22 outstanding gift ideas for writers

Inspired and inspiring, these presents will warm the hearts—and the hands—of the freezing freelancers, aspiring authors and pithy poets on your shopping list.

Christmas is around the corner, and you’re still at a loss for what to give the writer in your life.

Take heart. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your critique group‘s holiday gift exchange, a writerly family member or maybe even yourself, the variety on this list is sure to spark inspiration.

Get ready to add one or more of these items to your holiday shopping list:

1. 642 Tiny Things to Write About Diary

Here’s another great inspirational tool: the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto’s “642 Tiny Things to Write About Diary.” Each page provides a few tiny bits of inspiration, such as: “The woman/man across from you at a cafe or cubicle: What did he or she dream last night?”

This diary is part of an ongoing series of San Francisco Writers’ Grotto writing tools, which means that if your writer likes this diary, you’ll know what to get for next year’s present.

2. Ready Set Novel

Is your writer ready to move past prompts and start working on their first novel? Give him or her a copy of “Ready Set Novel,” written by the people who helped bring us NaNoWriMo.

This book is designed to help writers through the plotting and outlining stage of writing a novel, so they will have the best foundation possible before they write their first chapter.

3. Unconventional Guide to Publishing

After your writer finishes that novel and polishes the draft, it’s time to learn how to get it published. I wrote about Chris Guillebeau’s “Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing” in last year’s Holiday Gift Guide; this year, consider giving your writer his “Unconventional Guide to Publishing.”

4. Grow your own coffee

A lot of writers rely on coffee to help them get through those 5 a.m. novel-writing sessions or that third round of revisions with a cantankerous client. Sure, you could buy them some freshly ground coffee, but why not give them the chance to taste freshly grown coffee instead?

ThinkGeek offers a Grow Your Own Coffee kit that includes everything your writer needs to grow coffee beans on a desk or in a windowsill.

Some ThinkGeek customers reported little success getting their coffee to sprout, but this kit would be fun to play with even if I never harvested a single bean.

5. Writer tea

Does your writer prefer tea? Wrap up a tin of Writer Tea and let the blend of smokey assam, hazelnuts and tiger eye inspire your writer to brew up a masterpiece.

This tea is part of Adagio Teas’ Dragon Age-themed set, so it’s an especially good choice for the geeky, gamer writers on your list.

6. Literary perfumes

Inspire your writer with the scent of the masters who have gone before. Sweet Tea Apothecary’s Dead Writers Perfume uses scents like black tea, clove and tobacco to evoke memories of first editions in old libraries.

Prefer your perfumes a little more lively? Try Sweet Tea Apothecary’s Pemberly: A Jane Austen Inspired Perfume. It features hyacinth, honeysuckle and peony—all flowers found in the garden of Chatsworth House, the estate believed to have inspired Austen’s Pemberly in “Pride and Prejudice.”

7. Literary tattoos

If you want to give your writer something that lasts longer than a spritz of perfume-but not so long that it becomes a permanent life decision-shop from the Litographs Literary Tattoo Collection.

These temporary tattoos include famous literary quotations such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “So we beat on, boats against the current,” and Oscar Wilde’s “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

8. Text-based T-shirts

Here’s another great gift from Litographs: T-shirts printed with designs made entirely out of the text of classic books. (Each T-shirt contains roughly 40,000 words; they keep the print tiny.)

Take a look at the Literary T-shirts collection, which includes everything from “War and Peace” to “Outlander.” Watch your writer unwrap this gift and immediately spend the next two hours reading every word.

9. Writer’s Block journal

ModCloth’s Writer’s Block journal looks like a block of wood-but it’s filled with blank pages. Give this to your writer friends to inspire them to keep going even when they feel blocked.

After all, the only way out of writer’s block is to keep writing.

10. Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook (and app)

Do you know a young writer in need of a flicker of inspiration? Little Pickle Press’s “Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook” is designed with the young writer in mind.

Winner of the Mom’s Choice Gold Award, the notebook includes blank space for writing, as well as tips and “spark starters” to encourage young writers to keep going.

Little Pickle Press also offers a Catching Fireflies app, because most of today’s young writers work digitally. The app, which uses similar creative prompts and tips, also won a Mom’s Choice Gold Award.

11. Qwerkywriter

A lot of people use external keyboards with their tablets; Qwerkywriter takes the idea one step further and gives writers a wireless typewriter that connects via Bluetooth to tablets, smartphones and more.

Yes, the typewriter is back. No, it never went out of style.

12. Organizer desk lamp

The best thing I bought for my home office this year was the Equip Your Space CFL Functional Tablet Organizer Desk Lamp. This low-cost, colorful lamp includes outlets (two-prong and USB) to allow you to charge two devices simultaneously.

It also has cubbyholes to store headphones, FitBit chargers, paperclips or anything else you want to keep track of.

13. Reclining desk

In case you’re not up on the latest trends: The reclining desk has eclipsed the standing desk as the new must-have ergonomic accessory.

The Altwork desk is the coolest thing on the market—it was even profiled in Wired—if you can afford the $3,900 price tag.

I figured I should put at least one aspirational holiday gift on this list, for that writer you know who’s really, really special.

14. Writer Emergency Pack

If the reclining desk is a little out of your budget, try giving your writer the much more affordable Writer Emergency Pack instead.

This card deck of prompts, ideas and inspirational questions is just as flexible as any $3,900 desk; it goes anywhere, and there’s even a bonus card game within the deck for writers who want to be a little more social.

15. Storiarts fingerless gloves

Busy freelancers need to keep their hands warm in drafty home offices, and they sometimes must quickly grab their phones and send reply emails to clients while they’re out and about.

The solution to both problems? Storiarts fingerless gloves, which come covered in text from classic novels. (They’ll be the perfect complement to the Litographs T-shirts.)

16. Spotify Premium

A lot of writers listen to music while they work, and there’s almost nothing as distracting as getting your writing/music groove interrupted by a Spotify ad.

Solve the problem with the gift of a Spotify Premium subscription, and let your writer listen ad free for as long as it takes to finish that draft.

17. Hello Fresh

A lot of writers work from home, but that doesn’t always mean they cook there. Save your writer from frozen dinners and expensive takeout meals with the gift of Hello Fresh.

With this cooking delivery service, your writer will receive pre-measured, fresh ingredients delivered directly to their door-along with the recipes required to turn them into delicious meals. (Use code YWBYB5 to get $40 off your first order.)

18. 71 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer

Give the gift that keeps on giving with “71 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer.”

Yes, this is a plug for The Write Life-but for good reason. This guide is designed for the beginner freelancer, and it provides tons of resources to help them find gigs and earn money.

19. Harvest

Once you start freelancing, you’ll need a good tool to help you track your time and your income. Harvest does both, providing time-tracking tools as well as one-click invoices and automated payment reminders.

If your writer wants to take control of their freelance workload, give them the gift of Harvest. Plans start at $12 per month.

20. An editor

Did you see our post about freelance writers who hire editors to help them polish their work before sending it to publications? Give your favorite writer the gift of some one-on-one time with an editor.

Most writers rarely get the chance to go in-depth with someone and discuss their work’s strengths and weaknesses-so this gift should be deeply appreciated.

21. A writer’s retreat

This item showed up on our Holiday Gift Guide last year, but I wanted to include it again because it is one of the best gifts you can give a writer. Help your writer apply for one of the many writer’s retreats and residencies available, and offer to pay the cost of attendance.

In return, you just might get your name mentioned in the acknowledgements of their first published novel.

22. A remote year

Want to give your writer something they’ll never forget? Help them fund a remote year, so they can travel the world, explore multiple countries, get to know other remote workers and get their writing done.

The Remote Year program is designed for so-called “digital nomads” who can work from anywhere, which means many freelance writers are ideal candidates. Look at the program to see whether it sounds like an experience—and gift—of a lifetime.

Which of these gifts would you like to receive, writers? Is there anything else you’d like to add to this year’s holiday gift guide?

Nicole Dieker is a freelance copywriter and essayist. A version of this article originally appeared on The Write Life blog.

This article first ran on Ragan.com in Dec. 2015.


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