Kids, don't be fooled when you see Facebook or Google on the screen. Your Mum really is writing a novel.
So here, selfishly, is a wish list for all members of My Mum is Writing a Novel Anonymous (or MyMumWanna, for short). It can of course also be used by members of My Dad/Wife/Husband/Aunt/Uncle/Grandpa/Grandma/Dog is Writing a Novel.
Members of My Mum Is Writing A Novel Anonymous taking a break from complaining that there is no dinner on the table.
And it is perfectly decent to forward this list to your other parent ... or relatives with big fat wallets (like Grandpa).
1 You might have noticed your mum hovering around you whenever you're on Sims2 or World of Warcraft. That's probably because she's desperate to use the computer.
Mums Who Write Novels NEED THEIR OWN LAPTOPS. If your Mum Who's Writing a Novel is still using the family PC or using Dad's old laptop from work running Windows 95 - then you should be ASHAMED of yourself!
To help your clever little mind focus, I heartily recommend the one I got myself this year after one of the children sat on my extremely expensive super slim Sony Vaio - the Asus EeePC 1005HA Seashell..
It's crap at making coffee though.
Why do I recommend it? Geekophobics look away now.
It's 10.1 inches. Its battery lasts for TEN hours (that's what they claim - mine lasts for eight with the wi-fi off. Still not bad)- excellent for typing up chapters in Caffe Nero while waiting for school to finish, or typing in the car while waiting outside ballet. I am a speedy typist and the keys, unlike other laptops, are slightly separate from each other. It fits in my handbag. It's only £250plus quid (less than that set of golf clubs).
And it isn't one of those sexy slim ones that are prone to getting broken in two by 10-year-old bottoms.
2 So does your Mum Who is Writing That Novel have a website yet? Could it be because she didn't have the technical know-how to set it up herself? Has it OCCURRED to you to HELP HER SET IT UP using all the free websites out there Wordpress and Blogger for blogs and Jimdo, Weebly, Squarespace for websites? Think how embarrassing it must be when she meets other writers.
"Do you have a website?"For SHAME!
"But you've got a teenager!"
I mean, it's not like you've got better things to do, like save the world.
3 And while you're at it, register a DOMAIN for her website! Now that's a Christmas present that will make her grateful FOREVER (it costs less than a tenner too, if it's a co.uk)
In the olden days, only one or two women had their own domain. Virginia Woolf wrote, "A woman must have ... a room of her own if she is going to write" ... but that was before publishing became big business and authors had to learn to promote themselves!4 So maybe your Mum Who Is Writing That Book already has a laptop, already has a website and blogs as well. What do you give the Writing Mum Who's Doing It All?
Get her a mini camcorder! I got a Flip Mino last Christmas (but you should get the HD version) and it's so easy to use, it plugs into the laptop via a USB connection, and has great sound.
As long as you make sure she gets to use it once in a while.
Fantastic for quick little videos to put on the blog, keeping a child amused while you're trying to compose that last line in the chapter, or recording sound.
Aside: it's not really designed for recording sound but I use it to record sound then convert it into MP3 because I haven't got an audio interface (Or royalty free music. Just saying). Didn't include them in the list because a bit beyond geeky for this subject. Ah well. Hint. Hint.
5 BOOKS are of course the obvious gift to a Mum Who Keeps Writing. But because life has been a little bit hard this year for the book industry (and obviously your Mum WANTS to support the book industry) it would be a REALLY THOUGHTFUL THING if you actually went out and bought the books in A PLACE WITH A SHOP WINDOW!
Get your electronic goods from Amazon by all means, but books? Buy them in a shop! And get one of those free bookmarks with the shop's logo on it, stick it in the book, and scribble - "I didn't just order this online, Mum!"
Can bookshops do no Wong?
(Thanks, Kathy for the link)
Added later: It just occurred to me that readers might want to add their own items to this list. Like writing kit. Or books you would love to see under the tree instead of that four inch thick coffee table book about Michael Palin traveling around the world again. Or three book deals.