A little history. One of my favorite reads this year was Bud Webster’s Past Masters: And Other Bookish Natterings. Bud’s book combines hearty doses of interesting history with some deliciously thorough reading lists, that will only lead you to more and more reading. Bud always managed to tell me something about the writers that I didn’t know but which shed more light (and interest) on the stories I already loved. Heartily recommended, particularly if you’re well-read in the SF field and want to know more about some of its greats.
A little inspiration. WonderBook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction is a fabulous, gorgeous book about writing created by Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Zerfoss that will inspire and amuse. There’s a lot of writing books produced each year – this is not only the nicest of this year’s, but one well worth dipping into over and over again.
A little fuel. Writers usually require coffee. This year, due to this blog post by Chuck Wendig, I’ve become a fan of the Chemex coffeemaker. It’s got a nice little ritual to coffee-making that helps start the day right. Or a pound of fancy weasel-butt process coffee, if you want to go all out. Uncaffeinated writer? Get them a gift certificate and let them pick their own liquid.
A little efficiency. Dragon Dictate is dictation software available for Windows and Mac (although check what OS you’re running, a version hasn’t been released yet for the latest Mac update.) I love Dragon Dictate and think it makes me significantly more productive. It does take a little getting used to, but once you’ve worked with it a while, writing by hand feels archaic. And slooooooow.