What would you like in your Christmas stocking this year? A three-book contract with one of the big ones, perhaps? You can’t get those at Amazon or Waterstones, unfortunately. Decorative notebooks are always handy, if a bit predictable, but I hate sullying them with my scrawl, so several unused ones languish in my desk drawer.
There are still a few shopping days to Christmas, so here are some other suggestions you can give your nearest and dearest – or ask them to give you – for writing and reading accessories.
1 Subscription to a literary or writers’ magazine
I can never get enough magazines. I love ripping off the shrink-wrapping and flicking through them, although finding the time to read them properly isn’t always easy. That’s okay; save them for a snowy evening in front of the fire. My favourites are Writing Magazine and Mslexia, but plenty of others exist for all tastes.
2 Magnetic bookmarks
My Kindle automatically marks the place I got to. But I also enjoy reading print books. Alas, my bookmarks fall out or get lost. The answer: a magnetic bookmark. I have two given to me by friends – one that came all the way from China; the other commemorating Richard III.
3 Foot warmer and fingerless mittens
If, like ours, your house is less than tropical in the winter, you find your extremities frozen at the end of a day in front of the computer. So let’s return to the time of Dickens and comfort ourselves with a foot warmer and mittens. The difference today is that the foot warmer is electrically heated…
4 LED pen flashlight
Do you have your best flashes of inspiration at night, when your partner is slumbering away beside you? And have you invariably forgotten them by the morning? Adopting separate rooms is a bit radical, so why not ask for an LED pen that lights up and avoids turning on the bedside light? You can also get pens that write at any angle, so you don’t even have to sit up in bed.
5 Clip-on LED light
Computer screens are back-lit, but I still have trouble deciphering the keyboard on gloomy days. Since mine is black – the only QWERTY version available from our French supplier – it doesn’t help. But assistance is at hand with a clip-on light that can be positioned and angled to suit your eyesight. Also handy for reading your book or Kindle in bed.
6 First lines of literature mug
Is your writing fuelled by coffee or tea? How about a mug decorated with famous first lines of literature? Or one featuring your favourite novel? Then you can also get inspiration while imbibing your caffeine fix.
7 Customised T-shirt
People love the idea of an author using their name for a character. I’ve seen a competitions that offer this as the prize. However, it’s a double-edged sword, and the winner could end up the victim of serial killer – or even the serial killer themselves. So if someone annoys you, give them a flash of your customised T-shirt: “Careful or you’ll end up in my next novel.”
8 Gym or exercise class subscription
We all know that writer’s bottom is an affliction brought on by serial lack of exercise. However, it’s been proven that exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain and stimulates creativity – as well as shifting those extra pounds.
And, of course, a book – or several – always goes down well. Plenty to choose from in a variety of genres on Crooked Cat Books’ website.
What other suggestions do you have for literary stocking fillers?
I hope Santa brings you everything your heart desires – material or otherwise.
Copyright © Vanessa Couchman 2016, all rights reserved.