I can be a bit of a shopper, at least in theory anyway. Maybe it would be more correct to say I am an avid browser. This most likely stems from my lifelong commitment to procrastination. Do I have some writing to do? Maybe I should double-check that thing online…
Anyway, as many of you writers would know, there’s a lot of productive procrastination to be had when you set out to find the “best” books on writing, or the “best” tools for writing your book, or even the “best” software for managing your time. A couple times a year I search for the “best tools (or gifts) for writers.” Reams of webpages are dedicated to this subject, but very few of them are at all interesting. So this year I thought I would do the research and make a list of my own.
#1 – Rory’s Story Cubes
There are all sorts of uses for these cubes. Least of which, they can be a pleasant diversion that might stimulate your favorite writer’s creativity.
#2 – The Storymatic
Similar to the story cubes, the Storymatic is a collection of 540 cards. Many uses, including games where writers can show off the mad creative skills.
#3 – Literati Challenge
Another game! This one is meant more for groups. Players write stories with five words. Great fun for the more extroverted writer.
#4 – Anton Chekhov Finger Puppet
What’s not to like about a Chekhov finger puppet. Get a handful of these, and with a little creativity you can put on your own personal production of The Cherry Orchard with a different Anton playing each role. There are some other finger puppets out there, but this is by far the coolest.
#5 – The Tin House Writer’s Series
I haven’t seen this one in person, but it looks fantastic. In one package you get a wealth of resources—a world-class writer’s workshop in a box!
#6 – Scrivener Software
I’ve used this software just a little, but published novelists I’ve talked to who use it, swear by it. What I’ve seen has impress me. There are other programs out there, some are even free, but Scrivener is really the cream of the crop, and it’s at all pricey.
#7 – Vintage Typewriter
This depends a lot on who you are writing for, but many writers I know have a deep-rooted sense of nostalgia. Even those not old enough to ever have used an IBM Selectric may find an antique manual typewriter a meaningful gift. Craigslist and eBay are great places to start looking!
#8 – Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
Whether writing fiction or non, this book challenges writers to write better. Broken up into sections short enough to be read in five to ten minutes, I’ve gone through this book several times, tool by tool.
#9 – In the Library Cologne
The guy who makes this cologne calls his company, I Hate Perfume. The fragrances he produces are utterly unique. “In the Library” is perfect for the book lover.
#10 – Book Darts
I love Book Darts so much that I gave them away as client gifts one year (complete with a custom label). These book markers allow readers to mark key quotes and passages without messing up a favorite book with highlighter.
Bonus #11 – Matt’s Standing Desk
This project is really easy, and it’s the healthy alternative to sitting on your butt all day. If you want to know how I put this together (very basic), drop me a line.