Are Freelance Writers and Bloggers Boring?

http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2008/11/are-freelance-writers-and-bloggers-boring/

Yesterday I contacted a sponsor for my Cookerati blog (Dunkin’ Donuts) to see if they would be interested in giving away a gift basket here. I thought it would be a nice change from the usual fare and an awesome gift for the winner. It occurred to me that I could do a lot more of these giveaways if I had enough sponsors and prizes. The thing is, whenever I put out word that I’m doing a gift guide or that I would like sponsors for giveaways, I get a whole bunch of self help books and laptop supplies. Now, there’s nothing wrong with these, but every blogging and writing blog in cyberspace are giving away ProBlogger books (been there, done that) and surge protectors. I was looking for something a little less….boring.

So I put out word that I was looking for fun gifts for writers and received an impressive response.  The problem is, my definition of fun, and some publicists’ definition of fun are two totally different animals. I had offers of extension cords, a heart rate monitor, a light for the inside of one’s toilet so the men in your lives don’t miss at night, and epoxy glue. Yes, epoxy glue. To give away to writers and bloggers.

I ask you…

Are these fun gifts for writers or bloggers?

I’ve also been looking around at some of the holiday gift guides going up at blogs and websites about this time and they’re mostly all books and software. Again, there is nothing wrong with this, but where’s the frivolity? Are writers all so serious we’re only books and computers? Speaking as the girl who received a paper shredder as the “big gift” one year, I can tell you we don’t only want books and power cords in our stockings this year.

We can have fun! Really!

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I like to tell a joke or two. If it’s really funny I’ll even let out a big old belly laugh. And on my downtime I’ve even been known to let my hair down and enjoy the company of others…outside of the house!! I know!

I understand we need to be practical. I even represent the practical side in my own gift guides and giveaways, but we’re not all books and computer programs. We’re actually pretty darn human. I don’t get my husband, the accountant, calculators and slide rules for the holidays. Nor do I give my sister the teacher apples and attendance books.

Show a little imagination when buying for the writer in your life. Check out some vintage typewriter key bracelets or baskets of bath products. Send your favorite blogger a bottle of wine or the latest gadget. Trust me, we’ll appreciate the distraction.

Comments

  1. Well said! All people know about us are the bits we reveal in our writings. But I do have a life, too. Just because I participate in a discussion/debate on twitter about which accounting software is best does NOT mean I am not doing so while dressed in party clothes, waiting for my husband before we go out. ;) I think the gifts should reflect that.

  2. The sad part is that I can’t really think of *what* I do want. I’ve recently started the transition to writer/artist with heavy emphasis on “artist,” and most of what I’ve asked for is on the art side. I’m getting (yeah, no surprises this year) a learn calligraphy gift and hubby’s making me a couple of easels. He’ll probably throw in some sketchbooks and markers/fabric scraps/odd artsy stuff. Oh, and I am getting a remote-detonated beeper that will help me find my keys.

    The weird thing is that I wouldn’t *dare* get my husband, a software programmer, anything computer-related. I did once get him a funny shirt from ThinkGeek.com, but I wouldn’t buy computer parts for him. I’m not sure why we’re so easy to pigeon-hole. Maybe we should talk about our day jobs less.

  3. I love notebooks and pens and tend to get giddy when I receive them as gifts. For our anniversary my husband bought me a gorgeous pink journal cover and two journals to go into it(that I picked out, of course!) But he also bought me a scented candle.

    I think if people want to buy the writer in their lives writing related stuff, that’s fine. Just add something non related that you know the person will like. Even something like pens set in a big ole coffee mug is practical yet personal.

  4. Here’s something to keep in mind regarding the gift lists you see online though – those are often on writing-related sites and blogs.

    We’re in a niche, and we target our posts to that niche (or we should). When a writing blogger posts a gift list, they’re not talking to the family and everyday friends of most freelance writers. The bulk of our audiences (again, the folks we should be writing for) are more likely to be writers themselves (perhaps buying for colleague-type friends as opposed to highly personal friends) as well as potential buyers of writing services who may want to buy a gift for one of their freelancers. In those cases, writing-related gifts are usually the safest bet (and more often than not appreciated).

    I wouldn’t dare try to tell a husband what to buy his just-happens-to-be-a-writer wife for instance – outside of being writers, we’re just everyday folks, and those near and dear to us should know us well enough to choose those more personal gifts without having to turn to a niche blog for ideas. ;)

    And I’m actually with Colleen – I love getting writing-related gifts. Why? Because all year long I have to deal with friends and family members who don’t understand what I do for a living or why, and who don’t respect it as “real work” more often than I’d care to admit. When they give something related to my work it’s like a small sign that they really did listen to me at some point, understand what I might want or need, and that they’re making an honest effort to accept that aspect of my life whether or not they’ll ever fully understand it. :)

  5. I don’t really consider myself the ‘normal’ writer, so I guess it will come as no surprise that I really, really wish you’d gotten the ‘Pee’ light. That’s one gift we could use in this house.

    Outside of that, writing gifts are ok, but I don’t see as how some of that stuff could be considered fun at all. The epoxy could be. Just might accidentally put someone in the hospital if the joke went wrong. :-)

    All I want this year is rolls of the bags for my new Seal A Meal. Shows how boring I am, huh?

  6. Hear hear! As a person who could have been a stand-up comic in another life, I often hear a “No way are YOU an editor!” whenever I announce my career. What?! Are editors all meek rejects sitting in the corner with their faces pressed to pages and red pens in their hands?! Come on, people…those are COPYEDITORS!

    I’m kidding! Kidding!! :)

  7. Aw.. I’m another one of those who like writer-related gifts. Mainly because like what Jenn said, alot of my family doesen’t understand the concept of writing for work. While they definately are excited that I’m able to do what I have always loved doing, my work is viewed as ‘too-good-to-be-true’ and surely must be a scam. So it definately feels good to have the ones you respect and love bestow writing-related-gifts on you as if they are accepting and showing respect on your profession in turn.

  8. Hi Guys,

    I like writing related gifts too! Don’t get me wrong. I think my point was that when I put out the call for “fun” gifts for writers I got a variety of books and power cords. Are those fun to us or just how a publicist sees us?

  9. What I would find interesting is free tickets for an upcoming movie. It may just inspire me to write a review on it for a blog.

  10. I don’t know, Deb. I’m having a hard time imagining how *anyone* would find a heart rate monitor fun. I mean, I have one on my stationary bike, but seriously it’s just so I don’t keel over while working out. I don’t really look forward to it, ya know?

  11. heh.. Yeah Deb.. I’m not quite as interested in self-help books that teach me how to do what I’m already doing. If it’s something that I’ve been wanting to get into or that I’ve made a point of mentioning that I’d like more information on.. Then I’d love to have one, otherwise it’s just a book that will probably go in the bookshelf and not really be seen anymore. And yeah Brandi.. A heart monitor doesen’t strike me as real fun or even writer-associated.. Unless someone really gets into their writing physically and is bouncing all over the place as they type on their keyboards. :)
    I do have to admit that word processing software really does get me excited for some reason!

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