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20 Gifts For Writers– 2016 Edition

Seriously, I’ve been dreaming about this post for weeks now. It’s my FAVORITE post to write. And since a couple of these DID end up under the tree for me last year… I’m not excited to do it again or anything! Nope, not me!

If you’re anything like me, I always get the best shopping ideas from the gift buying lists! Here’s a list of gifts for writers that that are sure to thrill any writer on your list. Or maybe you’ll pick up a gift or two for yourself!

And to make your shopping for the perfect writer’s gift a bit easier, just click on the name of the item to be taken directly to where you can purchase it! (It may or may not be an affiliate link, depending on what’s what!) At the time of publishing the list, all the links work. But as the Internet changes, I can’t guarantee that they’ll all continue to work.

Great gifts for #writers! Click To Tweet

And be sure to share this post with folks who will be shopping for writers! There are tweets sprinkled throughout and shares on Facebook or Pinterest are ALWAYS great too!

 2016 Gifts For Writer’s Gift Buying Guide:


112916-haikubesSeriously, these things look FUN! Much like Boggle where you roll cubes to make words, here to roll cubes to make POEMS. I’m all about things that help writers tap into creativity and get un-stuck and THIS is it!


I think I might have a previously unknown love of story prompt generators! This card set helps you come up with tons of ideas! Perfect if you need a story prompt to get the juices flowing (or want to give students a prompt).

Pencil Me In Leather Flat

112916-pencilflatsBecause pencil ANYTHING is write up our alley! Now I’m not actually much of a flat girl (hello, hiking boots!) but these… I’d make an exception. How adorable would it be to show up at your next networking event with shoes that CLEARLY declare that you’re a writer?

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Stop Talking and Write Already!

112216-moveonIn the last two weeks, I’ve met with not one, not two, but THREE different people who have been talking and talking about their books.

In fact, they’ve each been talking about their book since 2006.


That’s a DECADE, people.

A decade of thinking about a book… but not writing it.
A decade of researching a book… but not writing it.
A decade of talking about a book… but not writing it.

These three people have one thing in common:

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Pssst… You’re starting your book in the wrong place!

111516-pathWhy is it that you’re convinced that you have to start at the beginning?


Repeat after me:

I do not have to write my book’s introduction FIRST.

In fact, it’s pretty much an all-around bad idea. When you’re just starting your book, you don’t really know exactly what will be in it. You don’t know how you’re going to walk your reader through your ideas and stories. You just don’t know.

So you wander around trying to craft this amazing introduction – and you don’t really know what you’re introducing!

You do not have to write your book's introduction FIRST. Click To Tweet

No wonder you’re frustrated.

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3 Questions to Ask Your Self-Publishing Service

110816-champagneYour book is finally done and it’s time to start looking at your publishing options. Yippee! I give you full permission to break out the champagne and celebrate. You’ve earned it!

And now back to business…

Some quick statistics to put your mind at ease about self-publishing:
(these are all about eBooks – but that’s okay!)

  • The Big Five traditional publishers now account for only 16% of the e-books on Amazon’s bestseller lists.
  • Approximately 1,064,000 Kindle eBooks are sold per day
  • 42% of all those books are independently (i.e. self) published

And the last stat you might be interested in… the “Big Five” traditional publishing houses are dwindling. What started out as the “Big Seven” when I started my publishing journey has changed. The Internet seems to be torn right now as to if they’re the Big Five or the Big Four but one fact remains: self-publishing (indie publishing) is taking over.

Is traditional publishing dead? New stats show that self-publishing is taking over! #publishing Click To Tweet

Whew! Now that we’ve covered that, I firmly believe that while you can self-publish your book, that doesn’t mean you should take the DIY route. Self-publishing means that you, the author, retain control of the rights, the marketing, and major publishing decisions. You can retain this control without learning how to code eBooks or set up beautiful layouts for print books!

When you’re choosing a company to help you self-publish your book, there are three things you need to evaluate before signing a contract and making a payment.

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Take CARE of Your Computer!

November is always the month where I start thinking about computers – and taking care of my computer system. Strange, I know, but I have a really good reason for it…

110116-deadlineWhen I was graduating from the University of Arizona – getting my degree (with honors) in Creative Writing – I had to write and submit a thesis. 270 pages of all original writing: poems, stories, plays, and an essay. It was the culmination of a year’s worth of creative work – and was the piece of writing that had to be completed and turned in so I could graduate, and graduate with honors.

That was the semester that my computer decided to be a PITA. (Pain In The A$$). So at Thanksgiving, I asked my dad to bring me a new one. I spent nearly the entire holiday weekend setting up programs, transferring files, and working on my thesis – it was due the next week. I missed out on making tamales with my family (our Black Friday tradition), I missed out on the U of A/ASU football game, I missed out on a precious weekend with my grandparents, greats aunt and uncle, and my folks.

I had a deadline.

Then, Monday morning, when I was working on the thesis before class…


I threw myself on the floor, convinced that somebody had just done a drive by on my aunt’s house. (It wasn’t a sketchy area of Tucson AT ALL but for a country girl it sure sounded like a gunshot!)

After my heart stopped pounding and I could hear again, I heard… nothing. An eerie silence that could only mean one thing.

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Are You Willing to Invest in Your Dream?

I do a lot of one-on-one Writing Adventure Discovery Sessions where I’m working with people to discover their best next move – that one thing that is not just a next step but the best next step.

And no, it isn’t always working with me!

But when I feel I can offer support: VIP coaching, a product, book publishing, copywriting, etc., I do share what that would look like. As well as the investment.

102516-roadAnd that’s where the rubber really meets the road. Is your dream of writing and publishing your book really worth it? Or not?

I’m not talking price. I’m not talking sacrifice. Because price and sacrifice, frankly, don’t get the job done. You don’t sacrifice to get your dreams but you do invest in them.

Let me tell you about investment:

Beyond my degree in Creative Writing I’ve also invested in writing workshops all over the world. Time away from my family, airfare, tuition, and in the case of four weeks in Russia, FIERCE culture shock.

Dreams don't require sacrifice. Dreams require #investment. Click To Tweet
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Your FIRST Three Steps to Writing Your Book

You’ve got that idea for a book. You’re excited, it feels great, and you can’t wait to get started.

And then you realize, you don’t really know how to write a book… Where do you start?

101816-writingFriend, I hear you! When I was writing my first book – before I was even writing it – I was so stuck it wasn’t even funny! Even with all my writing training (a degree in Creative Writing, attending workshops and conferences all over the world, years of writing articles) I didn’t know where to how to start.

Obviously, I did finally get started – and even finished. But I did everything backwards because I started in the exact wrong spot! I’ve made nearly every mistake in the book (ha! puns!) so I wanted to bring you three “how to write a book” tips to save you the lost time and extra stress I suffered.

1. Think about your big vision

For most of the authors I work with, the biggest vision is to change the world with their message. Not the WHOLE world – but an important part of it. And guess what? This is exactly where you should start!

What are your dreams for the book? Who do you want to touch? What type of fame or success do you want to see?

Really spend some time here, dreaming. Create this vision for your life after your book is published and held in your hands. This vision will keep you motivated when you feel like giving up.

What is the big vision for YOUR book? It's the key to writing it! Click To Tweet

BTW: There’s no wrong answer here!

  • Want to be on Oprah? DREAM IT!
  • Want to have 100,000 people read your book? DREAM IT!
  • Want to share a stage with your idol? DREAM IT!

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Are You Telling Enough Stories in Your Writing?

I read. A lot.

That’s hundreds of thousands of words each year that I consume. Want to know what keeps me scrolling down or flipping pages?


(And no, I don’t only read fiction! I mostly read non-fiction, actually.)

What I’ve discovered through my years of working with non-fiction authors is that very few actually understand the power of story – and know how to harness that power to keep readers turning pages, to make the messages sink in, to make their words have significance and impact.

Stories are how we interact with the world – not just the 1, 2, 3 of plot but the emotion that a well-crafted story can invoke. So then why, for heaven’s sake, aren’t more non-fiction writer’s getting on board with story?

Using stories in your non-fiction writing invokes reader's emotions. Click To Tweet

Earlier this year, I was working with a client on a fascinating project about inner wisdom – how to listen to it, how to let it guide you. Fascinating and much-needed topic that was being addressed in ways I’d never seen before.

And it was dry-as-dust boring.

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Video – What do you do when it’s not working?

Do you ever have one of those days where EVERYTHING falls apart? The computer crashes, your emails get lost, you break your favorite cup, the dog gets mud on your clean sheets…

It happens to the best of us! And that wide-spread “falling apart” can impact your writing. Here’s how you can calm down and let it flow – for your writing, tech, and maybe, just maybe, life!

And be sure to leave me a comment to let me know what YOU do when it just isn’t working!

When the Pain of NOT is Greater than the Pain of DO

092716-painI woke up to a migraine today. And a huge to-do list. And a summit to run.

Could I have called it all off, crawled back into bed, and called it a day. Try again tomorrow. In all honesty, yes. I could have. You can always not do it. In fact, a lot of times not doing it is easier than doing it.

But that’s not me.

Before I go any further, this is NOT a commentary on working when you’re sick, powering through, or a discourse on a man-cold vs a woman-cold.

It’s about recognizing that I have been given a gift, and it’s up to me to honor it to the absolute best of my ability. Even when I’d rather do something else.

Because that’s what an idea really is. It’s a gift from God, the Universe, your higher self – whatever you chose to label it.

This isn’t about the to do list (in all honesty, I’m pushing MOST things on that “to do” list to tomorrow when I don’t feel like I wish there was a guillotine in my closet. It’s not about powering through.

It’s recognizing that taking the easy way of not isn’t in my best interest.

Tony Robbins said (and I’m paraphrasing here) that when the pain of doing something overcomes the pain of not doing it… you do it.

When the pain of doing something overcomes the pain of not doing it… you do it. #amwriting Click To Tweet
  • 092716-laundryExercise.
  • The dishes.
  • Studying for an exam.
  • Putting gas in the car.
  • Folding the laundry.
  • Quitting your job.
  • Writing the book.

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