The conundrum of writing as a gift

Update: Special thanks to my mouse for bouncing around and giving me some interesting typos in the title/URL. Wheatley needs to stop being so damned uncooperative.

Better known as “the post that almost didn’t happen tonight because I’m feeling lazy, but I’m now trapped on the couch by two snoozing kittens and felt some weird sense of obligation”. Much too long of a title, really, so I went with my alternate choice.

I mentioned in last night’s post I’m making something I’m pretty sure is really awesome for two really great people who are now engaged. It was an idea I had actually plotted specifically for them, though it’s one that can be modified relatively easily and so on. The real conundrum, however, and probably something relating directly to my tendency to second-guess myself is as follows: is giving the gift of a written work, refined and dolled up especially well for the occasion, a really thoughtful gift or just a selfish flaunting of the author’s writing? I’m having trouble with words already, so this can only go downhill from here.

On one hand, when I write for people it’s like I’m giving the recipient a piece of my soul (joke’s on those people, as I obviously don’t have a soul). I use tremendous amounts of care in every aspect of the creative process, tailoring my work specifically for the person who will be getting it as a gift. I’d say it’s a very intimate, personal experience, but I honestly can’t think of a way to make writing a story for someone sound creepier than calling it anything involving the word intimate. I promise that’s the last time I’ll use that word in this post. Probably.

However, I can’t help but wonder if people who receive such gifts consider them as some sort of crappy writing exercise? A thoughtless, lazy throw-away instead of a purchased bauble. Something of that nature. I realize that, in most cases at least, people probably don’t think that way and it’s all in my head.

Fellow writers, how do you all feel about giving writing (short stories, essays, etc.) as a gift? Do you folks worry about what the people you’re gifting your writing to think of it?

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