Zoetic Holiday Gift Guide, Part 1


Here at Zoetic Press, we’re just like everyone else: we have to buy holiday gifts for our loved ones. And just like everyone else, we aim to help you, our audience, in what can often be a difficult process. As such, we’ll be offering our holiday gift guide throughout the month, and we hope that it will take some pressure off of your already heavy shoulders!

Today’s list was lovingly curated by Lise Quintana:

You wave a hand in the air, and a flight attendant hands you another glass of champagne and a china bowl of warm spiced cashews. Looking out the window, you see the tiny tropical island below get bigger until it fills your field of vision. As your plane comes in for a landing, you can see a handsome, dark-skinned man in a pristine white suit waving and smiling. If you listen closely, you might hear an accented voice shouting “The plane! The plane!”

That’s right. You’re on Fantasy Island, where you have an unlimited amount of money, so the big worries like making rent, health insurance, etc., are already taken care of. Now you’re down to the little things – what would make your writing life a teeny bit better? Money is no object! What would be amazing? Here is my holiday gift list of things that, if you happen to have a rich uncle you’ve never met who suddenly passes away leaving you zillions of dollars, you might buy the writer in your life.

  1. Noise canceling headphones

Whether you suffer from misophonia (where you can’t stand the sound of people chewing) or are just easily distracted and need to buckle down, a good set of noise-canceling headphones is indispensable. Block out everything but your writing soundtrack or your favorite audiobook.

Pro tip: Want to ensure you can’t hear anything you don’t want to? Combine your headphones with high-quality ear plugs and turn up the music.

  1. Smartpen

You’re on the train or bus on your way to work, but you have a fantastic idea for story. Maybe you’re in a meeting and you’re the one who has to take notes for the group. A smartpen allows you to take notes that are automatically translated to .pdf, and if you have Evernote, you can store your .pdfs so you can access them from any device.

Pro tip: Want to be able to finish writing that story on your computer after you’ve started it on the train? Try an online OCR program to convert your .pdfs to Word.

  1. A standing desk

Eight million studies have shown that too much sitting is bad for you. But writing requires a great deal of being in one place, and it’s not always comfortable to stand for six to eight hours at a time. Standing for even a few minutes every hour can improve your circulation, allowing for increased creativity!

Pro tip: Once you’ve mastered the standing desk, take it to the next level with a treadmill desk.

  1. A virtual assistant

You want utter isolation in your island fortress. You want to spend all your time writing, but not doing those pesky submission chores like researching markets and querying agents and publishers. You want someone else to correct the typos and punctuation, send your signed hardcopy contracts back to your agent, and get last year’s scanned receipts to your accountant. A virtual assistant can do all that for you without ever being in the same room!

Pro tip: If you need someone to do real, physical tasks like picking up your dry cleaning or walking your dog, you can hire temp help for those too!

  1. Speech to text software

You’re in the car, but the most amazing story in the world comes to you. And not just the plot — jewel-like sentences, each one a glistening crystal of perfection, line themselves up like Michael Ondaatje via Zora Neale Hurston via Jhumpa Lahiri. But you’re in the car, and if you pull over, you’re going to miss your date/plane/appointment. If you have speech to text software, you can literally dictate your story directly to an editable document, thereby never missing a brilliant turn of phrase, even at 70 miles per hour.

Pro tip: Dictating, like talking on the phone, even on a hands-free set, is distracting and can cause accidents. Take your dictation to the next level by hiring yourself a chauffeur.

Granted, if you had the money to do all these things, you might no longer feel that hungry drive to work on your writing 24/7. But what I hope for every one of you is that someday, you get to find out.