Look, we hate to break it to you, but writing is not easy. Sure, there will be those times when words fly out of your fingertips and you ride that wave of inspiration all the way to the end of the paragraph, scene, chapter, or maybe even manuscript. For the most part though, there are going to be some moments when you feel like you need a whole bar of chocolate—or an elaborate gift basket—just to get you through the next sentence.
Care baskets are a fun little way to treat either yourself or your writer friends. If you know that you’re about to head into a month of drafting hell (NaNoWriMo anyone? There’s a reason we’re posting this article right at the start of November), why not put together something that will make your writing a little more enjoyable when everything inevitably falls to pieces in the murky middle of your manuscript.
So that’s what we did. Since both of us will be pushing for deadlines in the coming weeks, there won’t be time to spend a whole evening on the couch, watching ten episodes of Jane the Virgin together under the guise of self-care. Instead, we made each other little packages as a reminder to take care of ourselves and that, although our drafts may be muddled, we believe in each other both as writers and as friends.
In true Toffee & Fudge style, we wanted to invite you along on the journey. So here’s a look at what we got each other…
Carly’s Gift for Sarah
Carly: In the coming weeks, Sarah will be getting closer and closer to finishing up her draft and diving into revisions (YAY). This manuscript has been incredibly challenging, and I’m so proud to see how far she’s come and how much work she’s dedicated to producing a draft she can be proud of. I wanted to get her a few things to remind her to treat herself while she’s putting her characters through the ringer in that final climax. Whether it be with her go-to beverage in a truly awful-but-amazing punny mug, recharging with a book we’ve been talking about for over a year, a tote to carry around her supplies when we go on writing adventures in unexplored cafes, or a pin to remind her there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I wanted to show her how excited I am for the words she’s putting on the page.
Sarah: The moment I first laid eyes on the tote bag in all its punny glory, I couldn’t stop smiling. This care package is so much more than just a collection of things to help me get through revisions. Each item is a product of the little details Carly has observed throughout the years, of the hours we’ve spent plotting and writing (and complaining about writing) together, of the drafts and drafts she’s stood by me for. This care package is a symbol of how much Carly believes in this story and how well she knows me, and there are no words to explain just how inspiring that is.
Sarah’s Gift for Carly
Sarah: Carly is rewriting her manuscript to be dual-POV right now. This is such an exciting change and it’s going to make her story so much deeper, but this not an easy revision. I’m so proud of her for diving in and embracing this change. To encourage her in this, I tried to get her not only things that she likes, but that also tie in with her story and characters. Whether it be gummy worms that throwback to the insects in the freshly dug grave that made up her original opening, or a candle that is as dark as her main character’s soul, each of these items will (hopefully) serve as a reminder of just how amazing her project is and how there is a whole community of people who believe in her as a writer and cannot wait to read her finished words.
Carly: Summing up my emotion in words is incredibly difficult. Each piece of this box is so personal, so deeply tied to not only my current spot in this difficult writing journey with this manuscript, but also a testament to the many drafts Sarah has seen before it, the hours we have spent struggling through our projects, and even our journey from being critique partners to roomies. There’s something truly wonderful about someone who believes in me and my story, sometimes more than I believe in myself, giving me a little box to remind me to keep going.
But care packages don’t need to be this elaborate. They can be a note you write to your friend or an envelope you tuck away for yourself when you really need some positive words. The idea is just to give yourself something that will help you get through the difficult time. Something that will ground you, help you dig in your heels and say “I can do this.” So the next time you’re heading into a first draft, a new round of revisions, or about to dig deep with your manuscript, try putting together something for yourself or maybe even something for a friend to show them some love and support. This might be the missing piece that helps you break through writers’ block when you most need it.
Have you ever put together a care package for yourself or a friend? Share your experience with us in the comments or reach out on social media! And maybe Sarah will even share the story about the one time her mentor sent her a stuffed goat in the post…