The 2016 Writer’s Gift Guide

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’m starting to see “gift guides” pop up online, and I wanted to join in the fun! I offered a Writer’s Gift Guide in 2015, and it was really well received–I think almost all of us know people in our lives who love to write (or we are the ones who love to write!), and this is an easy post to share with others (wink!). Here are my top 10 gifts to give the writers in your life this year!

The 2016 Writers Gift Guide is live--perfect for the writer in your life, especially if that writer is you!… Click To Tweet
  1. How else could I possibly start? A book. Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies is one of my all-time favorite books for fellow writers, both for its meticulous prose and also for McEntyre’s vision for language. She is calling us to use words as people of faith and love–and the outcome of that calling is deeply meaningful. A powerful text for any word-lover in your life!Caring for Words in the Writers Gift Guide 2016 at www.annswindell.com
  2. A beautiful journal set. I love this one from Dayspring–it reminds me that words travel so much farther than I can, and includes a journal, pencil pouch, and set of postcards ready for sending! Get this for the word-lover in your life who you wish you could hug more often! And use the code: SHINEHISLIGHT to save $20 off of a $60 purchase + get free shipping! Yay!
  3. Journal set from DayspringA planner. Writers need clarity when it comes to scheduling their days and setting aside intentional time to write. The planner that I use is from Anchored Press, and I even had the privilege of contributing to their weekly planner this year. These planners are GORGEOUS, practical, and filled with the truth of Scripture–just what we all need to keep us on track!
    Anchored Press Weekly Planner. Writing Gift Guide at annswindell.com
  4. Personalized Writing Coaching. Oftentimes, writers have ideas and dreams and projects that they want to work on, but they don’t know how to strengthen and sharpen their writing–or what the next best step is to take in their calling as a writer. Through Writing with Grace, I offer individualized coaching for writers, and am now setting up calls starting in January. If you want to invest in your own calling as a writer–or if you want to show the writer in your life how deeply you believe in them, this would be the gift that keeps on giving! My coaching clients walk away with practical steps to take in their writing career, along with encouragement and vision for moving forward. Email WritingwithGraceCourse@gmail.com if you’re interested in setting this up and we can chat. I even have a gift card that you can give to your recipient so they have something to open on Christmas day!Writing with Grace Coaching. Email WritingwithGraceCourse@gmail.com

     

  5. A Goal-setting system, like Powersheets from the Cultivate What Matters Shop. I’ve written about these before, but most writers have a hard time juggling both their writing dreams and their everyday commitments; what happens is that usually the writing goes by the wayside. Powersheets have helped me to set priorities in my life around my calling and my gifts, all while keeping the Lord at the center. I am a huge fan of Powersheets and already pre-ordered my set for 2017!
    PowerSheets by Lara Casey
  6. A book pillow! I’m a sucker for quirky pillows, and being surrounded by books is always delightful, whether it’s a stack of books on my desk or a delightful throw pillow that represents books on my couch. This is a fun pick–clean, bright, and just cheeky enough to make even a curmudgeon smile!Book Pillow at the Writers Gift Guide 2016 from annswindell.com
  7. Business cards. Sometimes writers need the validation of owning the truth that they ARE writers; it can be hard to say that you’re a writer if it’s never out in the open with others. Consider buying your favorite writer a pack of business cards as a way of encouraging her in her dream of writing–and make it stylish while you’re at it! I love these from Moo, which is where I purchase my business cards; the quality is extremely high. Click here and then search for “writer” in the upper right-hand corder to bring up a fun array of business cards related to writing!Writer business cards in the Writers Gift Guide 2016 at www.annswindell.com

     

  8. A meaningful magazine subscription. The best writers are thoughtful readers, and one of my all-time favorite publications is Deeply Rooted Magazine. This is a beautiful, theologically rich publication that is deeply encouraging and aesthetically stunning, all at the same time. I’ve written for them for years (and hope to do so forever)! Order the writer in your life a yearly subscription and keep the gift going for the next twelve months!Deeply Rooted Magazine Subscription in the Writers Gift Guide 2016 at annswindell.com

     

  9. A nice pen. Yes, most of us do our writing on screens nowadays, but there’s nothing like writing with a smooth pen on fresh paper. If you’re already getting the writer in your life a journal set (see #2), something like this would be a great stocking stuffer!Fringe Pen for the 2016 Writer Gift Guide at www.annswindell.com
  10. One more book. I couldn’t help myself–if you’re looking to encourage the writer in your life with spiritual truth (from a fellow writer!), you can pre-order my book, Still Waiting. It comes out April 4th, and I’ve been praying for the readers of this book for over a year. You can read more about the book here, but I think this is a great gift for the writer–and reader–in your life. I’ve poured my heart into it, and my prayer is that this book will be an encouragement to each and every person who reads it.

Still Waiting: Hope for When God Doesn't Give You What You Want www.annswindell.com

Well, there you have it: these are my top 10 gifts for the writer in your life–even if that writer is yourself! What else would you add to this list? Is there anything you can’t live without in your writing life? Share what you love with me!

May this holiday season be full of transformative words, conversations, and gifts that lead us to truth and beauty in Christ!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links,
all for products that I love and believe in–and use–myself!

The 2016 Writer's Gift Guide at annswindell.com

Write Your Story, Change Your Life

I started writing my story years ago; long before I was anywhere near a book contract or a marketing team, I felt that the Lord was inviting me into a process of writing my story down and–in the process–meeting him in the middle of it. I’m not sure I’ve done anything more powerful in my personal spiritual journey than write my memoir.

 

Write Your Story www.writingwithgrace.com

Memoir is the genre that I love the most, because it’s the genre that allows us–even gently forces us–to re-examine the lives that we have been living as we write them down on the page. A good memoir isn’t autobiography, and it isn’t a personal journal. It’s the true story of our lives written in such a way that others can understand, access, and be changed by it.

I’m not sure there’s a more dynamic form of the written word.

Our God is the God of story, and he loves making himself known through our stories; it’s how he’s wired us. We start loving stories as children, and we inherently know when a story has a satisfying or unacceptable ending, because we were made to long for resolution, peace, and hope.

Our God is the God of story, and he loves making himself known through our stories. Click To Tweet

If you’ve always wanted to write your story, or if you’ve been wondering how you can tell your story in a meaningful way, I’m going to suggest that writing your memoir might be one of the most powerful things you can do in your personal journey with Jesus. Down the road, might your story impact hundreds or thousands of people? I hope so! But in these days and months, writing your story will transform you most of all. I know that it has transformed me; I got to see Jesus at work all over again as I’ve written my memoir over the past years.

I just opened registration for the Writing with Grace Memoir course that I’ll be teaching this fall. To say that I’m thrilled about this class is an understatement; I’m practically jumping out of my chair!

Registration is open for Writing with Grace: Memoir! www.writingwithgrace.com #amwriting Click To Tweet

I’d love for you to join me over at Writing with Grace–you can even see the new video that we created just for this course.

If you’ve been aching to write your story, this is your time. I can’t wait to see you there!

Don’t Write to Get Published

I have a deep respect for The Gospel Coalition and the work that they are doing online and in the “real” world as an organization that unabashedly proclaims the truth of the Bible. I was able to attend The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference in June, and just this week I had the opportunity to write for their blog. It was an honor to write for TGC about one of my favorite topics! You can link to the full article here.

And, if you’re a fellow writer, make sure to read all the way to the end of the article at TGC, where I offer a discount code for my Writing with Grace course–registration is open until the 17th of August (and don’t forget to check out the site and the brand-new video I released)!

Don't Write Just to Get Published www.annswindell.com

Here’s the start of the article for The Gospel Coalition:

For those of us who love words, we’re drawn to the clack of the keyboard and the parsing of meaning on the page. We feel alive as we wrangle words into sentences; some of us even feel closer to God as we work out our faith by writing about it. Time spent writing feels important, even holy.

For those of us who love words, we’re drawn to the clack of the keyboard. We feel alive as we wrangle words into… Click To Tweet

But for many of us, running parallel with our love of writing is the desire to get published. This desire can be fueled by the culture at large, which says our writing only matters if our readership is huge and our byline well known. Publication is commonly assumed to be the goal of the writing life, and seeing our words in print the truest form of validation for our work.

As an author and teacher of writing, I often have conversations with other writers fixated on publication. They’re desperate to see their work published somewhere. They want to know how to start a writing career, or how to get the inside scoop on writing for a top magazine.

In response to their questions, I have to ask: Do you want to be published? Or do you want to write?

Do you want to be published? Or do you want to write? Click To Tweet

These aren’t the same question, although many of us confuse one for the other. For as much as writing is tethered to publishing, getting published doesn’t make a writer. Writing makes a writer.

Read the rest of the article over at The Gospel Coalition, and don’t miss out on open registration for Writing with Grace!

Writing with Grace course www.writingwithgrace.com

Five Ways to Keep Jesus Central this Holiday Season

Life doesn’t stop in any season, especially during the busy Christmas season full of t0-do lists, parties, shopping, and, (hopefully!) worship opportunities. So how can we still try to focus our hearts in a deeper way on the presence of God in our lives, especially during Advent? How can we attend to how he is moving and how we are (or are not) responding to his love?

5 Ways to Stay Close to Jesus in the Holiday Season. www.annswindell.com

Here are some simple steps that I’ve found are helpful to stay close to Jesus in the busy days of Advent:

1. Start with Scripture. It sounds simple, but it can also be very hard to read the Word regularly. I have found, for me, that when I start my day in the Bible, my heart and mind are better prepared to respond to God’s presence throughout the rest of the day. Aligning my mind and heart with his Word in the morning is like tying up my shoelaces before going out the door—it’s much easier to keep from slipping as I walk through the day.  If this isn’t a normal part of your life, that’s ok! Start by reading just a few verses at a time, and ask God to speak to your heart with his truth.

2. Pray as you go. It is important to have regular time set aside to pray, but as in any relationship, ongoing communication is important. I often pray in shorter bursts while I’m driving, or while I’m walking across campus to my classroom, or while I’m picking up toys in the house. I had a professor in college who prayed for a particular person each time he turned on a light switch, and I love that idea of partnering normal, daily actions with intentional prayer. Prayer doesn’t need to be fancy or long—just honest communication with God. 

3. Pause when you feel overwhelmed. This is an important one for me. There are often multiple times every day where I can feel overwhelmed, anxious, or concerned—usually about things that are outside of my control. If I take time to pause and turn to God when these moments come, rather than letting fear or anxiety overtake me, I find that he has never left my side, and He is always offering me his peace, which is bigger than any fear (Phil. 4:6-7). The time it takes me to pause and pray is always shorter than the time it takes me to be worried about something for another five minutes—or five days!

4. Listen to Truth. In our home and in our cars, Michael and I play music that reminds us of God’s presence in our lives. Music seeps into my mind more easily (and mindlessly) than most things, so if I find myself humming a tune unintentionally, it helps my soul if it’s a song that reminds me of who God is and how he loves me. If you don’t love listening to music, find a radio station or audio book that declares the truth of who God is and listen to it in your car or while you’re working out.

5. Place reminders of God’s love and presence in your home. I am a visual learner, and it helps my heart when I have visual reminders of God’s heart in my house, my office, and even in my car! You can go the fancy route and buy (or paint) a representation of a Scripture and hang it up in your kitchen or bedroom, or you can write a favorite verse on a sticky note and put it by the radio dial in your car. Choose a Scripture verse that is meaningful to you and let it remind you of God’s particular love for you and attention to your life.

How do you keep your heart close to Christ during Advent? I’d love for you to share your insights!

This post is a holiday version of a previously published blog post on my site.

Similar post: What Does It Mean to Have a Close Relationship With God

Writing with Grace: One Day Left!

Writing with Grace, a six week course for writers. www.writingwithgrace.com

If you’ve been thinking about signing up for Writing with Grace, now’s the time!

Registration for the Writing with Grace course is only open for one more day. Just one! Take a moment and consider about how your life–and the lives of those around you–could be impacted if you invested in your writing.

 If you’re struggling in your calling as a writer, it might be because you haven’t given yourself time to grow as a writer. It becomes too easy for us to push our dreams and callings into the margin of our lives, telling ourselves that “the timing isn’t right” or that “we can’t spend too much on ourselves.” We will willingly pour our time, resources, and energy into others–and that’s a good thing.

But it’s also a good thing to invest in your gifts and in your calling.

Writing is a gift that the Lord has given to you so that you can impact others in His name–with his love and his truth. It’s not selfish or self-seeking to pour time and resources into your calling as a writer. I truly believe that when our hearts are centered on Christ, writing with and for Him is a deeply important Kingdom assignment.

This is why I care so much about this course, and why I believe in it so deeply–because I know that when we grow as writers who are focused on Jesus, it will impact the world with the love of Christ. That’s worth investing in.

Join me and head over to Writing with Grace to read about the course schedule–and imagine how you might grow as a writer this winter.

Ann Swindell, author and speaker www.annswindell.comPhoto by Ann White Photography

You can watch the classes live, re-watch them late at night or during nap times, and hear from editors at (in)courage, RELEVANT, and Darling Magazine.

We’re going to have a wonderful, powerful time together this January through February. It’s worth it to invest in your calling as a writer–because your words and your story matter in the Kingdom.

Head over to www.writingwithgrace.com and secure your spot for class.

There’s only one day left to sign up, so don’t put this off!

I can’t wait to see you there.

[If you know of a friend or family member who might be interested in Writing with Grace, pass it along today and don’t let them miss out on this course. Or, give the class as a gift–and make someone’s Christmas that much richer!]

Writing with Grace Registration is Live Today!

Ann Swindell, author and speaker www.annswindell.com

Photo by Ann White Photography

I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’ll be teaching a six-week writing course this January through February, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve been teaching writing and creative writing on the college level for years, and now I’m teaching this material in a power-packed course online, live, in a webinar format.

 

Writing with Grace, a six week course for writers. www.writingwithgrace.com

I’m also thrilled to have three editors joining this course to talk with students about the publishing world from the inside out. If you want to grow as a writer, if you want to strengthen your writing voice and sharpen your writing ability–this course is for you!

Registration is live now–but only for two weeks! Head over to the Writing with Grace Course website to read all about the six-week schedule, the editors who will be joining us, and details about what you can expect.

I believe in the power of words to transform the world, because Jesus is the Living Word, and we can learn to harness the beauty and strength of words to point others–and our own souls–to Him. If that sounds life-giving to you, join me over at www.writingwithgrace.com!