A Writer’s Christmas Wish List and a Gift

Are you wondering what to give the hard to buy for writer in your life? Here are some suggestions:

Read What They Write – whether it be a blog, newsletter, article or book. Writers write to be read. All right, I admit, I primarily write for myself (and then there’s that God thing). If no-one read what I wrote, I would still be writing, but having people read my writing is an affirmation that I am not just spinning wheels or rumbling around too much in my own head, something writers can be prone to. So, validate the writer in your life by reading what they write.

Buy Their Writing – if they write books, then buy them, not just one copy but multiple copies. Give them to your friends and family, your next door neighbor, the woman across the hall or man in apartment 2B, your kids’ babysitter, your boss and employees, your dog walker, your hairdresser, or random people on the street. The writers who believe all they have to do is write a book and the money will pour in are quickly disabused of this notion, however many non-writers continue to labor under this illusion. Even with my books that were traditionally published, I never made enough to quit my day job. There are many more starving artists out there squeezing time for writing into the wee hours of the morning while they work other jobs in order to pay the bills, than there are JK Rowlings or James Pattersons. It doesn’t mean they can’t make a living off of writing, but they could use your help to do so.

Write a Review – if you like what you read, then post a favorable review on Amazon, Good Reads and anywhere else you can think of. They don’t have to be elaborate. Sometimes short and sweet is enough. In this day of social media, you, the reader, can do more than you think to promote writing you like. If you like a blog post or internet article, share it with others on your own blog or on facebook or twitter.

Give Constructive Criticism – Just as valuable as a good review is constructive suggestions on how to improve our writing. The skills I needed as a pastor, a tender heart and skin as thick as a rhinoceros’, serve me well as a writer. No-one needs hurtful attacks or snide remarks, but I’m always looking for ways to improve. If you catch a writer overusing a particular word or phrase, let them know. If a character falls flat and isn’t realistic or likeable, or the plot has holes, let them know that as well. I like good reviews but learn more from constructive criticism so I welcome each. And if you want to give them a great gift, offer to be a beta reader for something they are currently working on, meaning read a work in process and help your writer know whether they are on target or not.

In the holiday spirit, I will give a free five page critique of the writing of the first five people to like and share this blog post either on their own blog, or facebook, or some other form of social media. Just let me know in the comments suggestion.

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas to all!

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