Have you noticed that as people get older, it becomes more difficult to buy presents for them? Maybe it’s because, as grown-ups, we have more freedom to go out and obtain the things we really want; or maybe it’s because, as we get older, the things we want become more expensive. Whatever the reason, I find that it’s much more difficult to find the perfect gift for my parents, sister, brother, in-laws, and spouse than it is to find gifts for their kids.
What’s this have to do with being a writer? It’s this: as writers, we have the ability to craft gifts of words, gifts that no one can buy for themselves.
For instance, the illustrations in this post come from the most successful picture book I’ve ever written. I wrote it ten years ago, when we were short on cash—so I decided to create a book about my son (only son, at the time) searching out the meaning of Christmas with his cousins.
The truth is, this was not a very good picture book in terms of writing craft—I know a LOT more now than I did then—and I’ll never be much of an illustrator, but it made a wonderful and unique gift for nieces, nephews, and grandparents. This book, printed on a color inkjet printer and bound by hand in a distinctly amateur fashion, is still treasured and loved, even though the cousins in it have all grown up and even though it’s not a perfect piece of art—because it was crafted with love.
This year, money isn’t quite so tight as it was back then, but I find myself turning to handcrafted—and handwritten—gifts again. I believe the gift of words can be more precious than anything I might find on a store shelf…
…which is why, today, I love being a writer.
Happy gift-giving and gift-creating!