Category: coffee

Great gifts for writers – 2016 holiday edition

Great gifts for writers – 2016 holiday edition

As the holidays approach, I’ve rounded up several great gifts for writers. They range in price from $14 to a few hundred, so there’s a gift for every budget. Don’t know any other writers? Treat yourself!


A Golden Stapler ($14)

For keeping their you-know what together. Nothing says “I have arrived” like over-the-top office products. Okay, this little beauty by russel + hazel isn’t real gold, but it looks like gold. Hey, fake it til you make it.
Buy the golden stapler from One Kings Lane


Notebooks (obviously) – $12-$25

For many writers I know, analog is still king. The biggest draw of paper notebooks is that things don’t get lost on paper the way they do when you’re using a bunch of different apps for note taking. Also, there’s just something that feels right about writing with a pen. For keeping track of projects, I swear by Behance Action Method journals. These are hardcover notebooks, available in different sizes, that are organized according to the action method from the creative minds behind Behance. The pages provide space for prep/focus, notations, and action steps, which you check off as you go. Of course, you can always go classic and purchase beautiful, functional moleskine notebooks, which are wonderful and always make a writing day feel more writerly.



The Novel Writing Toolkit $49

Show her you support this whole writing thing by giving her The Novel Writing Toolkit, a set of four information-packed workbooks to help her write her novel from start to finish. Think of it as a writing crash course. These are all downloadable, so they’re the perfect last-minute gift. Just include your recipient’s email address and your gift message upon checkout, and the workbooks will be delivered instantly.

Buy the Novel Writing Toolkit




A Minimalist Desk ($175)

Help your modern writer friend clear away distractions and get to the point with a minimalist writing desk. The Ivy is a cool 43″ and is just a good-looking white surface on legs.
Buy the Ivy Desk


A Caffeine Infusion for Early-Morning Literary Champions $39- $279

For the aficionados who only drink fresh-ground, there is the amazingly efficient and undeniably good-looking Breville Grind Control, which can be set to grind the beans and brew the coffee before your Hemingway gets up in the morning. Leaving him more time to cuddle with you, of course.

I did tons of research before I bought mine a year ago, and the Breville is still, as of this writing, the only model under $300 with a burr grinder. I also love this one because you can choose how strong you want your coffee, and you don’t have to fill the water tank every time. If your writer friend doesn’t know the difference between a bad and a burr (horrors!) not a stickler about the grinding, Cuisinart makes two very affordable models with a blade grinder: The Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind and Brew and the DGB-625BC (under $100!). Both are programmable.


Stand Up and Write $39 – $363

If your literary friend works on a laptop, this portable sit/stand desk, just under $40, is ugly but serviceable. For me, the important thing is to begin the day standing. I don’t like rolling out of bed and going straight to a chair. The Luxor Stand-Up Desk provides a more substantial workspace for under $400, without the assembly pains and with a sturdier crank system.


A writing class with The Book Doctor (choose your price)

This is the ideal gift if a)you really love them or b) you really want to get them out of your hair. If the writer in your life is, like most of us, kind of introverted, an online writing class shows you care about her dreams and her desire to be left alone.
The Book Doctor (that’s me) offers gift certificates in increments beginning at $25, which can be applied to any course and even to one-on-one consultation. This is a great way to give real, lasting value to someone you care about.
BUY a GIFT CARD for writing classes

Coffee instead of tea, please!

Coffee instead of tea, please!

 Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break, with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats, by Anna Brones, Johanna Kindvall (Ten Speed Press)

A sweet, inspiring guide not just to baking, but to the concept of the Swedish Coffee Break. This is tea-time for coffee lovers, a compendium of recipes combined with meditations on the art and essence of fika. The traditional recipes aren’t for the impatient, though. These require time, love, and care…which is what fika is all about.

Buy the book

Writers on Writing – Willa Cather on “Making It an Adventure”

Writers on Writing – Willa Cather on “Making It an Adventure”

In 1921, Willa Cather told an editor for the magazine Bookman that she only worked for two and a half to three hours each day. “If I made a chore of it, my enthusiasm would die,” she said. “I make it an adventure every day.”

Like so many other writers, Cather preferred working in the morning when she was “fresh” and unencumbered by the day’s concerns. I always prefer working in the morning, too, although my intentions are far better than my practice. For me, the key is getting up early enough to give myself at least an hour before I switch to “mom” mode, which means getting up not a minute later than 5:00. I go to bed most nights believing I will be out of bed by 5:00 the next morning, and then I roll out of bed closer to 6:30 or 7:00, chastising myself and promising to do better tomorrow.

Today was one of those rare days when I happened to live up to my nightly vow. By 5:05 I was at my desk with my coffee, writing. By 6:30, I had written three and a half pages. Those three and a half pages felt more like 20; I felt triumphant, as if I had accomplished a great deal.

And it only took one and a half hours! Cather is on to something here. If you work in short spurts–two hours instead of five–every minute of it is more likely to feel like an adventure. If you can’t afford two hours, try one. If you can’t afford an hour, try thirty minutes. University of Nebraska Press has published a whole book of Cather’s insightful advice on writing, with the utterly unpretentious and spot-on title, Willa Cather on Writing.

Alice Munro, by the way, is a writer who accomplished much of her early success while juggling writing with motherhood. First, she wrote while her youngest child napped, and later, she wrote while her children were at school. Toni Morrison’s time was so limited as a single mother with a nine-to-five job that the time she did manage to find at the typewriter was rich with possibility. “By the time I get to the paper something’s there,” she said. “I can produce.”

No matter when you are able to make it to your writing desk, or your notebook, try to approach it as an adventure, not a chore. Merely having the privilege of an hour to write can be an adventure in itself.

This week, when you sit down to write, attempt to do it with a sense of enthusiasm for the hour that you have, the hour that will never repeat itself, this spectacular, beautiful, unique hour in which anything can happen.

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