Yes tis the season (yet again, where has the year gone?) for the mad rush of shopping for just that right present. If you have a writer in your life, what do you give them?

Stationery never goes amiss. Whether a new notebook  or pad, a pen or two...post it notes, paper clips...you name it. I have yet to meet a writer that doesn't ooh and ahh over stationery, and fondle a brand new notebook with the wonder of what words to fill it. Then that same blank notebook stares accusingly at the writer for most of the year.

There is always books. Whether a favourite author or perhaps a new one...new genre, a biography...a book on writing perhaps such as Stephen King's On Writing (happily sits on my shelf).... a dictionary or even subscription to a writing magazine such as Writer's Victoria...or the UK one.

How about a new coffee cup (the consensus is that writers drink nothing but cups of coffee and red wine...lots of red wine)....so make that a HUGE coffee cup (doesn't work for me as I drink two a day and love small cups)....or how about some healthy snacks. Yep, ditch the Tim Tams and jelly beans (chemist ones of course) and go for the dried fruit and nuts....perhaps a mango at this time of year.

Hmmm with the above mention of Tim Tams and jelly beans, maybe the ideal present is a new pair of tracky or yoga pants to slouch in front of the computer. Elastic waisted of course. Or even a pair of pyjamas.....save the whole getting dressed for those that really want to.

For writers that struggle with the muse, that want to strap her down tightly with duct tape so she can't move a centimetre, that are sick and tired of staring at that blank computer screen...how about a BOX OF WORDS TO CURE WRITERS BLOCK. Simply write down words, any words or phrases you can think of - (anywhere between 52 and 365 )  and put them in a box and give to your writer. Tell them when they are struggling for an idea to simply pick one and let the words flow.

Another idea for struggling writers could be a simple egg timer. Tell them to set the timer and go, they have to write for that duration. Or it could be used as a deterrent for procrastination. Set the timer and go do something else, but when it goes BING you must write. Or even better still, when it goes BING you must get off Facebook/ twitter/ Instagram / email - any and all social media. 

Or as I'm writing this it occurs to me---how about paying for your writer to go away somewhere. A writer's retreat. But somewhere that they don't have to worry about children or pets or housework, where meals magically appear. Throw in a massage or two (all those hours spent hunched over a keyboard) some fresh air and exercise. 

Perhaps the most important thing to give the writer in your life is just you. Love and support. Encouragement. Let them use you and the children and the inlaws and the outlaws as fodder. 

Don't be upset if they seem to glaze over and appear not to hear a word you say (they have just realised how the killer can scale the cliff without being seen by the nudists in the valley below). 

Don't be alarmed when books on poison or guns appear...or when they walk around mumbling 'he wouldn't do that, he just wouldn't do that'. When they wake in the middle of the night and frantically search for pen and paper. 

All of the above is part of their nature. It's not odd or strange---well not to those that write. It's a part of them, so simply accept it. Throw a Tim Tam or two their way and leave them to it. They will surface eventually. 

Wishing everyone a happy Christmas filled with love and joy and take care out there.


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