Monday, November 29, 2010

Great writer gifts day 1: The love mug

I’m feeling festive this week. It's possible I'm confusing “festive” and “revoltingly stuffed with turkey and mashed potatoes,” but why split hairs? I want to spread some holiday cheer.

Each day this week, I’ll share a gift idea for the writer in your life. If the writer in your life happens to be you, score! You may get a few items to add to your holiday wish list. Otherwise, consider being generous with a critique partner or other writing pal.

Let’s get started.

I never sit down at my writing desk without a beverage of some sort. Surprisingly, the beverage is not always served in Riedel stemware. I’m a bit of a tea fiend, and spend the early part of each day sipping anything from Oolong to Earl Grey.

This is my favorite everyday mug:
Nothing fancy, but perfectly functional. I bought it for myself at the Dollar Store a few years ago, and though I love it for its size and shape, it doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy and loved.

The mug that makes me feel warm and fuzzy and loved is this one:
Critique partner Linda Brundage bought it for me shortly after we both began chasing the elusive publication dragon. This was before either of us had an agent or a book deal or really much chance of publishing the drivel we churned out back then.

In case you can’t read it, the mug says, “Choose an author as you would a friend.” – Wentworth Dillon.

I love the sentiment behind both the quote and the gift. No matter what kind of writing obstacles I encounter—from rejection to brain-block to a cat on my keyboard—the mug is a reminder that I’m not alone in this.

I don’t use it every day. It’s partly that I don’t want to break it, and partly that I like to save it for days when I need a little pick-me-up in my routine.

You can find plenty of author-themed mugs right here at, but spending a lot of money on a mug with a clever saying isn’t a requirement. A regular Dollar Store mug can be a writer’s favorite treasure when gifted in a spirit of love and camaraderie.

Do you have a favorite writing mug? Has a critique partner ever given you a present you adore? Please share. My kettle is boiling. Hey, that’s an excellent euphemism. See how well the mug works?


Shain Brown said...

I surely do, I think without my mug the words would lock up like a constipated wordsmith. Though, my mug is less about aesthetics and more about fit, form, and function. I love the way it feels when I hold it(You know what I mean).
I cant wait to see what you come up with this week. I hope you keep it open to both the girl and boy writers. By the way I love the mugs.

lora96 said...

Not a coffee or tea drinker but I do have a tin Old Navy mug with a happy tobogganned penguin on it that holds my pens. Nothing too inspirational but it makes me smile.

Sarah W said...

Since I broke my "She Who Must be Obeyed" teacup (gravity apparently can't read), my new go-to mug has depicted a shark about to "CHOMP" on a tiny swimmer shaped like Vordak the Incomprehensible. The other side says, "Vordak tastes good, like a nemesis should!"

There's a story behind it (literally), but what's important is that the size and shape fit my hands perfectly on cold days.

Linda G. said...

Love your mugs. (Wait. Does that sound dirty?)

One of my CPs (the lovely Susan Adrian) gave me a T-shirt that says "Kickass Writer Chicks: Careful or you'll end up in my novel." (Yes, it IS the one I'm wearing in the infamous cigar picture.) I love that shirt. :)

Anne Gallagher said...

I have a pink cow on mine with blue grass and yellow birds. It holds the perfect cup of tea. It's not funny but it is cute.

Lauren K said...

I'm notorious for breaking things so I'm afraid to use any of my favorite mugs. Instead I use cheap boring mugs and my favorites are safely put away where they can't be broken. Not much point in having those mugs if I don't use them, but at least they're safe.

Summer Frey said...

I have 2. The first is a hand-crafted pottery mug, and it's the perfect size for my morning cuppa whatever (usually peppermint tea). The other mug is a 32 oz beast that says "If you see this mug empty/Fill it up!". I use that one for my serious writing stretches, and it's awesome.

CKHB said...

But where are the photos of this year's SOCKS?!???

Catherine Stine said...

Hi, cute post! My favorite literary mug is one I bought in Cambridge (up in Boston) at a bookstore. It says: "Hot and Literate"
Love, love, love it!
I will have to check out the ones at Cafepress!
Cheers, Catherine

Danica Avet said...

I'm not much of a hot drink...drinker. But I do have a New Orleans Saints mug I love to death. It's from 2000 when we won the NFC West Championship...I think it might've held a hurricane or beer at the game, can't really remember (big surprise).

I'm definitely going to have to get some gift ideas for my fabu critique partners so I'm taking notes!

Jamie Grey said...

I love that second mug! I'm a tea fiend myself, so I always have a cup of something sitting next to me. I have to admit I don't really have a special mug - I go through too many breaking them! LOL.

But - I think I need to get a cool one from cafe press for my crit partner! Thanks for the idea!

Laura Maylene said...

I have a few colorful, cheerful mugs that I like to use when reading or writing. The brightest and most colorful came from England back when I studied abroad in college. It has a few super fine cracks on the inside, but is holding up and I treasure it. I hope it lasts forever.

Last year, a writing friend gave me a small lined journal. I wouldn't have thought to buy that particular size, but I soon discovered that the smaller size encouraged me to carry it around and write in it. I love it! So now I only buy that size.

My best writing-related gift, in fact, was another one of those small journals. This past July, while we were at the Oregon Country Fair, my husband bought me a beautiful hand-made journal from one of the fair vendors. Only days before, I'd gotten the call that my short story collection would be published, so this was his congratulatory gift. I love it, and it obviously makes me happy every time I look at it.

Thanks for making me feel warm and fuzzy on a post-holiday Monday morning. :)

Lola Sharp said...

Y'all are worrying me with all this mug breaking. (I've not yet broken a mug)
I'm a coffee drinker, thus the bigger the mug the better the mug. My favorite is a handmade ginormous mug my husband bought for me when we were last visiting Nantucket. It sports a whale and quotes from Moby Dick.

(I bought him a T-shirt that says: "I AM the man from Nantucket". I'm classy like that.)

Happy Holidays,

Génette Wood said...

Mugs. Tee-hee.


I definitely want a special writer mug, but I don't see getting one of those. Whenever someone asks me what I want for Christmas, it generally comes out as, "Um..." Maybe I should write it down this year.

And I don't know why, but for some reason I just saw the handcuffs in your picture.

Harley May said...

Personally I'm a big fan of B. Freret Paraphernalia.

Unknown said...

Here I was thinking I might be closer to the beginning of the comment list by getting up earlier ... LOL!!!

Oh well, I'm not really a mug person ... I can't have hot chocolate or tea for health reasons. Caffine makes my heart jump to 288 beats per minute ...

I usually prefer to give people crocheted items I'd made. I'm currently working on an afgan for my mom, I'm just reaching the halfway point :D

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh. Now I'm going to be embarrassed if any of your favorites show up on the "Bad Gifts" list from my own "How to Shop for Your Neurotic Writer" Black Friday post. Hope I didn't just get myself in trouble...I'll be checking back all week to see!

Elisabeth Black said...

Oh, some of those mugs are awesome!

I use the same mug every morning. It says "Happiness Is Love".

Joules Evans said...

Does a wine glass count? Really any wine glass, but I do have a special one I bought on a little excursion while at a writer's conference in Santa Cruz earlier this year. My hub bought me a bottle of Verite La Muse to pour in it and I got a pretty good chapter out of that, so I'd like another bottle of the muse, but I think he said it was a hundred bucks so I expect he was expecting a few more chapters out of it. Anyway, that was a really cool gift this writer dug.

I do also have a cool coffee mug for when I need a perk, not to mention, to maintain balance, between the stimulants and depressants. The mug says "Write here. Write now." And I have a t-shirt that says "You're an awesome writer. Now go back to work" backwards, so I have to go read it in the mirror on breaks, when I am trying to make sure no cup ever gets below half full. (I believe my fam bought both items from cafe press, btw.)

ExMagistra said...

My absolute favorite gift last year was a Kermit the Frog mug from my husband. And it really has nothing to do with the fact that it's a Kermit mug. I love it because it's sturdy and large and all mine.

Also, an assortment of teas would be a nice gift to go along with a special writer's mug.

Wine works as well.

Daisy Harris said...

At some point earlier this year, I considered just getting a fleshlight for everyone on my list. But now I'm rethinking that choice. ;-)

Anonymous said...

That's a great mug!

I tend to give writer friends paper notebooks and sketchpads- it inspires them to jot down any ideas whenever and wherever.


Shain, dammit, your request for gender neutral gifts has spoiled my plan to tell authors to ask for pink petticoats this holiday season.

lora96, do you drink water or wine then? How is it possible to WRITE without a beverage?!

Sarah, that sounds like a story I want to hear!

Linda G, you and I will have to get together and wear our writer shirts. You've seen mine about the writing and the wine, right?

Anne, that actually does sound kind of funny. I'd like to see that mug.

Lauren, do you frequently break mugs?

Summer, does your beverage get cold in the 32-ouncer? I have one really large mug, and that's the problem I always have with it.

CKHB, would you believe I only bought three pairs of socks this year and one isn't even for me? Sad.

Catherine, that sounds like a mug I'd like to own!

Danica, geez, now I'm feeling the pressure!

Jamie, I adore the second mug, too, though I've gotta admit the handle is a little tough to hold.

Laura, awww...don't you love those sweet gifts from loved ones celebrating your achievements? They're my favorite.

Lola, I'd love to buy that shirt for Pythag!

LadyGenette, yeah, people often miss both the handcuffs and, other item in my header. It's probably for the best!

Harley May, ha! Too funny.

Matthew, can you have herbal tea without caffeine?

cubbageg, LOL, I missed your post, but I'm happy to report there's only one item that MAY make it in this week's lineup. We'll see :)

Elisabeth, aw, that sounds like a mug that would make me smile every morning.

Joules, yep, I've got special wine glasses that I bring out later in the day :)

ExMagistra, I thought about suggesting the teas, but didn't want to leave out all the coffee drinkers.

Daisy, you know, I had to look up "fleshlight." I'm glad I wasn't at work.

eeleenlee, that's an excellent idea!

Thanks for reading, guys!

AiringMyLaundry said...

I like your mug.

I don't really have a writing mug. It's more like a writing...well, I'm not exactly sure what to call it. It's the water holder I got when I had my daughter in the hospital 3 years ago.

Clever Betty said...

I put the hint in for a mug for xmas. It's not cheap, though and I'm not sure any one will listen. They generally complain that they don't know what to get me, but then don't listne when I make suggestions.
I'm in love with the lady godiva mug from godiva chocolates. I think its just beautiful.

Shalet Jimmy said...

I have a mug and it's green. I love it. Sometimes we do attach a lot of importance to such things for no reason.But it feels great to love or like something for no reason.

Unknown said...

A friend who does cheramic has given me two mugs - one with three ladybugs (in 3D) crawling on the bottom, the other with a (3D) dragon hanging off the edge opposite the ear. I love them to death, and berate myself everytime I have forgotten to wash them so I have to take an ordinary mug instead.

Candyland said...

I love the author mug! I need to get one. I only have one-ONE-mug. When it breaks, I'll have to sip from my cupped hands.

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