Tis the season of gratitude and generosity. Be grateful to your friends and family, especially those who give you great writer gifts. But be generous to those who don’t; you can’t expect your partner or your BFF or even your mother to know what the writer in you really needs. Be generous to yourself and give yourself the gifts that support and sustain the writer in you. Here’s a list of my favorite writer’s gifts—some of which were given to me, and some of which I gave myself. Let this list of mine inspire your own list. Because you’re worth it.

Writers’ Tears

Irish Whiskey. Liquid courage. Enough said.

Lee Child’s BBC Maestro Class

Paula Munier and Lee Child sitting together at a table at a convention.

I’ve watched lots of online tutorials on both BBC Maestro and Master Class, and Lee’s is my favorite. He’s a wonderful guy and a wonderful writer and this class of his is smart and true and funny and wise. I’ve watched it several times.

But there’s Billy Collins and Joy Harjo and Walter Mosley on Master Class, too. And more. Sign up for whoever/whatever gives you a shot in your writing arm.

Waterman of Paris Pen Set

A lovely gift from a lovely childhood pal. I treasured these Waterman pens, and years later I used them to sign my first novels at my first book signing. I felt like a real writer. I still use them—and they’re still beautiful. Treat yourself.

Goddess Tree of Life Journal

A leather journal with an abstract illustrated tree on the front with two pens laying on top.

A wonderful present from a dear writer friend who knows I collect notebooks and journals and composition books of all sorts. And this mother earth journal, with its illustrated leather cover and handmade paper and metal latch, is a beauty.

The Sylvia Beach Hotel

I was getting married and I’d promised myself I wouldn’t tie the knot (again) before I finished my first novel. So the week before the wedding I checked myself into the Sylvia Beach Hotel (named after the famous patron of the literary arts who founded Shakespeare & Company in Paris) on the Oregon coast and finished the first draft. Pick a hotel, any hotel, anywhere, and go.

Edgar Allan Poe Purse

My mother gave me this handbag when my first Mercy Carr novel, A Borrowing of Bones, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. I carried it to the Edgars banquet. I didn’t win, but I still have this purse, and it still garners compliments from Poe fans wherever I go. I also have a Maya Angelou scarf and a book classics charm bracelet. It’s called writer fashion, people.

Trivial Pursuit: The Book Lover’s Edition

Stephen King says that for every book you write, you should read one hundred books. I suspect he’s really good at this game—the ultimate game for writers. If you can’t win, you’d better start reading.


A wide angle photograph of the Eiffel Tower on a sunny day.

Why Paris? Because I love Paris. I’ve never set a book there, but I will someday. Because, as Audrey Hepburn famously said, Paris is always a good idea. Where’s your great idea? Book your flight!

Natural Resources Steward Program

Last year I signed up for a great class at the University of New Hampshire that prepared me to join a volunteer group dedicated to caring for the nature of New England. I did it because I love the natural world, and I wanted to do my part to save it, but what I have learned and continue to learn informs everything I write. It primes my writing pump. Invest in a pump of your own.


Four dogs laying on the grass looking at the photographer with their tongue out.

There’s nothing like a walk in the woods with your dog or a consult on the couch with a cat on your lap to work out plot problems and character motivations and pacing issues. I’m just saying.

Note: If you don’t have a dog or a cat, rescue one. You’ll be glad you did.

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