Last week, the San Francisco Writer’s Conference published my blog post with some of the best holiday gifts for writers, as suggested by colleagues, clients and friends. I loved their responses which shared the best gifts they’ve given or received and why it’s such a perfect present for a writer.
Let’s Support BIWOC Businesses in Our Holiday Giving
After my post was published I served as a beta reader for an article by my colleague and former client Laurie Hunt about “The Whitewash Dilemma” that focuses on the work for white women to do to uncover our biases when it comes to race, do our own inner work about our racism and also realize what white women can do to be allies with BIWOC (Black, Indigenous [and] Women of Color). As I read the article, I realized how I came up short in my recent post, and could have featured BIWOC businesses.
So, today’s post is an attempt to remedy that, be more of an ally to BIWOC owned businesses by featuring them (and purchasing from them). In addition, I include here suggestions of best holiday gifts for writers from a few colleagues whose responses I received after the original article was published.
BIWOC- and Diverse-Owned Businesses
Here are some resources for purchasing gifts from BIWOC or diversely owned businesses:
- Here is a list of bookstores owned by people from a variety of backgrounds–Black, Indigenous, Asian, from diversebooks.org which was updated last month.
- Here is a list of Black-owned independent bookstores from Oprah Daily.
- Duende District makes “tiny bookstores for & by people of color— where all are welcome.”
- Red Planet Books and Comics is the only Native comic shop in the world.
COACHING and SERVICES!
- Sharon Burton is one of my colleagues, an artist, poet, blogger, podcaster, yoga nidra instructor, creativity coach and founder of Spark Your Creative. If you know someone who is creatively stuck, consider giving them the gift of creativity coaching!
- If you love sipping an aromatic, floral tea while sit and write, you’ll leave these creativity inducing teas–Possibiliteas–from literary agent and author Regina Brooks. They come in beautiful canisters with names like productivitea, creativitea and claritea. Everything you need to get writing!
Additional Gift Ideas
A few responses came in last minute and I’d also reached my word count. So here are a few additions to the list!
New York Times Bestselling Author of The Good Son (and several others of my favorite books!) Jacquelyn Mitchard says, “One of the best things I ever was given, which I use every day and love, is a lap desk for my laptop. You can spend a great deal of money on one of these or you can spend $30, but it protects your laptop from getting too hot and protects your legs from your laptop whether you’re sitting on the couch or in your bed … and it gives a boost to your screen when you’re doing Zoom calls as well.”
Author of one of my favorite books on healing, Beyond Medicine, Patricia A. Muehsam, MD says, “The best gift I have ever received as a writer is the feedback I’ve received from my readers…..Readers telling me that my book helped to change their lives. To navigate life. To find a path to healing and to transforming challenging situations.” So, make a writer happy–let them know that you loved their book or blog post or poem. Share what it did for you. (Consider an Amazon review to help their book reach–and help–even more readers!)
Podcaster and Bestselling author of How to Be a Better Person, Kate Hanley says, “My favorite thing at the moment–a gift I bought myself–is a clip-on amber reading light. It is rechargeable, although I’ve used it for months without yet needing to recharge it.” You can use it to write or read and, “the light doesn’t wake my husband up and since it is amber light, it doesn’t make me too awake to go to (or back to) sleep. It has three brightness settings so you can find just the amount of light you need.”
And There’s Always a Great Book
I was going to stay away from books so we didn’t play favorites, but writers are readers and the book recommendations kept coming. So here are a few:
Acclaimed novelist Padma Venkatramen, author of Born Behind Bars, The Bridge Home and three other award winning novels, has the little people in mind for your holiday list. She recommends Playtime for Restless Rascals by Nikki Grimes. “This is a joyful endearing picture book. And it’s brand new.” And while it’s wonderful for children, Padma offers that the creative writer in us all will “enjoy the poetic lines and the bright happy pictures.”
Michael Larsen, co-founder of the San Francisco Writers Conference, author consultant and bestselling c0-author (with Jody Rein) of How to Write a Book Proposal offers a favorite book: “Anyone who wants a life-changing, mind-expanding perspective on humanity must read: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, one of the most important books of the century.
Being in the nonfiction world, I love reading novels for escape. A few of my favorites this year include The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, based on the life of J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, “the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation.” And my most recent favorite (finished this morning) is The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn, an epic and quirky tale of orphans and near-orphans growing up pre-World War II and coming of age during that war. The characters are sublime, the setting, lovely, the times, tumultuous, the dialogue, delightful, the writing, exquisite and the humor–British humor at its best.
Any favorite gifts for writers you’d like to add to our list? Or any BIWOC businesses we can support this holiday season? Please share as a comment below.