Monday, December 22, 2014

Last-Minute Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

'Tis the season for list-making!

Seriously, you've probably read a million gift lists over the past few weeks, but I'd be remiss if I didn't at least throw out a few gift ideas for those unfortunate souls that have to live with a writer. I know we can be moody, distracted, solitary, and the gifts we want most from you are your support, and the time to create.

BUT, if you're looking for something else to give to the writer in your life this year, I have have a suggestion for the under-$50, under-$100, and under-$200 price points.

$40: Scrivener (Windows/Mac)
If you've listened to the See Brian Write podcast at all, you've heard me rave about Scrivener, a program that helps writers organize and format writing projects. Scrivener is an extremely versatile and deep tool, that can help you do everything from outlining and research to putting together digital and print book files. In fact, that last feature alone is worth the $40 price tag for Scrivener. Whether you want to create a PDF, ePub, Mobi or Word file, Scrivener makes compiling your book super easy. When I first bought the program, that's all I used it for. Now, almost four years later, I am just really starting to dig into the wealth of features in Scrivener.

You can learn more about Scrivener and purchase a copy for Mac or Windows here.


$99: One-Year Amazon Prime Gift Membership
First off, we already know the writer in your life is an avid reader, right? So, getting free two-day shipping on all those print books and getting free books through the Kindle Lending Library  will ensure your writer has plenty of reading material to fuel their creativity. And with Amazon's recently-launched streaming music service, your writer will have plenty of tunes to write to. Oh yeah, and there's also the thousands of movies and TV shows that Prime members can stream through Amazon Prime Instant Video. And don't worry if your writer doesn't have a Kindle--they can access all of those books, shows, movies and tunes on their smartphone, tablet or computer.

You can purchase a gift membership Amazon Prime here.

$199: Samsung Chromebook (XE303C12-A01US)
This is the third generation of Samsung Chromebooks, I believe, and they keep getting better. I would recommend this more productive alternative to a tablet for the writer in your life that uses Google apps, especially Google Drive (Docs) for their writing. While the Chromebooks are primarily made to work online, most of the Google apps (GMail, Calendar, Keep, Drive) have offline modes as well, storing information locally and then syncing with the cloud as soon as you're back online again.

I know a lot of writers have started using their tablets for writing, and while there are some great wireless keyboards and keyboard cases out there, I prefer more of a laptop experience when writing, and I am a big fan of Google Drive (Docs). Right now, Best Buy has the Samsung Chomebook on sale for $199, which is cheaper than most tablets out there, and will provide a much bett typing experience. Not to mention, Google is throwing some pretty sweet incentives you way, giving new owners 1TB of Google Drive storage space, in-flight wi-fi free passes and 60 free days of Google Play's music streaming service. not bacd for $200.

You can check out the Samsung Chromebook at Best Buy here.

*If you're totally a Windows person, I would recommend you take a look at the new HP Stream, the 13-inch version of which you can get at the Microsoft Store for $199 right now.


So, those are just a few last-minute ideas for the writer in your life. But if you don't have the cash for any of that stuff, or you find yourself roaming around the shops on Christmas Eve in a panic, just remember--writers are easy to buy for. A little notebook and pen set, or just a couple of books will be greatly appreciated by any writer. All the complicated stuff happens in our heads, anyway.

Happy Holidays!