Christmas Gifts for the Technical Writer

It is that time of year again when you scramble to come up with ideas for meaningful and useful Christmas gifts for the Technical Writer in your life. Here are a few light-hearted suggestions to reinvigorate all those technical writers out there.

  • Coffee: No other beverage fuels the writing process quite the way quality freshly-brewed ground coffee does. Honore de Balzac said, ‘As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered…Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle’.
  • White noise CD: For those days when you are facing an impossible deadline, you work in a noisy open-plan environment, and the office decorators have just arrived. Invaluable!
  • Hard copy of a thesaurus/dictionary: Nowadays most writers use online versions, but there is nothing to beat the tactile pleasure of leafing through pages of etymological definitions. Dictionaries, thesauri, and even style manuals – guaranteed to make the heart of even the most cynical technical writer beat faster.
  • Henry the desktop hoover: Meet Henry the miniature vacuum gadget. He fits in the palm of your hand and will, in a matter of seconds, have your keyboard looking as pristine as the day it came out of the box. There is also a ‘Hetty’ version available, but I quite like the idea of a man doing the hoovering for a change!
What Technical Writer wouldn't want a desktop hoover as one of their Christmas gifts?

Henry the desktop hoover

  • Instruction manual: Remember, as a child when you received Christmas gifts but ended up spending more time playing with the packaging than the actual gift? The grown-up equivalent for a technical writer is the gift that arrives with a complex set of instructions. Hours of fun guaranteed!
  • The perfect pen: Even though laptops are the primary writing tool, many writers have a fascination with the humble pen. They have a particular idea of what constitutes the perfect pen – it has to be the correct weight, grip and tip size. There are a number of manufacturers that will design a bespoke pen which should satisfy even the most demanding of scribes.
  • Bozo the Clown punch bag: When the tools fail, the deadlines are getting on top of you, and you just can’t seem to find the right way to phrase those tricky configuration instructions.
Punch bags are another option of Christmas gifts for the frustrated Technical Writer

Bozo the Clown punch bag

  • Heated socks: All writers have cold feet (and I’m not talking about a fear of writing, but come to think of it, there may be a gadget to solve that too!). Heated socks can make the days when you just can’t leave the desk a lot more tolerable.
  • Poster of the SME of the year: The engineer who reviewed the documentation on time, gave insightful feedback, and inserted a smiley face at the end of their emails. We thank you!
DVDs of their favourite TV shows make for good Christmas gifts for the Technical Writer

The IT Crowd

  • DVD of Enigma or The Da Vinci Code: After a day of deciphering code, it’s good to sit back, put the feet up, and watch someone else trying to crack a WWII cypher or a Fibonacci sequence.

Happy Christmas!

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