Monday, December 14, 2015

The Santa Approved 2015 Ultimate Writer’s Gift Guide by Jim Hill (really)

Dear Santa,

I need a blog topic. Help.


Jim Hill

Dear Jim Hill (if that’s your real name),

Are you kidding me? Eleven days until Christmas. Four days until Episode VII opens. How do you expect me to come up with your blog topic? I’m up to my jingle bells in elfs cosplaying jawas and ewoks. 

C’mon, man.


Dear Santa,

Well, to be honest, I have a topic, the 2015 Ultimate Writer’s Gift Guide, but need some gift ideas. And let’s face it, when it comes to gifts, you’re the man.


p.s. Jim Hill really is my name. Aren’t you omniscient?


Sucking up will put you solidly on the naughty list.

And, no, I’m not omniscient. I know when you’ve been naughty, and when you’ve been nice. I see you when you’re sleeping, and I know when you’re awake. Nowhere in there does it say anything about remembering names. Why do you think I keep a list? I call my wife Mrs. Claus, for crying out loud. She thinks it’s cute. It's desperation. Sheila? Minerva? Mulva?


Dear Santa,

That wasn’t sucking up. It was a statement of fact. Would you rather I turned to some sketchy internet list or go big with the ultimate authority?


p.s. Am I sleeping enough?


Just because the Paris Agreement won’t let me hand out coal anymore doesn’t mean I don’t have a whole sack full of gluten free cookies with your name on them. Not even the reindeer will eat them. Not since that whole “vomit-Comet” incident. #SorryToledo


p.s. No. Clearly not.
p.p.s. You can do this. Santa believes in you, too.

Dear Jolly Old Elf,

I think I’ve got it. I asked my friend, Mary Cronin, for help. While bantering about literary-themed presents she said, 

“It sounds like such common advice, but ‘write to the end’ has helped me tremendously in terms of focus and productivity. In the past five years, I've been focusing solely on middle-grade fiction, and when I'm writing, I don't stop mid-draft to return to the beginning. It's tempting to do that-- to tinker, polish the beginning, and make it shine. But if I did that, I would never get to say, ‘I'm finished with my draft!’ I keep notes about what I will go back and address in the next draft, but I keep trudging on like Brave Irene in William Steig's iconic picture book. Following this simple advice has boosted my productivity and helped me to deepen my writing.”

Good advice, right? And that led to my gift-giving-aha-moment!

Whereas chocolate, coffee, and t-shirts are all great all a writer really needs is a stack of yellow writing pads and a big box of pens. BOOM. Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan! 


Dear Jim,

You’re back on the nice list. Now let me finish this Jedi Workout. Mrs. Claus (Dolores, BTW), told me if I want to wear Jedi robes on opening day I’d better have a six-pack like Yoda.

I blame Fashion Santa. And my love of cookies. 

Happy Holidays! 



  1. Amen. We writers need our tools. But Amazon gift cards or a nice DVD can work too. Just carefully drop hints or ask crafty questions to determine which writer is in need of writing tools and who already has them in bulk. I am looking at you Home Depot addicts.

  2. This made me ho-ho-ho all the way through. A delicious delight, full of interesting tid-bits. (Dolores? Really? I prefer Mulva.)

  3. Episode VII - Yessssss!!!!
    Oh, Michael, this is a HOOT! And I love Mary's advice to "write to the end." This was the only way I finished my first novel when I gave myself permission to do this and write a messy first draft and stop tinkering with the manuscript.
    (um, rattles off to splat together a blog topic for here by tomorrow!)

    1. My blog post MAY be total nonsense as I can't even keep names straight - JIM HILL! (you and Michael are so awesome, see I got you confused...or maybe as I saw Michael's name above this comment!)

    2. Thanks for the shout-out, Donna. Although I think I'm quite hooty, Jim Hill is definitely hootier than me.

    3. You are very hooty too, Michael, and I LOVE hooty! :)

    4. Hahaha. I think we're hoots all around, Donna! Glad you liked it.

  4. Love this post!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!