"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Using YouTube For Greater Author Visibility

YouTube can be a wonderful place for authors to connect to their readers or find
their audience, to have a presence, build their platform, and promote their brands. You can essentially do anything on YouTube, as long as it’s within YouTube’s standards and policy, of course. If you haven’t created a channel yet because you’re not sure what kind of videos to post, or you have but need ideas, check out my guest post on Literary Rambles:
10 Things You Can Do on Your Author YouTube Channel
After you have content ideas and have created videos that are ready to publish, there are a few things you can do as an author to encourage more views from

1. Authorly/Book Tags
When you’re uploading a new video, you can enter a bunch of tags (keywords and phrases) to describe your video that’ll help it to appear in search results.
Consider these authorly/book tags:
- Authortube
- Booktube
- Bibliophile
- Booklover
- Bookgeek
- Bookworm
- Booknerd
- For Authors
- For Writers
- Book Reading
- Author Reading
- Book Marketing
- Publishing
- Editing
- Amreading
- Writing Tips
- Amwriting
- Writers
- Authors
- Readers
Also add your name/pen name, book’s title, series’ title, publisher’s name, and your book’s genre/categories.
If you do how-to videos tailored toward writers, use phrases to describe the content as tags with the words “how to:”
- how to market a book
- how to publish
- how to write…
- how to create an author newsletter
- how to ANYTHING
Fill up the tag box with any and all keywords and phrases you can to increase your video’s visibility.

2. Create Playlists
As you add new videos, create playlists for them, especially if you plan to upload a series of videos with the same subject matter. For example, if you do a video recording of a book and also have other videos discussing that book in-depth, you can add them all to a playlist titled after your book. You can do the same for videos about the books in a series.
If you venture over to my
YouTube channel, you’ll find a playlist titled Disaster Crimes Series, featuring videos for my books Hurricane Crimes, Seismic Crimes, Tsunami Crimes, and Flaming Crimes. You’ll also find playlists for single titles like Ghost of Death and 30 Seconds.
That way, if readers come to your YouTube channel to see one video about your book or series, they can find other videos easily.

3. Use Your YouTube URL on Goodreads
Once your video is up and you share the link to it everywhere, go to your video and copy the full URL, then head on over to your Goodreads author profile. On the side bar, beneath your friends, is a section for videos. Click “add a video.” A new page will pop up where you can insert your video’s URL, a title, a description, keywords (like the ones mentioned in #1), and select a video type (reading, speech, other) and one of your book titles. Once you hit “save,” that video will not only be visible on your Goodreads author profile but also on that book’s Goodreads page, so whenever a reader is visiting your book’s page to find out more about it or to leave a review, they could come across your video(s), too. After all, these videos are for your readers—those established, new, or waiting to be found.
For more tips on Goodreads check out:
 Three Things You’re Probably Not Doing on Goodreads but Should
 Three More Things to do on Goodreads
With anything you do, especially in terms of marketing, you should have fun with it. I truly enjoy recording my YouTube videos. Posting and sharing them isn’t a chore to me, either, although I still have to write a reminder for me to do it. In one afternoon, I can record three to five videos! (One of my tricks is to put on a jacket or some sort of cover over my shirt after a couple of videos to make it appear as though I didn’t do them all in one sitting.)

So, I want you to enjoy it, too. If it ends up not being for you, that’s okay. Those videos will still come in handy for readers who go searching. You could even post your videos to your website without YouTube, although you won’t be able to do the things mentioned above. However, you could still upload them to your Amazon author profile for readers to discover. This is always a smart and strategic practice.

Do you use YouTube? Will you in 2019?
If you do currently, what are your YouTube tips for authors?

BIO: Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book! From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. Fey is an editor for Dancing Lemur Press and runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Goodreads book club. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips.

Image credit: Pixabay.com


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

How to Evaluate Guest Blogging Opportunities in 2019

If you're looking to elevate your writer's platform, establish your expertise, and build supportive alliances, guest blogging is an effective strategy to consider.
In fact, according to Leo Babauta, creator of the hugely successful blog, Zen Habits, “Guest posting is by far the best way to grow an audience.”
Over the years, guest blogging has allowed me to present my work before thousands of new readers; garner paying clients; and promote my business without the associated expense of marketing.
And you can too.
But, in order for guest blogging to “advance your swagger“ and take you to new levels, you should know what to expect and how to align your blogging goals accordingly.

So many blogs so little time...


With the abundance of blogs that accept guest posts, the challenge exists in knowing where and how to concentrate your efforts for optimal results.
I've got you covered.
Today's post will take the guess work out of guest posting, simplify the process, and help you to "work smarter, not harder."

All blogs are not created equally...


A preliminary Google search will reveal hundreds of blogs that accept guest posts in various niches and industries. That doesn't mean you should blindly target each of them.
Here's a case in point. Though I have had the good fortune to blog at many of the "top dog" sites including: Men With Pens, Pro Blogger, Tiny Buddha, Kikolani and Lifehack (and enjoyed it immensely) my post at Pro Blogger back in 2011 was the bomb!
It yielded 69 comments, hundreds of Tweets, and offers of business from 3 new clients within 72 hours. It gets even better.  About four years after that, an executive who read the archives subsequently hired me for a ghostwriting gig that was pretty lucrative.
It works if you work it!

Here are some important things to consider:



Your goals will dictate your game plan. Think strategy.

  • The reputation of the site (Google Page Rank, "Top Blog Designation," etc.)
  • Are you seeking to be paid?
  • Can you include a generous Bio?
  • Promote your products?
  • The size of social media followers
  • The level of interaction with readers

Additional recommendations for success:

  • Do your homework. Read the "Guest post guidelines" and adhere to them.
  • Strive to be original; it will give you a more competitive edge.
  • Think quality, not quantity. It's better to be published at six authority sites than 20 blogs that are barely known or not highly regarded.
  • Check the archives to prevent duplication in topics.
  • Have a Bio on hand that puts you in the most positive light (and an attractive headshot).
  • Always be respectful in your interaction. A guest post is an opportunity not an entitlement.
  • Proceed with caution: some blogs actually "charge" to have your work appear on their sites. In a "Ripley's-Believe-it-or not-moment," I discovered this recently. Of course, they did not have this disclosed in their initial guidelines. Upon learning this, I withdrew my submission.

To enhance your experience and get you off to a good start, here's a list of sites that accept guest posts in 2019:
Considering a guest post?  Pen & Prosper would love to review your work.
Here are the guidelines:
Your turn.
Thoughts? Questions? Do you guest blog?
How was the experience?  Would you pay to guest post somewhere?
Image credits: Pixabay.com

Monday, January 7, 2019

Please Don't do This! Tips to Better Living in 2019


It's a new year, my dears. And I am glad and grateful to greet it with you here.
A new year is symbolic: it represents a clean slate, a blank canvas, unchartered territories, fresh clay.
It's an opportunity to learn from the past and plan for the future.

What do you envision for 2019? Better health?  A more prosperous career?
Whatever you desire requires a good game plan, strategic thinking, discipline and abandoning a few bad habits.

This quote by Maria Robinson sums things up appropriately: "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." 

Accordingly, today's post will address various practices and principles that could potentially sabotage your success and compromise your overall quality of life, if not corrected. Small things that are often overlooked.

So, if you're on board, let's get busy building better tomorrows...

** The other day, I attended a funeral with absolutely no intentions of "winning friends and influencing people." After all, there's a proper place and time for everything. Right?
However, in introducing me, a friend shared with other visitors that I was a professional writer.
Excited, one guy gave me his business card to get in touch. He seemed nice enough. I didn't want to talk "shop" then. So, I thanked him and accepted his card.
Once I got home and pulled the card out my purse, all bets were off.

He (like so many others) handed me a card that I simply couldn't make out. The text was on a black background, the print was very small and the font type was some sort of fancy calligraphy.
We both missed out on what could have been an important connection.
Perhaps you've done the same or witnessed something similar?


First impressions are important. And believe it or not, business cards are part of your "brand" and the image you convey to others. Don't underestimate their value. Make them count.

Opt for a good stock of paper, a light background, a simple and legible font that's not difficult to read.
Whenever possible, request a proof from your printer and have someone else to weigh in on your decision before having them produced. 
And while we're on the subject... please stop passing out cards with old info scratched out with a pen.
(Unless it's an absolute emergency).
If you're in the market for professional cards that are inexpensive, I recommend VistaPrint.

** 2019 marks my 10 year anniversary in the blogoshpere. Yay!  In the unfolding years, I have published over 752 posts and have learned many things along the way through trial and error.
Here's a crucial lesson to help you become a "quick study" in blogging this year.

Don't guess your way to success! Stop operating in a "blog fog." Trust me, a blog that is not achieving your goals is much harder to maintain and be motivated by.
Year after year I read blogs that have no regular comments or visible growth. Don't let this be you.
(It is estimated that 95% of blogs started are abandoned).  Never let your ego get in the way of your excellence.

Study popular blogs in your niche. Review your analytics. Invest in information products that can help you to "work smarter, not harder." May I recommend my popular Ebook "The Success Checklist?"
For less than the price of a cup of StarBucks coffee, you'll discover insider's tips for a more competitive edge and less stress.
Learn more here:
I also provide professional Blog Audits for serious bloggers and businesses seeking to build their readership and bottom line. Interested? Get in touch @ Gemsjen@yahoo.com.
** We’ve all come across them. Rants that are extremely rude, vindictive, personal, and meaningless to most of us in the reading audience. It’s like watching a train wreck. Don’t get me wrong. I dig a good rant! Especially when it addresses issues that have some common appeal or significance: like coping with a bad boss, a spouse who forgets to put the toilet seat down, politicians and their sometimes ridiculous platforms, rude editors, or poor customer service. But, in my humble opinion, it should have a valid point and be tastefully done.

Don't sound off just to be heard. There's enough "volume" online with no real value.
Besides, it might just come across as a virtual "temper tantrum" to readers.
Resist the urge to devote your blog or social media accounts to settling a score or diminishing others. You're better than that. Whenever possible, use your creative "powers" for good.

Use your "soap box" to garner support for an important social cause or to discuss real issues that matter for your readership, or to provide comic relief. Here’s one I wrote that most writers can relate to.

** In 2018, I witnessed many bloggers bid farewell to their sites. Some were among my favorites. Perhaps you're even on the fence about yours now. I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Blogs are intended to be an INTERACTIVE MEDIUM. It's important to engage with the bloggers you read; leave thoughtful comments; make suggestions; ask questions or just say "hello".
It matters.
And it's such a small price to pay in exchange for their time, creativity, resources, research and tips to help us "know more and grow more."

Don't feel intimidated by leaving a comment. You don't have to have "perfect English" or contribute anything that is really deep or intellectual to be appreciated.

Here are a few alternatives: ask a question, share a solution, recommend a book or product, or simply say "thank you" for the blogger's effort. "Try it, you might like it.":-)

** A few months ago, I decided to install exterior shutters on my home. But, I didn't approach the project strategically. This caused a little frustration, wasted time and money. All that could have been avoided.  Instead of measuring my windows, writing down the dimensions and then going to shop, I assumed I knew the right size. Big mistake.  I had to return to the store for an exchange. When I did, they didn't have my size shutters in the previous color. My project was delayed. Oy vey!
"Measure twice, cut once." This expression, often used in the construction industry, applies to our creative careers as well.

Publish a post without proofing it first. Don't rush or take unnecessary short cuts. Don't assume.

Consider using checklists for important tasks. Always verify and clarify instructions with clients. Pay attention to deatils   details. Remember, better safe than sorry.


** When my brother died unexpectedly (not very long ago),  it changed my way of thinking in significant ways.
Lessons come in many forms. Perhaps now, more than ever before, I realize how limited our time here is. And how important it is to cherish those we care for, and make time for pursuits that really matter.

Never assume you'll have endless opportunities to complete that novelmend a family quarrel return to college, improve your health, find love.

Take baby steps. Start now. Make more value-based decisions for fewer regrets. Recognize that time is a commodity; use it well.

** By my own admission, I spend more time than I should responding to the dictates of others, as opposed to carving out my days in my own way. Honoring requests, meeting deadlines, making a dent in my “to-do” list. As opposed to getting that much needed pedicure or massage, or championing my own personal causes. Sometimes leaving this "Super Woman" super tired.

Don't over-extend or over-commit.  It’s great to have a giving spirit, but self-love requires that we remember to put ourselves first, so that we can be fulfilled. "You can't give from an empty cup."

Indulge in a little T.L.C.
Attend a writer's conference or retreat.
When we are personally gratified and balanced, we can give to others our “best” self.
If you've already mastered this principle, move to the head of the class.

To wrap things up here

Make this your year of yes!
But first take personal inventory. Prioritize. Pray. Persevere.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”---Socrates

Wishing you a year of great success, peace and abundance!

Thoughts? Observations?

Image credits: Pixabay.com

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Seasons Greetings to Each and Every One of You!

As we approach this holiday season and the year comes to a final close, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for your readership, friendship, support, social media shares, faithful follow, comments and suggestions!
Your collective efforts put the "Prosper" in Pen & Pro$per.
Today marks the final post for this blog for 2018.

I hope you'll join me on/around January 10, 2019.
I'm predicting great things for 2019!

Have a safe, beautiful, bountiful holiday season and a Happy New Year.



Image credits: Pixabay.com

Have any exciting plans this year?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

How to Write a Book That Truly Meets Readers' Needs


In the age of information, it might surprise you to realize how much vital information is not accessible to the public. There are many high-dollar professions built around helping normal people with urgent and complex processes that require a special kind of expertise. To get reliable answers to some questions, you might have to pay hundreds of dollars to a consultant or licensed specialist in the area of health, law, or finance. While a book doesn’t completely replace the live, personal advice of hiring a professional, it can liberate sacred information previously kept behind closed doors.

You’ll need to decide the level of magnification and resolution you are going to apply to your topic. An infinite number of books can be written on increasingly refined, yet related, subtopics belonging to the same parent category. You can take the stance that your reader is a total newcomer and only needs a basic overview of concepts (the “Intro to” or “101” approach). You can challenge the established wisdom on a complex but well-known subject by bringing it into an esoteric domain that only a few experts on the planet will even be capable of understanding.

You can also take a common subject but talk about it from a perspective that only applies to a rare and specific kind of person. Plenty of types of people need to understand social media marketing, but not all of them need to improve their Facebook ad conversion rates, and certainly, most of them aren’t involved in the complexities of working for the aerospace industry from home. Your options are only as limited as your imagination and your ability to find enough people to pay for what you write about.

Informational vs. Philosophical Books

Informational books are easy to spot by their titles, which typically denote the focus and resolution of the problems they solve:

The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd by Allan Dib
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding: How to Build a Product or Service into a World-Class Brand by Al and Laura Ries
Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond by Chris Burniske and Jack Tatar
Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Richard Todd and Tracy Kidder

These are the kinds of instructional guides readers will turn to when they know they have holes in their understanding of a subject that matters to them. The information they are missing
likely prevents them from being able to do something they care about as effectively as they would like to. These books take something the reader knows they don’t know enough about and gives them more things to know.QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER...

What issues are you attempting to solve for your readers? Why haven’t they been able to solve those problems until now? What will make your book their best hope for resolution? It will have to do something that no other solution has offered them. The better you understand the nature of the problem, the obstacles to overcoming it, and the approaches other authors offer, the more unique and effective your information will be. That means happier readers, marketing that speaks to the right people, and more sales sustained for the long-term future.

Philosophically oriented books take subjects readers think they understand and increase their awareness of how much they don’t yet know. The more one learns about a subject, the more they see of what else they can learn about it, such as with the examples presented here:
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
The Book of Five Rings: A Classic Text on the Japanese Way of the Sword by Miyamoto Musashi
Destination Earth: A New Philosophy of Travel by a World-Traveler by Nicos Hadjicostis
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
The Scope and Length of Your Book

Determining the ideal length of your book requires you to think about its focus, its resolution, and how it will appear in the eyes of readers once it is published, including the typical page count they have come to expect from other books on your subject. An extremely long book (compared to category conventions) can come across as either intimidating or impressive. An extremely short book can appear reader-friendly or underwhelming. The word count, once formatted according to the author’s preferences for font size and page size (known by publisher’s as the trim size), will roughly determine the total number of pages in a book.

If you are not clear in your goal for your book from the time you start writing, its scope may shift and grow beyond anticipation. Endless rounds of editing and rewriting will ensue as you realize you aren’t covering everything you want to. This is particularly a danger if you believe your book must include every valuable thought you’ve ever had or tell the story of your entire life. Believing your first book is your only shot to communicate what matters to you leads to a desperate state of content overstuffing. The influence of your book will be defined by its limits.

About the Author

Gregory Diehl is the author of the new book, The Influential Author: How and Why to Write, Publish, and Sell Nonfiction Books that Matter. The book takes a unique and in-depth look at all aspects of book planning, writing, editing, and promoting for self-publishers.

Check out The Influential Author on Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2RGTYDE

Learn more about Gregory’s work at: https://identitypublications.com

Thoughts, readers?

Image credits: Pixabay.com


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Emotional Intelligence & Rep Management for Writers

There’s no doubt about it. Although most of us probably couldn’t provide a “textbook” definition of the term “Emotional Intelligence,” we’re typically keenly aware when somebody lacks it.

Think “shock jock“ Howard Stern. Or Roseanne Barr.

Or the successful business executive who publicly berates his restaurant waiter for his wrong order, not recognizing that what he could potentially be "served" once his plate is returned from the back kitchen might be even less appetizing.
Or the writer whose published blog rants come across as immature, irrational and irrelevant to his readership.

Whether we realize it or not, Emotional Intelligence impacts many areas of our work as writers and ultimately our bottom line.
With clients
With editors
With readers
With buyers and customers
Research from Harvard Business School demonstrated that EQ counts for twice as much as IQ and Technical Skills in determining who will be successful!

The English Oxford Living Dictionary Defines it as :
“The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically:
‘emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.”

The term was popularized in 1995 by author and science journalist, Daniel Goldman.

  • Decrease the stress associated with combative, difficult relationships
  • Increase our empathy for others; thereby enhancing our personal and professional relationships and our joy potential
  • Improve our communication and connection skills, to build stronger emotional bonds
  • Allow us to view problems and potential solutions with a wider life’s lens


In former times, those who perhaps lacked Emotional Intelligence were not as easy to spot or categorize; in that their bad manners, offensive language, bullying or racial references were often restricted to kitchen conversations or behind-the-doors settings.

But, with the advent of the Internet and social media, the voices of the emotionally “clueless” have been amplified and human relations potentially threatened. With the click of a button, people can simply exercise their 1st amendment right to offend, incite, slander and misinform exponentially. Sometimes even anonymously.

As writers, we have the opportunity and good fortune to use our voices, skills and platforms to:

  • Educate
  • Enlighten
  • Entertain
  • Illuminate important social issues
  • Build global bonds
  • Teach
  • Spread positive messages
  • Share our faith
  • Influence the masses
  • Heal wounds
  • Offer hope


1. Take the high road; there’s less traffic.
In the words of former 1st lady, Michelle Obama, during the president’s campaign for election: “When they go low, we go high.” Translated? Just because a blog commenter disagrees with you by way of comments; or an editor is rude to you; or a reader gives your book a bad review, doesn’t mean that you have to respond negatively or with anger. It’s only one person’s opinion--right or wrong.
2. Choose your battles wisely.

Doing so allows you to preserve your time, creativity, energy and sense of peace. When possible, take a “chill pill.”

3. Find the funny.

Did you know that laughter has healing properties?
Patch Adams and the medical community have long recognized the benefits of laughter. It can release feel good endorphins; decrease blood pressure; reduce cortisol (a stress hormone); and strengthen the immune system as well. According to Helpguide.org: “With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing your relationships, and supporting both physical and emotional health. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.”
Humor is a great alternative to anger.

4. Count to 10.

Before you react, reflect. Remember that your conversations and comments online can last indefinitely. Consider the impact it could have on future clients, future employers, or potentially your children and family.
In conclusion
Regardless to your writing genre, experience level or niche, using Emotional Intelligence can help convey a professional, polished image that builds smart business relationships, and ultimately your bottom line.

Thoughts? Questions here?

Want to know more about Emotional Intelligence and how to use it to enhance your creative career?

Order my new Ebook to get a good start on 2019!


Image credit (couple): Pixabay.com

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Pen & Prosper's 4th Annual Xmas Holiday Gift Guide!

Greetings, Readers!
I'm delighted to be back, just in time to present Pen & Prosper's Annual Xmas Gift Guide for Writers.
Move over, Oprah. This year I decided to take a different approach. I've surveyed writers around the world to give you a broader reference and more gift-giving options. We'd love to get your suggestions as well in the comments section.  Deal?
The more the merrier!

Here for your review and consideration are recommendations for the best gifts for writers: 

From Colleen M. Story @ Writing & Wellness 



I've made myself a standing option for my desktop computer that consists of
a little booster for the monitor and an adjustable stand for the keyboard.
The two together give me a way to alternate between sitting and standing
during the hours I'm working for clients. (The best wellness sources advise
doing a little of both.) But when I shut the desktop down and retire to the
easy chair to work on my books and blogs, I typically use my laptop
computer. After awhile of sitting my back hurts. I realized I needed a
standing solution for my laptop, too, and I couldn't find anything in the
house that worked very well.
I went searching online and found this cool little desk on Amazon. It was
only about $60 and I had to put it together when it arrived, but it's worked
out perfectly. The castors allow me to roll it around to any location,
though I usually position it near my recliner. Now I have a stand/sit
solution for both of my computers and my back is saved. I'm a happy writer!

From Karen Lange @ Write Now

I suggest giving the writer in your life the gift of extra writing time. Give them a gift card to a local restaurant or take out spot, pizza place (that delivers), or other food delivery service. Or, if you like to cook, share a casserole or other meal that freezes well for them to heat up later. These ideas lend extra time when your writer friends are on a deadline or in another busy stretch.

From Jen @ Pen & Prosper

I spend many hours in front of my keyboard crafting articles, poems, blog posts, coaching clients, etc. which can sometimes cause back strain and discomfort. Homedics Portable Back Massage Cushion is "just what the doctor ordered!" I love it. And I think you will too. A bonus here, in addition to how great it feels, is that it is so versatile: it can be used in the home and the car. It's also very affordable. Read more here:

From Noelle Sterne @ Trust Your Life Now

The "Gift" of TIME. That is, a “certificate” (as decorated as one wishes) for a certain amount of hours “free” from childcare, errands, and other responsibilities so the writer can hole up and write. The giver would take over the responsibilities.

From Evelyn Cogdell @ Green Apple Publications

Books. Most writers love to read, I know I do. Reading other Authors' books teaches us how to be better writers and better story tellers. After all, who doesn't love a great story?
Order through Amazon

Note: I am a contributor to this book. Read my chapter on branding, for tips you won't want to miss!

From Linda O @ Write From the Heart

Fill in the blank books

Some of my favorite writer gifts have been a scented candle, a memory fill in the blank book, a package of colored gel pens, and dark chocolate because people know me. LOL. Gift cards to B&N are always a great fit for everyone, but my fave would have to be a subscription to Writer's Magazine or is it now Writer's Digest?
 One I particularly enjoy and always have with me: a purse-size tablet with a beach scene cover, and I also have one with my glittery initial. Last year I received a small book, 642 Things to Write About, by the San Francisco Grotto, which I use frequently.
One more thought, a critique group member gave us a unique, much appreciated writer's gift: an inexpensive personalized daily planner with positive personal comments, anecdotes and memories about our events over the year, and inspirational quotes or story starters for about ten dates per month, so as not to overwhelm us.

 From Cynthia Clampitt @ World Plate
A Starbucks Gift Card

From Ms. Anonymous

I recommend getting a writer a tape recorder or an I-Pad where the writer's thoughts are spoken and captured for the refined written piece(poem).
Sometimes, at least for me, [my] poetic thoughts come while I am driving or in the wee hours of the morning.



"If you found the gift valuable and feel I could benefit from it, and you explained the gift that way, I say it's nice.
Also, in the interest of saving money as freelancers perhaps on budgets. I'm pretty certain the situation can be related to." ---Steve
"Of course regifting is okay. Goodwill and thrift stores are filled with many still originally-tagged items." ---Linda

 "It's okay if you have no use for a perfectly good gift and know someone who could use it.  But make sure you don't regift to the same person who gave it to you. And most of all...don't ever tell!"
"Regifting is definitely appropriate. Only times one should be cautious is if one is giving it in a situation where the original giver might see it. But seriously, if it’s not something you can use, is letting it just sit on a shelf collecting dust a good option, when it might delight someone else? Of course, this should only be with gifts someone else would actually value. But seriously, if I got something I really loved and could use, why would I care that the person giving it to me had gotten it as a gift and just couldn’t use it.
Of course, this doesn’t apply to anything hideous or unusable or broken — just nice things for which one has no need.
I think this is especially true for those of us who are downsizing now. If someone gives me a beautiful vase, when I already have four and would like to get it down to two, why would giving that new vase to someone else be an issue?" ---Cynthia C.
Emily Post.com states: "Think through each situation carefully, and if you’re still in doubt, don’t do it. Saving on the time or expense of shopping for or making a gift isn’t worth the cost of hurt feeling or a damaged friendship."
Your turn, readers.
Recommendations? What are your views on "regifting"? Do tell.

Image Credits:
Clock, candle, gift card, tape recorder, Xmas bauble