If you’re like me, December probably has you thinking about the people in your writing sphere who have supported you all year long: critique partners and beta readers always willing to offer feedback, writers in your groups and communities who freely share knowledge and experience, and those you go to when you have a writing, publishing, or marketing decision to make.
The reality is that this is a tough business. There’s so much to it beyond writing and no matter how much knowledge and education you may have, at the end of the day there’s a lot of experimentation on what works and what doesn’t.
Succeeding (and staying sane) often comes down to our ability to reach out to others and the kindness of those people to share what they have discovered so we can weigh that experience against our own journey.
It doesn’t matter who you are…chances are, others helped you to this point and will continue to help you grow and thrive. And this is why the writing community is such a great place…it’s full of people who understand it’s easier to learn from one another and succeed together.
It feels good to say “Thank You”
So I put together a list of ways to do that which won’t break the bank. I hope you get some good ideas here!
Free Gifts for Writers
An encouraging note. Sometimes the only thing that keeps us going is a kind word at just the right time. A facebook post. A tweet. An email. Public or private, let someone know how much you have enjoyed working with them this year and that you appreciate them.
A beta read or chapter critique. Feedback is what we all need but it can be intimidating to ask. If there’s someone who has really helped and supported you, why not tell them you’d like to gift them some feedback? You can even create a certificate, like this one I created with Canva. Canva is free to use…just go here to grab the template!
A book review. If you’re like me, your time is constantly being swallowed by other things. If book reviews are something you always mean to get around to doing but forget, take a few moments to visit the books you love and leave some words on Amazon or other e-tailers. It helps so much. Then tag the author online so they know!
The gift of your time & book love.
All writers are trying to get exposure for their blog and books. If you’ve read someone’s book and enjoyed it, review it. Then go a step further and visit Amazon and upvote all their positive reviews. This helps them ensure the best reviews rise to the top. This is especially important if they have 1-star reviews for things outside their control, like the fact that a book arrived damaged, the buyer didn’t read the back jacket copy and so ended up getting a story they didn’t expect, or left a review even though they didn’t read the book. These things happen and there’s little an author can do.
A Show, Don’t Tell Pro Pack.
We’ve put together a Show-Don’t-Tell Pro Pack that contains a sample entry from all of our writing guides, plus helpful tips and links to some of our best show-don’t-tell articles.
If you know someone who struggles with description, this will get them thinking differently about what they should describe and why.
Low Cost Gifts for Writers
If you don’t mind spending a little, here are some of our top picks.
(may contain affiliate links, but we stand behind all these suggestions)
James Scott Bell’s Write from the Middle writing guide ($4.99). This is a thoughtful digital gift for any writer that struggles at the novel’s midpoint. My favorite “mini-guide” from Jim, hands down.
K.M.Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs writing guide ($4.99). All of Katie’s books are great, but I am particularly fond of this one because so many writers struggle with Character Arcs and it digs into what they are and how to create them in a straightforward way.
Our Emotion Amplifiers ($2.99) is an ebooklet companion to The Emotion Thesaurus, and contains body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for what some call “near emotions” (stress, boredom, pain, attraction, etc.). It’s full of ideas on how amplifiers can unbalance your character’s emotions so they make more mistakes, creating conflict!
A Special, “Just for Writers” Etsy Gift
Avery Olive create a ton of wonderful things for writers – custom stickers for laptops, door hangers, book ornaments, swag, and more, many which are under $5 each. Check out her store.
The Perfect Mug
Every writer needs a great mug, and I think we’ve found the perfect one.
This seems like a really great warning to anyone tempted to disturb a writer at work, or while they’re enjoying a book. Find it here for $22 USD.
A One Stop for Writers Gift Certificate!
Becca and I love helping writers put their best fiction on the page. We built One Stop for Writers in 2015 to house our most powerful resources, helping creatives plan, write, and revise their way to publish-ready novels.
The tools at One Stop teach writers how to think like experts so their characters are lifelike, plots are fresh, and their story worlds are so real readers won’t want to leave them.
So if you know someone who likes having everything they need to create in one place, and they could use the support of the largest show-don’t-tell database anywhere, be a superhero and pick them up a 1-month subscription gift certificate ($11.00).
Need more ideas?
Think about what you would view as a thoughtful token. Chances are, what appeals to you will also appeal to others.
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.