Jilly: Practical Gifts

Can you believe it’s the end of November already? The holidays are here, and I also have a landmark birthday to celebrate before the end of 2020. I’m pretty sure Mr. Wood and I will have a nice party for two, but it’s a shame we won’t be able to share the occasion with our friends.

As we won’t be able to meet up, people have started asking me for gift suggestions. I feel incredibly fortunate in my creative and personal life, and don’t really need or want anything, but I’ve been told that’s not a helpful reply 😉 .

I was racking my brains for a better response when I found the list below. Apparently I wrote it three years ago, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Are you a creature of habit? What simple, practical gifts would keep your daily routine running smoothly?

Here are mine:

Free: Creative Kickstarters
I would love somebody to curate (say) a dozen recommendations especially for me—could be novels, or biographies, music, movies or experiences. The idea would be to offer suggestions that the giver thinks would be new to me and that I would enjoy. It would be fun to investigate the suggestions, to think about why the giver chose them for me, and to decide whether to go ahead and invest in them.

Inexpensive: Screen cleaning cloths
Do you use microfiber cloths to clean your phone and computer screen? All my devices seem to be perpetually smeary, and there’s never a clean microfiber cloth to hand when I want one.

Moderate: Bath Treats
One of my favorite ways to treat myself after a good day’s writing, or to console myself after a bad one, is with a bubble bath (I’m super-jealous of Michaeline who has a local hot springs). Bath treats can range from the cheap ’n cheerful to the ludicrously pricy. I’d be thrilled with any of them.

Moderate: Coffee
I always kick-start the day with fresh-brewed coffee using beans supplied by HR Higgins, a family-run London coffee merchant. They have an excellent online shop and efficient delivery service. A 250g valve bag of smooth, aromatic Costa Rica San Jose beans could be acquired for a smidge under £11.

Expensive: Moleskine Notebooks
I love Moleskine notebooks—the classic version with a soft black cover, ruled pages, size XL. I use them every day, for brainstorming, working through story ideas, blocking scenes, sketching settings, listing potential names, trying out titles, blog ideas, double-checking contest requirements, keeping a note of reminders, and a thousand other useful snippets. I can track my writing and publishing progress over the last decade by flipping back through the books. I get through at about half a dozen books each year, and at around £16 ($20) each they’re not cheap.

What workaday goodies would you most appreciate?

How do you feel about practical gifts? Would they leave you delighted or disappointed?

Jilly: Practical Gifts for Writers

What’s on your wish list for Christmas, or your holiday of choice, or your next birthday? Do you prefer to receive pretty, imaginative gifts or plain, practical ones?

On Thursday, Michille offered a selection of cute and clever writing-themed ideas. I’d be delighted to receive any of them (my fave is the bathtub caddy with built-in kindle and wineglass holders) but if I had my choice I’d prefer something practical to keep my writerly bandwagon rolling.

Any of these would put a smile on my face:

Free: Creative Kickstarters
I’d love somebody to spend a little time and trouble curating (say) a dozen recommendations especially for me—could be novels, or biographies, music, movies or experiences. The idea would be to offer suggestions that the giver thinks would be new to me and that I would enjoy. Part of the fun for me would be to investigate the suggestions, to think about why the giver decided to recommend them for me, and to decide whether to go ahead and invest in them.

Inexpensive: Screen cleaning cloths
Do you use microfiber cloths to clean your phone and computer screen? It seems as though all my electronic devices are perpetually smeary, and there’s never a clean microfiber cloth to hand when I want one.

Inexpensive: Kitchen timer
When I’m in a good writing rhythm, I like to write for 45 minutes and take a break for 15, rinse and repeat as often as I can. At the moment I use the timer on my phone, but a mechanical timer for my desk would be fun and useful. The UK version of Amazon has a mind-boggling 173 pages of products to choose from. Continue reading