2018 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s the holiday season once again, and I’m coming at you with another gift guide!

Okay, so I haven’t actually done one of these since 2015, but… still!

Here’s the 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for bookish and writerly people!

For this guide, I wanted to focus on some of the more practical and everyday things that people can find useful in their lives, so I’ve listed five bookish related and five writerly related items below that I think you (or your favorite bookworm/writer in your life) will enjoy. I’ll include links to the various products for easy browsing!

For the Bookish

  1. Book themed planner/calendar¬†– I actually discovered this planner while I was in Barnes and Noble a couple of weeks ago. It included spaces at the beginning of each month for books to read and books that you’ve read in that month, and each month talk about famous author birthdays, famous book publishing days, and more. But you can also find a ton of literary themed planners and calendars on etsy!
  2. Candles – Okay, I know some people don’t like them, but a lot of readers find that having a candle lit is not only aesthetic, but also very calming while reading. You can find literary candles all over, but check out Novelly Yours on etsy. They’ve got a lot of great candles in amazing scents.
  3. Totes, art, bedding, & more – Have you heard of Society6 or RedBubble? Well, people can create designs and sell them via this platform, and so there is no shortage of book themed items there. If you’re looking for a tote to carry your books in, or you need new bedding because yours are old and falling apart, check out Evie Seo’s shop for some cool designs! She’s one of my favorite designers, and the products from the companies are really good.
  4. Bookmarks – Let’s be clear: bookworms will never say no to bookmarks. They’re practical, even if they get lost easily, and there’s so many cool designs to choose from. Plus, they’re cheap enough, so why not get your favorite bookworm a few bookmarks? You could even take it a step further and get them a personalized one!
  5. Bamboo book holder – This is for my e-book readers, but say you’re trying to cook or workout or whatever, and you just can’t hold the book? Well, why not check out a bamboo book holder? Being made of bamboo, they’re sturdy and will be able to hold your e-reader perfectly.

For the Writerly

  1. Stationary – You can find TONS of different kinds of stationary online. They come in all sizes and colors, so here’s an example of some of the kinds you can get.
  2. Tombow pens – Okay, if your writer friend is into bullet journaling at all, then these Tombow pens are the way to go. They come in a multitude of colors and are pretty affordable.
  3. Lumbar pillow – Let me tell you, if you have a writer friend then their back is probably in pain. Hours of sitting wherever they’ve plopped to write can really take a toll on the back, so why not gift them a lumbar pillow? They’re these pillow that can hook onto the backs of chairs and provide that extra needed support for the lower back.
  4. Journal – Old school here, but I love getting journals. Even if I don’t use them, just knowing that I have them brings a peace of mind that I can’t explain. Writers appreciate them a lot because it gives us space to write our ideas when nothing else is around us and they can be much like our diaries, but for our stories. There are pocket-sized and regular sized journals to choose from, so pick one you think would best suit them!
  5. A mug – Listen, writers can stay up for hours on end just chugging away at their story, so they’re going to need caffeine (or whatever beverage of choice they want) to keep them going, so why not get them a mug? You can find cool writerly ones like this mug here that says, “I am a writer: anything you say or do may be used in a story.”

Okay, so some of these things are pretty obvious or ones that have been talked about more times in many blogs that I can count, but still: shopping for a bookworm or a writer can be easy if you know what to look for. Just think about what they like or what they need and apply that to your gift giving ideas this year.

Have a happy holiday season!

Let’s chat!

What kinds of gifts do you hope for as a bookworm or writer? Let me know!

Finding Your Voice As a Writer

So if you’ve ever tried to write before, you probably struggled trying to find “your voice.” You know, your style of writing that makes your writing unique.

From writing in first person or third person – even second person – to using extremely detailed descriptions for the setting to incorporating large, complex, and dynamic sentence structures, to having very simple but effective tastes in your plot, writing and finding your voice as a writer is, in itself, an art form.

It takes practice.

Honestly, did you think it would be easy? For some people it is, but for many of us it’s not. I started writing back when I was probably eleven or twelve, and from there I really started to develop my own voice. I prefer to write in third person point of view, and usually those kinds of books use past tense to tell the story. For example:

Mary Beth could feel her heart pounding in her chest, the only sound she was able to hear was her own heartbeat in the silent air. She thought she was still asleep – she had to be. What else would explain the blood pooled on the floor and the dead body lying just beside it?

Now, I didn’t just wake up one day and all of a sudden BAM I was able to write like that, but rather it took me years of trial and error to really reach and hone in on my voice. But I also think it came a lot more naturally to me because¬†I’ve always loved writing. I’ve always loved to create in many forms, and writing is just one of them. (And honestly, if you couldn’t tell by some of my reviews, then I don’t really know what to tell you.)

Does it mean it’s perfect writing? Not at all. I still make grammatical and spelling errors, just like everyone else. And yes, sometimes I sound a word out out loud to make sure I can at least phonetically spell it.

It takes patience.

Let’s be honest: writing’s tough. I find myself struggling to want to even write stories lately, but sometimes I get hit so hard with motivation or with a new idea that I have to write out the scene playing in my head or else I’ll forget it.

Sometimes it can get frustrating, though. I’ve struggled with writing a story before, and it’s just not fun. I tried to originally write a story from a single perspective in the third person before I realized I wanted it in first person, duel perspectives.

The thing is: I can’t write in first person. It just doesn’t sound like me. When I was editing the story I was talking about, it just didn’t sound the same; it sounded generic and like what I had been reading a lot of at that time. It wasn’t my voice, and so I stopped and switched back to third person perspective, but I kept the dual perspectives.

And boy did it sound so much better. And it just felt right. You know you’re writing well when it feels right and it actually sounds like your voice.

When it comes to finding your own voice, play around a little! See what kind of perspectives and styles your prefer and go from there.

 

If you don’t get it right away, don’t stress about it! Again, this can take time and practice and patience.

It just takes writing.

If nothing else, finding your voice just takes writing. Set up a time each day to write a little blurb and see if you think it sounds good to you. And if not each day, than each week or something that fits your schedule.

Try this technique: when you type it out as if you’re speaking it out loud, does it still sound good? Or should you tweak it to fit a different audience or the setting?

I try to always make blog posts like how I’d actually speak in person, but sometimes in person I’m not always so eloquent with my words. It’s just always easier for me to get my thoughts out in writing than orally because I can always delete and try again if I don’t like something. So don’t be afraid to try it – you can always delete and try again.

If you’re struggling to find your voice as a writer, then don’t worry so much about the content and just play around a little bit with different types of tones, perspectives, languages, etc.

If you’re writing about a tsunami crashing into land and killing hundreds of people, you’re not going to make that scene or the overall tone of the book sound cheery. It’s going to be serious, melancholy even, and you’re going to want to try to convey that through your voice in your words.

Same as if you’re trying to write about two friends getting together after being apart for six years: you’re not going to make it sound like both of their dogs just died; make this sound more upbeat and cheerful.

If you’ve been struggling with writing, I do hope that this helps at least a little bit. I can definitely go more in depth about writing for a specific audience, writing different genres or scenes, the differences between first and third person, and other kinds of topics. Let me know what kind of writing topics interest you and I’ll do my best to give my opinion on the topic.

Do you ever find yourself struggling to find your voice in your writing? If you’re a writer, what kind of voice do you use (would you mind writing a blurb to share)? If you haven’t found your voice yet, what are you struggling with and how do you think you can improve? Let me know!

Readers Wanting to Be Authors

I think it’s almost an assumption for many that if you’re part of the reading community that you, in turn, want to become an author yourself. I mean, there’s literally thousands upon thousands of ideas stored up in our brains, and if we want to read a certain story than we have to be the ones to write them, right?

Kind of.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do want to be a published author one day. Certainly not for the money or fame (which neither could happen, by the way), but because I have a voice and I want to share my voice and story with the world.

I think many of the readers out there who want to be writers might feel the same, but something stops them.

Either they feel they aren’t good at writing or they don’t have enough time or they don’t have an idea, among many other reasons. But I think that those excuses just don’t cut it. If you want to be a writer, then write! You’ll only improve if you keep doing it.

If you don’t like how a certain story turned out or if you have this really cool concept that you’ve never heard of before, or it’s been done a million times, then just write it! Your voice matters.

I started writing a novel and got more than 50,000 words written for it, and it’s no where near complete, but I have written anything since early this year. I also wrote a full novel of 50,000 words, but I’m stuck in the editing process. Motivation comes and goes, but the passion and desire never die. I hope to eventually finish a novel, find an agent, and get published, but I don’t know when or if it’ll happen. I need to finish a story, first!

And it’s the same for those people who love to read but never plan on being writers. That’s perfectly fine, too. Don’t expect to write your own books just because you read. It’s totally understandable and fine.

So don’t let anyone drag you down or convince you one way or another if you’re already set in what you want. I think readers who want to be authors, too, are awesome! I also think those who don’t want to are still awesome, too.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever been questioned as to whether or not you’ll be an author/writer because of how much you read? Or do people just kind of think you won’t do it? Do you think you will? Let me know!