Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday gifts for writers, would-be writers, and you

It’s only the first day of Hanukkah – not too late to pick gifts for the writers in our lives! Options are available in all price ranges and the good news is – there’s no need to worry about sizes. Or favorite colors. Or whether they already have too many. Maybe we can even pick up a few ideas for ourselves. . . 

image: pixabay
Classes: There’s never no such thing as too much knowledge. Whether deep into the writing biz or just dipping a toe into the pool of the process, there’s a class to fit. For those unsure whether writing is their calling, start with basic creative writing classes, whose cost is low, both in dollars and commitment. with a low cost in dollars and commitment. As always, I focus on opportunities in Texas, and especially my area on the north side of the Lone Star State, such as. . . 

WORD (Writers Organizations ‘Round Dallas), now with more than 20 member groups, several offering classes in writing fiction, nonfiction, screenplays and poetry, at a variety of prices, and choices of in-person or online classes. Check out Writing Workshops Dallas at its free cocktail hour meet and greet tomorrow (Wednesday, December 13). 

I got a first taste of creative writing at the Dallas Writers Garret, with its cozy atmosphere and chances to check out the community through no-pain critique groups in both prose and poetry.

And yes, there are also purely online groups such as Master Class, with access to internationally-known writers as well as online communities.

Memberships: When you find a place you like, why not join? WORD groups can also be your writing tribe. Check out the map, remembering that a number of organizations offer multiple benefits, critique groups, classes, and presentations by local authors and experts. Groups can focus on mystery, romance, science fiction, screenwriting or more general literary genres. 

A few groups offer major conferences, with classes, presentations and access to literary agents and editors. Although available to the general public, group members enjoy discounted prices for conferences. Conference-sponsoring organizations include the DFW Writers Workshop, the Writers League of Texas and the Houston Writers Guild.

Subscriptions: Want the latest stories to feed our writerly brains? The latest information about writing craft or writing business? For a gift that keeps giving all year, whether by snail mail or email, give a journal subscription. Suggestions range from basic (Writer’s Digest) to literary (Poets & Writers . And don’t forget the purely fun – from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction  to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

Gift certificates: Still unsure about the preferences of the writers in our lives? Consider gift certificates such as those currently offered by the Writers League of Texas, which can be applied in any way a writer chooses. And don’t forget gift certificates to a book source. Where would writers be without books? Speaking of which. . . 

Books: Whether a new or long-experienced writer, there’s always more to learn. Classic, can’t go wrong options for writing craft include Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Stephen King’s On Writing, David Corbett’s The Art of Character, James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure, and Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. Available wherever books are sold, online or down the street.

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