[This post has *nothing* to do with the fact that my birthday is in one month. Nothing at all. Total coincidence.]
If there’s a writer in your life, when gift-giving holidays arrive, you may find yourself scratching your head in bewilderment. What do I get for someone who spends their days hunched over a desk trying desperately to write the Great-American-Something? Advil? Tissues? A therapy appointment? The answer is yes, yes, and yes. But also no. While necessary and appreciated, those gifts are not much fun to unwrap. Instead, give the writer you love something from this list.
10 Best Gifts to Give to Writers
1. Books & The Ability to Buy More Books
Writers, by nature, are also readers, so books are always welcome. If your writer friend is just starting out, consider getting her one of these excellent titles:
- On Writing, by Stephen King
- Bird By Bird, by Anne Lamott
- Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg
- Writing Irresistible KidLit, by Mary Kole
- The current Writer’s Market
But don’t limit your shopping to just books about craft. Give us fiction, give us mystery, give us horror. Many writers enjoy reading across genres, so give us a book you love and we’ll probably love it too. Or, if you don’t know what to choose, a gift card to a book store always works.
2. Magazine Subscriptions
Magazines also make great gifts, especially if you get the right ones. Find out which publications your writer friend reads most and get them a subscription. (My personal favorite is Writers’ Digest.) This is the gift that keeps on giving—every time the new issue arrives in their mailbox, they’ll think of you!
3. The Gift of Belonging
One of the fun parts of being a writer is finding other writers to hang out with and learn from, which is why it’s great that organizations like the Writers’ League of Texas exist. But being a part of the club costs money, as do workshops and conferences. Consider giving the writer in your life a membership to an organization or donate money to help fund an upcoming event.
4. We *Heart* Office Supplies
Some people love shopping for furniture. Others enjoy browsing the aisles at Home Depot. Me? I never pass up a trip to Staples. Folders and binders and push pins and pencils! And Sharpies! Soooooooo many colors of Sharpies! If you want to bring a smile to a writer’s face, give her a gift basket of office supplies. Printer paper, pens, highlighters, Post-It notes, erasers… You can even throw in a rubber band ball or a staple remover. The geekier the better.
5. Tech Support
Not everyone gets as excited about sushi-shaped erasers and giant paper clips as I do. If you’re looking for a more practical gift, consider one of these:
- Voice Recorder – Handy for when great ideas arrive while driving. Also great for recording stories or chapters for revision or practicing for poetry readings.
- Scrivener – Personally, I haven’t yet tried this writing software, but I’ve heard great things.
6. Coffee & Chocolate
Coffee and chocolate are writing fuel. By giving your writer friend a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Squares or a large café au lait, you are giving her the gift of energy and inspiration and the ability to face rejection. In short, you are giving her a little bit of yummy magic. Who doesn’t love yummy magic?
Not sure of your friend’s favorite drink or chocolaty snack? Get her a gift card to her favorite coffee shop or bakery instead.
7. Homemade Inspirations
Personalized gifts are the best. If you’re feeling crafty, MAKE something for the writer in your life. Here are some of my favorite homemade gifts:
My cousin Kelley made these word blocks for me years ago, and I’m still finding surprising new poetic combinations.
My friend Emily knows the main character of my middle grade novel is a gamer who loves Galaga, so she gave me this needlepoint of his favorite game. It hangs on the wall in my office.
Emily also made me this Writer’s Block Unblocker, which comes in handy.
8. Literary-Themed Trinkets
If you like the idea of creative gifts but are not the crafty type, let someone else do the work for you and shop at one of these sites. They offer everything from novels printed on t-shirts to coffee mugs for grammar nerds to inspirational posters and jewelry.
- Litographs – litographs.com
- The Literary Gift Company – theliterarygiftcompany.com
- Literary Emporium – literaryemporium.co.uk
9. Snail Mail Love
For just the price of a stamp and a little of your time, you can make a writer’s day. Writers love writing, and everyone loves finding something other than junk mail in their mailbox. So send a snail mail letter that your writer friend can read outside in the grass when they need to take a break from the computer screen. Or, better yet, send them a postcard. Postcards are like little missiles of inspiration, especially if they’re from somewhere exotic. That’s why mine decorate the wall above my desk.
10. The Gift of Publicity
The #1 gift you can give a writer doesn’t even cost the price of a stamp. That’s the gift of promotion. Did one of their short stories appear online? Send the link to a friend! Did their blog make you laugh? Post it on Facebook! Did they publish a book? Give it a good rating on Goodreads and then tell everyone about it! The BEST gift you can give a writer is sharing her work with the world.