It may seem early to bring up Christmas, but it’s only two months away so this is the perfect time to start planning your shopping list.
There are some pretty standard gift for writers that never fail—Amazon gift cards, journals, pens, subscriptions to Writer’s Digest. But what if you want to buy something different?
Here are five fun options for the writer in your life:
- A gel seat cushion. Writers spend a lot of time sitting. Make it easier and more comfortable with a high-quality seat cushion.
- An ergonomic keyboard. Wrist and arm problems are actually an issue for writers. Help alleviate that with a keyboard that takes the stress off.
- Coffee shop card. Even the most introverted writers like to get out of the house occasionally. Make it easier on them with a gift card to their favorite coffee shop.
- Noise cancelling headphones. A little more expensive than the other gift ideas but well worth the investment, these will make it easier to write during those trips to the coffee shop.
- Membership fees. Whether your writer is a novelist or a journalist, there’s a professional organization out there whose membership will benefit your writer.
If you have any other gift ideas—or you’ve received something that really wowed you—let us know!
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Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching readers the seven universal story points all humans respond to; the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.
Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.
I’ve studied copy writing before, so I know the benefits of using a story in your marketing copy. This book, however, dives deep into the story to show you how to tell it well and maximize your efforts. Then it goes a step forward with some suggestions on how to implement your story in your website, promotional materials, newsletter, etc.
I love the book. The explanations are clear and easy to replicate, and the examples are easy to understand. I’ve been brand-less for a while. Now I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned and to see what I can do with the information I’ve gleaned form this book.
“And the wrench is still there. What would it be like to operate with a professional team? I wouldn’t know that’s for sure. Give me more suction.”
Eyes rolled around the room.
I wrote this a few years ago and never gave it a second thought. But when I read it over yesterday, trying to determine if it was suitable for a contest entry, all I could see was eyeballs rolling around the room like they were on little roller skates. Now that’s a floating body part (FBP)!
I think you know what I was trying to say – everyone in the room rolled their eyes at the Doctors comment on professionalism. But that’s not what I wrote. There is nothing wrong with using the phrase rolled her eyes, as long as it’s connected to a person.
“Trying not to laugh, she rolled her eyes at his antics.”
We all know what that means. A writer could get super technical and write, “Trying not to laugh, she looked up and down quickly, at his antics.” That’s ridiculous. I wrote the sentence and I don’t know what it means! The sentence doesn’t qualify as a FBP because we understand the idiom. And the alternate, about looking up and down, will stop the story.
How can you tell which eye rolling is a FBP? In the second sentence those eyes are attached to a she. In my original sentence — Eyes rolled around the room – those eyes are rolling free!
Floating body parts are easy to spot. Every time a body part is mentioned it should be attached to a body. Referring to any body part without the stability of a whole body behind it, sets it afloat. Let’s look at a few.
He dropped his hands. My literal, visual brain sees a man standing, and his hands drop off his arms. What could you write that conveys the same feeling of frustration or giving up? His shoulders drooped. Or He slumped in the chair.
She slammed on the brakes and her arm shot out. This is a cause and effect situation. As adults, nearly all of us have reached out without thinking to protect our passenger. But the way this is written it sounds like the brakes caused her arm to shoot. She slammed the brake pedal and instinctively her arm went across the empty passenger seat. Because I used the word slammed, speed is suggested and we don’t need words like shot or flew.
There is a fine line between nabbing all apparent FBPs and recognizing an idiom. The determining factor should be – does it stop the story? If not, then carry on. If yes, then rephrase it.
Karen Saari loves to play with words, whether it’s writing or editing. She is a Christian, wife, mother and grandmother. Karen is currently working on her BA in English and Creative Writing. She writes contemporary Christian women’s fiction, and is working on a new book – The Neighbor’s Club.
An avid reader, she also sews and knits and is learning to draw and paint with watercolors. Yard sales and thrift stores are her favorite shopping places, besides craft stores. She lives with her husband, Robert in the mountains of northern California. They enjoy traveling the Oregon coast and photography.
Karen blogs at http://karensaari.com
I’m on a few deadlines. In addition to editing work, the first book in my series will release this September 1st, and the second book is due this summer as well. I’ve had to prioritize and strictly enforce my schedule lately and I’ve spent hours and hours at my computer, writing and rewriting for my summer deadline. I have other projects in the works, so the sooner I hand this project off, the sooner I can work on the others that have been on the back burner.
So, how do I decide what to set aside during crunch seasons? How do you decide? For me, I set aside social media, even marketing, until I can focus on it. I ask myself: what’s due soonest? Timing helps me in many ways—it both motivates and dictates my schedule. I set aside reflexively checking my e-mail, and I close all unnecessary tabs and apps/programs on my computer in order to stay focused on the necessary ones. My family needs my attention, so they are a priority. Sometimes you have to say no to extra tasks. That’s a hard one for some of us. I sometimes struggle with that. Even when I say no, I sometimes feel guilty later, which doesn’t help me focus on work. But our jobs as writers is important. If we honor our writing time, others will begin to respect it too.
Permission to Take a Break
Summertime is an especially challenging time to have to work 8-12 hours a day, so I do take breaks, which are so necessary. I recommend finding a peaceful setting to decompress. When the sun moves around the house to my flower garden, I love to go out and tend my plants. (Here’s a photo from one of my hanging baskets on a rainy day last spring.) The warm sun, so different from my cool home office in the basement corner, feels good. And tending my flowers makes me happy. I catch myself walking around, smiling from the joy of a simple hobby. Breaks are also helpful for working out plot points and overcoming writer’s block. And they’re probably good for our health. We must take care of ourselves, even on deadline.
Back to Work
The thing about breaks is, you have to set a time limit and discipline yourself to get back to work. Your book won’t write itself. So, I’ll take time away for family get-togethers, and meals, and even a trip to the pool so my youngest gets a chance to swim, but then it’s back to work.
Best Advice for Deadline Crunch Time
My writing sessions involve a lot of prayer. Prayers for grace, help, words, wisdom, insights, for the story to come together, for my readers, and for God’s glory and message to come through. He honors our prayers as we write for Him. Sometimes when I know I only have, say, a half hour left before I’ll be away from my computer for a while, panic will set in, thinking about all I have to do. Then I ask the Lord to help, and He does. Pretty soon, my fingers are flying over the keyboard and enjoying the thrill of a scene coming together in a profound way with word counts piling up.
How about you? What are your tricks for meeting deadlines and surviving the deadline crunch? I’d love to hear.
Write on, friends!
Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years. She has several books and short stories published. She has served as an acquisitions editor, and she currently works as a freelance editor. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. Her family lives in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more at www.AnnetteIrby.com
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