The Freelancer Gift Guide: Ramen Noodles, Free Menorahs and Tweed


To celebrate this year’s Holiday Book Gift Guide, which I had a hand in putting together, I thought: why not bolster the book guide with a supplemental gift guide for the freelance writer in your life?  So, while this may just function as the grown-up version of a “Dear Santa” letter, I’ll try to keep it practical. If I truly believed in Santa Claus or Magical Maccabee’s (the angels of the Maccabee warriors that devote the afterlife to granting the wishes of Jewish children) I might ask for Bill Clegg as an agent, or James Franco to attach himself to my novel, but alas, I’m a sad jaded grown-up.  Happy holidays! For my on my sad jaded, but sometimes-glorious Freelance Life, follow me on Twitter or check out my blog.

Subscriptions: Magazine subscriptions are always a good idea for writers but these days it can be hard to even know which magazines are still afloat.  You can’t really go wrong with: Harpers,  N+1 or New York Magazine, and for me, Rolling Stone and Vice as well.

Go Digital: There are a few digital options that are truly the pinnacle of usefulness. For instance, subscriptions to services like Media Bistro’s Avant Guild or Publisher’s Marketplace are even better gifts than the newest edition of Writer’s Market.

Digital Recorder: Personally this is something that I really need because I’m constantly vying for quotes from strangers, but I’d venture to guess it would come in handy for just about any freelance writer.

Clothing: A recent development in my freelance life that I hadn’t been counting on is the fact that I have to start being a grown-up a little bit. Certain parts of that process have lagged. For instance, when covering events at places like MoMA or some old-fashioned looking hotel in the Financial District, you might suddenly realize why it’s important to own nice shoes. It’s probably a good bet to talk to your freelancer before buying because she will know what it is her wardrobe is missing, whether that’s a jacket, shoes, a suit or a smart dress. I will say that for gentlemen, you can’t wrong with a tweedy, elbow patch-adorned writer’s jacket. Here are two on the higher end and the lower end, also it’s easy to feel all Russell Banks in one of these Pendleton shirts–for men or women.

Mixed Drives: I described how to make these last year on Brooklyn Based.  They’ve yet to explode the way I imagined they would but I stand by the fact that they’re the perfect gift if you are on a budget.  First buy a kitschy thumb drive, and then load it up with your favorite music, movies and books.

Gift Cards: Finally, this is a win-win. Why? Because chances are if you have a writer in your life, he has a very stubborn way of looking at the world.  To be a writer you must start with the notion that you have some unique and valuable way of looking at the world. Therefore there’s a good chance that when it comes to music, books, clothing or technology, he’s certain that only they know what is valid.

As someone who feels this way with regard to a lot of things, nothing makes me happier than to be given one of these cards to be spent on a day of shopping with a loved one so I can then pontificate to them on why I’m buying what I’m buying . Gift cards are the way to go, buy them, and then take us on a shopping day. It will be like Pretty Woman, just with shaving kits and Battlestar Galactica DVD box sets.

Happy shopping folks. Just remember to ask for a gift receipt and don’t be afraid to buy things for us late in order to get post-holiday discounts, because you then give us the gift of being able to do the same.  A Freelance Life is a thrifty one, so remember, stuff your stocking with ramen noodles and get your menorahs on the street for free from Chabad. Happy Holidays.

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