Posted in Writing

A writer’s 2021 letter to Santa Claus

What does a writer want for Christmas? Inspiration, tenacity and a killer work ethic spring immediately to mind. But these are things that neither friends nor family members can provide. They’re the kinds of thing a writer must find within, but maybe there’s someone who can assist at least a little bit with these.

Most of the lists I see online for suggested gifts for writers are filled with things like computer writing software, printer paper and coffee cups emblazoned with bon mots from writers who have gone before us. I’m not sure that these are things most real writers covet. Of course, every year, I wish for more Moleskines, of which I can never have too many.  Apart from that, there are a few things I might covet. I’d like to share my 2021 letter to Santa with other writers and aspiring writers. 

“Dear Santa:

Well, here we are. We made it to the end of 2021. Last year on New Year’s Eve, we all toasted to the end of 2020, hoping that it was gone and forgotten and the weirdness we’d been experiencing would fade away. That, of course, didn’t happen, and we’ve been slogging on through this peculiar pandemic and all it entails. For me, though, it has had a silver lining. It’s been a year of writing, not writing, writing some more, editing manuscripts, and publishing not one but two books. Well, you know what I’ve been through this year. I’ve worked hard, so I know you’ll look kindly on this writer’s little Christmas list. 

First, I would like a few more Moleskines.[1]  Of course, they’re expensive as notebooks go, but who can put a price on a writer’s dearest companion? I thought you might agree. I know that other people in my life can provide these as well―but one can never have enough Moleskine notebooks, can one?  Anyway, if they’re good enough for Ernest Hemingway, they’re good enough for the rest of us.  I continue to be addicted to those brightly-coloured covers. I seem to be inspired to write just by looking at them, and surely contributing to inspiration is Santa’s job, n’est ce pas? Other people can also give me Moleskines, and that’s fine with me.

Now to the things that only you can give me. First, I’d like the gift of present mind―one that stays in the moment and pays attention. Let me see ideas everywhere I go and in everything I do (then the Moleskines become very useful, right?).  If that mindfulness could be with me wherever I am―sitting in the dentist’s waiting room, riding the subway, dining at a favourite restaurant―then I might pick up a few ideas. You know what I mean?

I’d also like the gift of serenity in the rewriting and editing process. When I write, I seem to be in the moment, but I get fidgety when I begin editing. You know that feeling? When you just want it to be over? Well, I know that the rewriting and editing are at least as important as the writing, so I need that serenity, unflappability. Could you bring me some? Thank you.

Then, Santa, although I know it might be difficult, I’d like the gift of benevolence toward the editors who can’t seem to answer their email in a timely fashion―even when they’ve requested my proposal or manuscript.  *deep breath*

Well, that’s it for this year, Santa.  I’m planning another hard-working writing year, a new book out next fall and hope to be able to share with you at the end of 2022 just how far I’ve come with these gifts of Christmas 2021. Oh, and if you can manage it, please deep-six this damn virus so we can all travel again. You know how much travel inspires me! Thanks for reading, Santa. Merry Christmas!”


[1] For the uninitiated, Moleskines are (as their website says): “…the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway…”  You can read about them at http://www.moleskine.com/en/moleskine-world and buy them all over the world in book stores and online.  The paper is great and the array of sizes and colours is amazing.

Posted in Backstory, Ideas generation, Journals, Writing craft

A writer’s letter to Santa Claus

christmas treeWhat do you give a writer for Christmas?  Most of the lists of suggested gifts are filled with things like computer writing software, printer paper and coffee cups emblazoned with bon mots from writers who have gone before us.  I have a different view of what a writer – like me at least – really covets.  So, apart from the Moleskines which I covet every year, Santa Claus is really the only one who can fill this list.  I’d like to share my 2014 letter to Santa with other writers and aspiring writers.

“Dear Santa:

So we come to the end of another year.  It’s been a year of writing, not writing, writing some more, editing manuscripts, madly searching for a publisher, and taking a foray into self-publishing.  Well, you know what I’ve been through this year.  I’ve worked hard so I know you’ll look kindly on this writer’s little Christmas list.

  1. First, I would like a few Moleskines.[1] I know that they’re expensive as notebooks go. I know that other people in my life can provide these as well – but one can never have enough Moleskine notebooks, can one? After all if they’re good enough for Ernest Hemingway, they’re good enough for the rest of us. I also know that most of my work is digital. But I can’t shake my addiction to those brightly-colored covers. I seem to be inspired to write just by looking at them. Or at least I’m inspired to think about writing. That’s a first step in any project, isn’t it?books
  2. Now to the things that only you can give me. First I’d like the gift of a continually open mind. Let me see ideas everywhere I go and in everything I do (then the Moleskines become very useful, right?). Let that open mind accompany me when I read the newspaper, eavesdrop on conversations in restaurants and airports – well, you get the idea.
  3. I’d also like the gift of patience in the rewriting and editing process. That feeling that comes at the end of a finished manuscript at long last is wonderful, but can put me off from the rigors that are then required in the revision process. I need that forbearance more than anything else to get me through that part of the writing process.
  4. Then, Santa, although I know it might be difficult, I’d like the gift of compassion for all those agents and editors who can’t seem to answer their email in a timely fashion – even when they’ve requested the proposal or manuscript. *deep breath*
  5. I’d also like the gift of creativity so that I can see old ideas in new ways. I have journals filled with all those ideas from my sometimes open mind (see #1), but they are often derivative or jotted down on a whim leaving me without a clue as to context later. Please let me revisit those journals and consider how to turn those ideas on their heads or inside out to come up with a truly innovative approach to the material.
  6. Finally, thicken my skin just a little bit as I prepare to send out a manuscript to readers for pre-publication comment. I’m sure they won’t all love it (as they should).

Well, that’s it for this year Santa.  I’m planning another hard-working writing year and hope to be able to share with you at the end of 2015 just how far I’ve come with these gifts of Christmas 2014.  Merry Christmas!”

[1] For the uninitiated, Moleskines are (as their web site says): “…the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway…”  You can read about them at http://www.moleskine.com/en/moleskine-world and buy them all over the world in book stores and online.  The paper is great and the array of sizes and colors amazing.