Chenille Books Gift Guide • Journaling Edition
This year, the Chenille Books Holiday Gift Guide focuses on journaling. Low-cost and no-cost gifts can be among the best you can give, especially this weird, weird, weird year.
Keeping a journal – a safe, private home for self-expression – can be a daily gift to yourself, or to anyone. It’s also a tremendous way to stay clear of creative blocks. When you write regularly in your journal, the writing ‘muscles’ tend to stay warmed up and limber, ready when you are to work on your other creative projects. I’m such a longtime fan of journaling that I’ve begun writing about it, and am contributing chapters to two books, coming from Routledge Press and Mango Publishing, in 2021. (Stay tuned for more details.)
Journals are always useful. In this pandemic year, where so many expectations and routines have been disrupted, it’s even more valuable to have a reliable destination where you can share your thoughts, feelings, ideas, curiosities, discoveries, inspirations, notes, lists, commentaries, and musings. Where you can brainstorm, worry, celebrate, analyze, consider, puzzle, uncover, explore, draft, formulate, and, importantly – where you can listen.
Listening takes time and quiet. An ongoing journaling practice supplies both. A journal in the hands of the regular user is a treat, not a duty. A homecoming, not a responsibility. And don’t we all need more of those?
All that said, my final recommendation is in support of independent authors, whether they – or you – are journalers or not.
Here’s a curated selection of gifts to consider snapping up for the people in your life who’ll appreciate them. Prices are in US Dollars. (The first and last items in our Gift Guide will cost you nothing, yet will mean sooo much to the independent writers in your life.) Share this list with your loved ones!
The Gift of Time
For anyone struggling with living and working during the pandemic among other people with – gasp! – needs, a truly thoughtful gift is a promise of private, quiet time.
Make a gift certificate, craft a greeting card, create a presentation ceremony, or quietly offer it to your loved one late one night. How you make the promise is only part of this gift, of course.
Then follow up on your commitment. Carve out that time, and protect it on behalf of the person you’re giving it to. Whether it’s one evening a week, a full week each calendar quarter, an hour each afternoon, or something else, the gift of time is priceless.
Well maybe. If you’re supporting a journaling practice for yourself, go nuts and buy yourself a blank book that calls to you.
A word of advice, however, if you’re giving this to someone else.
People can be very attached to the kind of book they like to write in, so you may want to be sensitive to that. Consider providing additional blank books, or refills, of the type they already use.
Again, consider the person you’re giving this to.
If they have a certain favorite writing instrument, give them more of them, or the ink refills, or leads, or whatever replenishable supplies might be needed.
If it’s a gift for yourself, have fun selecting a pen that feels just right and writes like a dream!
FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers
A M Carley’s FLOAT • Becoming Unstuck for Writers is a handbook and resource for all kinds of writers. Written by the founder of Chenille Books, we immodestly include FLOAT in our holiday gift recommendations. Suitable for writers from woo-woo to pragmatic, introverted to extroverted, quiet to exuberant, contemplative to active, this book offers mindful interventions to help writers become unstuck.
Includes over 80 tools, and a comprehensive method for applying them to cases of stuckness or creative block. Includes free online guide with helpful audio recordings. Paperback ($15) at Bookshop.org, and Central Virginia bookstores, and paperback ($15) and ebook ($8) at Amazon.
NEWS: Launching in 2021 will be a companion online course with workbook, linking the FLOAT Approach to Becoming Unstuck Journaling.
Coloring Books for All Ages from Jeanne S
Coloring is now recognized as a simple and enjoyable way out of a creative block, and a way to achieve a meditative state. These two coloring books, from Jeanne S, offer a choice of mandalas or butterflies.
For those who aren’t sure about journaling with words, an imaginative coloring book, like these both are, can be the key to unlocking deep growth.
Making Art with Mandalas provides the line art, ready to be colored, while Making Art with Butterflies offers a more unconventional coloring experience, where more creative choices can be made on the fly (ahem). $15 for each paperback from Amazon.
FLOAT Cards for Writers
Some people enjoy a journaling prompt to get things going. These cards are a great resource for journaling prompts. Pick a card! My deck of FLOAT Cards for Writers is a go-to for writers who sometimes feel at a loss for words – or motivation – in a writing project.
The FLOAT cards let you draw on your own inner resources, and the wisdom of many who’ve come before.
An online guide is included with purchase, with ideas for using the cards in writer groups, classrooms, and workshops.
The deck provides 52 ways to revitalize a creative practice. Available for $20 online, including a permanent storage box.
Write Some Online Book Reviews
For this gift, your online destinations are entirely up to you.
This gift costs you nothing except about five minutes of your time. Give the precious gift to authors of an online review. Are you familiar with the term “social proof”? The independent authors in your life – whether you’ve ever met or not – can always use more of it. Simply put, the more online reviews a book has, the more likely strangers to it will take a chance on picking up copies. Amazon and Goodreads reviews have the most impact statistically, but choose your favorite authors and vendors as you see fit.
Importantly, your review can be short and to the point. Something as plain as,“I really enjoyed this book, and will recommend it to my friends” can work well. Wax rhapsodic if you choose, but you’ll help out the writers you admire by simply jotting a sentence or two into the appropriate section at the online vendors you prefer. Throw in five stars, and you’re golden. Add a link to the product’s sales page on one or more of your social media channels, and you’ll make a writer very happy indeed!
With warm wishes for the year-end holidays. May your winter season be interesting – in a good way – and filled with creativity and joy. ~ Anne Carley
P.S. Another free gift idea here: Give yourself and your writerly friends a special offering from Chenille Books – a One Next Step session with Anne. It’s offered freely, for a limited time during the holiday season. Read more…
Let us know in the Comments which items in our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide are most useful to you and the writers and other creative people in your life! #GiftsForWriters #GiftsForCreatives #HolidayGifts #GiftIdeas #BestGifts #BestGifts2020 #BecomingUnstuckJournaling