far more attention and recognition. Here's wishing you a spot in the light in 2009!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Oh my gosh, S.W., you had me howling here! Especially that last line of the delicious poem. Hey, a new genre you never explore before. But of course you're good at that, you're good at ALL genres.

Marta, my sentiments exactly. If it weren't for S.W., I would still be using "to be" verbs (I had a good case of the "wuzzies") or using "had" in every single sentence of flashbacks (God, they were awkward), or living in the passive tense and not even realizing it.

And I would like to say that those of you who haven't read something by S.W. Vaughn...you'd be blessed if she shares with you - I've read every single word she's ever written and have fallen in love with the writing each time. Hands down, S.W.'s a pro. I know she will be huge someday, and that MacDonald's will be handing out toys based on her characters in our future. Imagine that? Jenner in a Happy Meal?

Marta Stephens said...

O-o-o!!! A Jenner toy!! How very cool THAT would be.

Kim Smith said...

SW what a hoot!! Okay here is my ode to you...

Dashing through the snow... *no wait* that's been done...

It came upon a midnight clear* er... no that's not it...

We three kings of Mystery are;
Bearing gifts we bring from afar,
Field and fen, bookstore bin,
Following your bright aur--a.


O SW of wonder, writer delight,
Gifted with such awesome insight,
ever leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to written stories tight.

Okay okay... I am still working on it... :D

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Oh, Kim! That was wonderful!!!!!! Still laughing....

Marta Stephens said...

Kim, I want some of whatever you have in that glass! LOL

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Oh S.W., what a hilarious girl. Which is actually a comfort considering how weird most writers are. (gasp)

S.W. I thought your poem was the opposite of horrendous.
I think your writing is super stupendous.
And I would read your stuff any day,
Especially, while resting on hay!

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Laughing! love it!

s.w. vaughn said...

*sniff* Thanks so much, guys! Hugs all around.


I'm glad this got some laughter going. I think everyone needs some of that this year. :-)

Anonymous said...

LOL... Thanks for the great post!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Oh, dear! You mean this is all there is to making an author happy? I've wasted my whole career! If only I'd known!

BTW, thanks for keeping How To Do It Frugally on your blog roll. And Happy Holidays to all you exaclted writers!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging at www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com

Cheryl said...

You all have too much fun here. I'll have to hang around longer.

Great job S.W.! I'll have to send a link to this to my family and friends so they know what to get me. LOL!