Toys for Speechwriters
December 14, 2016
Speechwriting tech columnist Andrew Barlow's holiday gift guide a speechwriter colleague—or the child in your own speechwriter's heart.
Writers are an interesting bunch, making a living with their keyboards as they harbor dreams of penning the next great American novel. With each passing day, that dream is slightly more obscured by speech deadlines, op-ed polishing and whitepaper research. However, it is that flicker of hope, that ability to see themselves in the company of greats like Hemingway and Jon Favreau, that keeps their souls alive. If you love a writer, you can affirm that notion simply by choosing the right holiday gift.
And if you are a writer, and love yourself—forward this article to someone who loves you, and make sure you put some cookies out, in case the old fella comes.
A nifty notebook. Writers pound the keys, but let’s not forget the joy of the handwritten word, scrawled pen-in-hand on toothy paper, full of cross-outs, margin notes and stick figures. Check out this notebook from the Proteus of Paper, the Clairefontaine Company. These folks got their start in 1858 making their own paper, started making schoolbooks for French schoolchildren in 1950 and remain one of the few notebook companies that still makes its own paper.
A powerful pen. Great paper demands a great pen and there are several options for writers in search of a quality quill. Whether you can spring for a Mont Blanc or prefer a Bic, the point is to get that ink flowing. We recommend the BIC For Her Fashion Retractable Ball Pen purely for the joy you’ll take in reading the Amazon reviews. Brilliant writers from across the Amazon galaxy have piled on with delightful prose skewing this oddly sexist product. Oh, and the pen works just fine too…
A prose-inspiring pea coat. Sometimes you gotta look like a writer before you can truly be a writer, so get your budding Bronte this woolen pea coat from Seibertron (they’re no Burberry, but we’re not trying to break the bank here). In no time, they’ll be hunkered down in a drafty attic or an off-brand coffee shop, with brow furrowed, scribbling their moody musings for the benefit of humanity.
A kitschy typewriter keyboard. While most people search endlessly for a whisper-quiet computer keyboard, real writers crave the haptic feedback of a real-life typewriter. Your writer’s eyes will light up when she sees this USB keyboard, recalling an era when writers could juggle a day job and a heroin habit and still get published. Its round keys and reassuring click-clack will keep your writer’s ADHD focused on productive efforts and move you one step closer to world renown.
A "thumb-able" thesaurus. Even the best writers hit a roadblock now and then, grinding to a halt as they cast about for the perfect word. While it’s easy to hit an online thesaurus, there is something reassuringly tactile about thumbing through a real thesaurus, including those flights of fancy inspired by adjacent and completely unrelated words. This little book may be the least expensive gift on your list, but it might be the one that breaks a logjam and gets the award-winning prose flowing again.
A when-all-else-fails flask. Hemingway is rumored to have dabbled in absinthe and Faulkner is known for consuming rivers of bourbon, so your writer should be able to tap into the inspiring currents of quality spirits with an element of style. This handy flask not only looks nice sliding out of a pea coat pocket, it is easy to fill with its included funnel and comes with its own collapsible shot glass for truly stylish tippling (then typing).
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should get you going on finding the perfect gift for the writer in your life. Please share your favorite gifts ever in the comments section so we can make this list even more useful to those who not only love writers, but remain mildly confused by them.