It’s the most wonderful time of the year…..
We’ve all seen them, those lists of writer gift ideas with suggestions like literary jewelry or a writing themed coffee mug. While I’m as big a fan of writer-themed presents as anyone, there are only so many fun coffee mugs a writer can store in her cabinet.
Therefore, I polled a few writer friends and came up with my own list. Below are some suggestions for holiday gifts, with nary a coffee mug in sight.
Notebooks and journals: Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Writes love notebooks. Big notebooks, small notebooks, notebooks with cool book theme covers. Before you start thinking this is a dull gift, remember two things: 1. You can never have enough notebooks and 2. A good notebook isn’t cheap. Personally, I’m fond of spiral-bound notebooks, but I know writers who swear by bullet journals and others who swear by Moleskin. Pair a
notebook with a package of pencils or pens, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
Planners: A working writer has a lot of information to track. Why not help them by buying a quality desk planner? I gave my bestie a planner for her birthday last year and she loved it so much she asked for the same planner again this year. Barnes & Noble has a terrific selection of planners as does . When choosing a planner, make sure you find one that has ample room to write dates and to-do lists.
Pens: If they’re a true pen nut, a fancy, high quality pen will really make their day.
Office Supply Store Gift Cards: Not sure which of the above will fit the bill? Then, wrap up a gift card to their favorite local office supply or paper store. Trust me, it will be used with enthusiasm.
Something Soft to Keep them Warm: You can’t court the muse if you’re not comfortable. For writers, that means staying warm. Whether the chill is from a dank winter day or from an overactive air conditioner, a shawl or an oversized cardigan sweater is just the ticket.
Fingerless Gloves: When I put this on this list, Lt Tattoo asked me if I was trying to bring the 80s back. However, have you ever spent a long time working in a coffee shop or drafty office? If so, then you know how difficult it is to write when your hands are cold. Unfortunately, it’s even harder to write in gloves. Behold, the fingerless gloves! I will confess, I have wanted a pair for years, only to find them sold out by the time I get my act together. They come in all designs, including knit, ergonomic and literary-themed. (Hint for Capt. Pete, I’m a fan of the ergonomic.)
Coffee or Tea: We may have enough coffee mugs, we can always use drinks to put in them. The easy way out, of course, is a gift certificate to Starbucks or another coffee shop. Easy isn’t necessarily bad. Who doesn’t like free coffee? But, why not think outside the box a little. Consider a coffee or tea subscription so your writer never runs out of fuel. If you wanted to be extra writer-oriented, look for a literary-inspired coffee or tea.
Noise-cancelling headphones: One of the lessons we learned from the pandemic is that working from home comes with a lot of distractions. Especially if you have kids or a spouse working from home as well. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones will let your writer tune out the chatter and focus on the work at hand. I love mine, especially on those days when my husband has wall to wall teleconferences. If you hate the over-the-ear kind, you can go for earbuds. The good news is that they’re no longer outrageously expensive.
Lumbar Support: Yeah, I’m still talking about office comfort. In this case, sitting in a chair or on a couch for hours on end can make a writer stiff and sore. Show them you care about their aches and pains by buying some Epsom salts an ergonomic chair for their office, or a back-supporting pillow. Granted, a back cushion isn’t the sexiest of gifts, but take it from someone who is paying the price after years of slouching, it’s something they’ll come to appreciate. (PS: Some of us will take the Epsom salts too.)
Writing Books: What do writers like as much as writing books? Books about writing books. There are some fantastic guides to better writing out there. On Writing by Steven King is always a favorite. I’ve got three newer titles to add to your list based on my recommended reads. For the experienced author on your list, try What About the Baby by Alice McDermott, while the writers who are still learning their craft (and aren’t we all?), there’s Writing Compelling Fiction by Shirley Jump and Susan Meier’s Crack the Code.
Bookstore Gift Cards: Writers are voracious readers. Help fund their habit with a gift card to Barnes & Noble or their favorite independent bookstore. Chances are they’ve already got three or four titles already picked out. If you must, you can always give them an Amazon card (but as a loyal Barnes & Noble employee, please think B&N or indie stores first.)
Finally, the absolute best gift you can give the writer in your life is time and support. Writing a book is hard. Building a writing career is even harder, especially if you’re balancing family and other work obligations. Most writers simply want to know you care about their dreams and want them to succeed.
Support doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. You don’t need to spring for an expensive writer’s retreat or help plot their books. Support can be as easy as doing the bedtime routine so your writer can write at night or bringing them a cup of something warm while they’re at the keyboard. Little gestures go a long way. (Although a weekend writer’s retreat is always welcome.)
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