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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday 19 December 2011

Stocking fillers for the writer in your family

If you don't fancy a LitPig in your stocking this Xmas then here's my top 7 stocking fillers for the writer in your family ...

If your writer enters competitions or is seeking income from their writing then a subscription to one of the major magazines could be a big hit.  Most of these offer their own regular competitions, plus competition listings and other sources to place your writing.  They usually contain informative features i.e. 'How to' topics, plus author profiles and interviews.  Most are welcome to pitches too for articles/features on writing topics.

Click on the links below for more details on how to subscribe to the following:
Writing Magazine: a monthly magazine available from newsagents or you can take up annual subscription at £44.00 or £9.99 for a quarterly direct debit.  Ideal for writers of both fiction and non-fiction, good section and regular competitions for poets too.

Writers' Forum: a monthly magazine available from newsagents or you can take up annual subscription at £36.00.  Again ideal for writers of both fiction and non-fiction.

Mslexia: Promoted as 'the magazine for women that write' - which gives you a big clue to its target audience!  Produced quarterly and only available by post - four issues for £20.76.  Runs its own competitions (for women only), has features on writing topics and features author interviews.  Lots of regular slots for submissions too.

A diary which can be dedicated solely to writing projects is an ideal present.  Many writers seem to be obsessive list makers so giving them a place to note their goals, targets and reminders could bring you lots of brownie points.  Mslexia is the only diary I've found designed especially for writers (though again this is targeted at women).  It can be purchased online at £12.99 (including p&p within UK).  Mslexia also offer some good combinations on diary + magazine subscriptions, click here for details.  I like this diary design where each week has a blank page, for your to-do-list, with the week to view opposite.  It also lists competitions, festivals and outlets for writing, submission tracking, plus other useful facts.  It also neatly fits into any bag.

3. BOOKS ... Eat, Shoots & Leaves
Okay, obvious really huh, as what writer doesn't read books.  But if you're not certain of their favourite genre then why not give a book about writing ... or even better a book devoted to punctuation.  My all-time favourite is 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves' by Lynne Truss (Profile books).  Lynne professes to having a 'zero tolerance approach to punctuation' (don't you love her already).  This is one of the easiest, and oddly the funniest, guides to punctuation I've ever read.  It's a fun read even if you're not a writer simply because of Lynne's honest and readable style.

If possible do try and support any local bookseller - as they are fast becoming an endangered species.

If your writer already has a copy then why not buy them a desk-top calendar (365 days of top punctuation tips!), available online or from Calendar shops.

Your writer probably already has a notebook (stuffed into a pocket or bag), which they carry everywhere to capture that block-buster idea or overhead conversation.  But when you're on the move (the indoor writer gets her best ideas out walking/running) then it's not always possible to whip out the notebook ... so a dictaphone can be a handy asset to the writer's toolbox.  Digital dictaphones (battery operated) are easy to use and small enough to carry anywhere.

Not a present you'd immediately think of for a writer, but music and topical programmes (we're addicted to R4) can be wonderful right brain stimulants fueling ideas and plotlines.  A portable internet radio is ideal for the writer who moves around the house to write and think. We have a PURE radio (see photo on right), which is rechargeable and has internet access.  You can set up a favourites list and it has a wide selection of stations.  We loved the selection of SOUNDS, which can help to set the appropriate mood for your writing.  You can select a soundtrack from a long list such as birdsong, waterfalls, jungle, seaside, farmyard and my particular favourite the pig farm (very soothing).

6. PEN (A Really Nice One!)
The value of a good pen can never be underestimated.  Having a pen that writes easily and feels good in the hand can brighten a writers day (sad bunch aren't they?).  I particularly love my Parker gel (gel cartridges are easily replaced and come in blue/black/red).  Your writer may prefer an ink pen.  There are many outlets of course, but if you can do try support any local specialist shops selling paper, notebooks and pens.

No not a miniature Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, but mini hot water bottles.  If your writer is homebased during the day they're probably trying to keep warm in winter without blowing the fuel budget.  Thermal leggings, fluffy boots and fingerless gloves are abundant in our household and don't forget the immortal appeal of the HOT WATER BOTTLE.  Mini bottles, that fit snugly in the lap or on cold toes, are sold from all the major department stores, markets and online.  These come in some really pretty covers.  I have a fabulous spotty one (photo above) and spend many wintry hours resting my trotters on this.

Have yourselves a Very LitPig Christmas ...
And stay blogged in for the 12 days of LitPig Christmas, starting ... well on the first day of Christmas (25th December).  I'll be sharing 12 writers and their work, all of whom were new discoveries to me in 2011 - you may know all of them, but 1 or 2 may be new names for you to explore.

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