Well, not Christmas, really, so much as Santa Claus, and most importantly, writers’ significant others.
Why? Because writers are very hard to buy for. It isn’t that their loved ones don’t try. It’s because what they want isn’t on any store shelf. Santa can’t build it in his warehouse. They want sales. They want contracts. They want to publish.
Now maybe your SO can give you that–if he or she is head of a major publishing house or magazine. Not only are there very few of those to go around,* but then you’d never know if you really earned that spot, or if it was just an act of misguided love. Sure, writers want to be published more than anything, but they have to earn it.
See why they’re so hard to shop for? When you’re young and starting out, there are writer-related things you need or want, and those can be purchased (and usually not by you, because you’re a writer, which means you’re probably poor). There are helpful books, and computer programs, and ergonomic chairs (if you’re not poor). But as you progress, helpful items are fewer and further between. Yes, you may need a new computer every few years, but that’s a lot to ask, and it doesn’t help the rest of the time.
So while writers are closeted in their garrets tearing their hair out trying to resolve a plot line, their families are stuck down in the kitchen tearing their hair out trying to resolve the question of what to get you for Christmas. (Hint: If the garret is unheated, go for socks. Or a new furnace.)
Of course, the answer is that, other than publishing contracts with movie options and international rights clauses, writers don’t really want much. They are cursed by that “earning” mantra; if they yearn for material possessions, they also yearn to be able to buy them ourselves with their, yes, earnings. Which doesn’t make your job easier.
But you want to know what writers want for Christmas? Support. They want to know you believe in them, believe in them enough to let them climb up to that unheated garret every night when all you want to do is snuggle under the covers on the sofa and watch Hallmark Christmas movies. They need that, more than they need a sale. It’s true.
They need to know that even if they can’t sell to save their lives, and Santa has given up on finding them the perfect gift, you’re still in their corner, with your unwavering faith and love.
It’s worth more than any story sale. Or even a novel. Now, if you throw in a TV option…no, not even then.
*Even if I could have one, I wouldn’t trade it for what I have now.
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