Choosing gifts. Some people are really…gifted in this area. If you're trying to manage your money wisely (like I am), you don't want to just give people more “stuff” to take up space in their lives. The thought really does count. So how do you choose the best gifts for writers in your life? To answer this question, I reached out to some of my writer friends. I asked them, “what are some of the best gifts you have received or would really enjoy?” (Of course, some of my favorites made the list too!)
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#1 Know your Budget. You can afford the best gifts for writers. Trust me.
Your favorite writer – be it a spouse, best friend, sister, parent, teacher, or even literally your favorite writer – isn't going to feel MORE loved by more money. (Usually). Of course, if you have the finances to replace her dinosaur computer and bless her socks off, do it! But you can do really thoughtful gifts that cost very little and mean a whole lot. Rachel Fordham's husband framed a print with favorite books for Christmas one year. Jenny Leo‘s husband is pretty creative too – he made her a Writer's block clock. She says, “anything that says to the recipient “You are a writer and I take you seriously and support you in your writing” is a hit with me.” Leah Banicki loves a thoughtful thank-you card from a reader.
Which begs the question.
That writer you love because she is related to you, or he's your best friend?
Have you READ what they've written?
Yes, you. I don't actually care if it's a genre you like or not. Show the writer in your life that you care…that you take her seriously. Read what she wrote, and then you can write a really thoughtful note.
#2 Know your Writer. People who give the best gifts for writers are really observant.
Pay attention…does she have a favorite planner? Does he have a pen that you always see him use? Get smart. Here's a tip for any gift-giving, not just for writers…keep a list. I used to call it my “stalker list.” =D If someone mentioned their favorite sushi order or always got the same drink at Starbucks, or something they didn't like, I would add it to my file. Then, when the time came to give a gift, even just a random surprise, I could give something truly thoughtful.
I'm giving away all my secrets…now you know how I bought your Starbucks drink before you got there.
Here's a funky “know your writer” thing.
Some people think that gift cards are not so personal. But anyone who knows me knows that I love to study at Starbucks and other cafes (duh. The Cafe Scholar.) Most people also know that I LOVE to read and devour books like the Cookie Monster eats his cookies.
Actually, NOT like the Cookie Monster eats his cookies. Have you noticed they all end up on the floor instead of in his mouth?
There's a point. A Starbucks or Kindle gift card would not be impersonal for someone like me, because, well, cue “these are a few of my favorite things!” So if you know your writer loves to go to a special place to work or relax, a gift card might be the perfect fit. I have a feeling that Chautona would appreciate a Denny's gift card. Just saying.
A caveat here…don't get a super personal gift if you don't know your writer well enough. Planners are really cool, and I think they make a great gift for writers…but it's a very personal choice. I *gasp* don't even use one. I use my Google Calendar, Coschedule for content planning, and right now I'm using a composition book with some elements borrowed from the bullet journal world, combined with The 12 Week Year, to keep track of progress towards goals. I know I'm not the only writer or online business owner with planners that sat on the shelf all year because they weren't the right fit. The write fit? On the other hand, if you know someone has just been dying to try out the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets or the Brilliant Life Planner, and maybe it was out of her budget, that would be a really thoughtful gift.
One more thing…
Your gifts for writers don't actually have to be writing-related. The suggestions I give here are more oriented towards writing-type-gifts. But Chautona says:
Or be BRAVE…and get them something that reflects who they are as a person outside of writing. Most of us love writing-themed gifts, but we really are more than “just” authors. So don't be afraid to just go with some other element in our lives if nothing resonated in the writing realm.
I would add – if you're shopping for gifts for writers who write as their regular job, look for gifts outside just writing. If you're shopping for gifts for writers that are new to publishing (or not there yet), a writer-themed gift might show them you take their writing seriously.
Keeping those two things in mind – knowing your budget and knowing your writer – here are some great gifts for writers!
Writers are Readers
Don't forget, to write well, you have to read, and many writers write because they fell in love with books. Writers are readers. So, gifts for readers also make great gifts for writers.
- I'm so bummed that Kindle Unlimited can't be gifted right now. But you can give the gift of Amazon Prime.
- Audible Subscription
- Books about the Writing Craft
- Did you know newspaper subscriptions are available for Kindle?
Mine is that after I finish all that iced tea, I have to wait in line for the bathroom at Starbucks.
But seriously, most of us are working through coffee or tea alongside our words and oxford commas. One of the best gifts for writers might actually be a mug of their favorite work-friendly beverage.
- Cool mug: get a nerdy writer mug or even something that fits a theme from a favorite book. Teacups are neat too (especially depending on your favorite writer's genre), but for me? I would run out of tea way too fast.
- Coffee, tea collections, hot cocoa. This is a great one because you can make it work with just about any budget. Get a tea sampler, or even build your own.
- Coasters. Because setting your notes in a puddle created by a sweaty iced tea glass is no fun. I've been known to bring my coaster to Starbucks with me. There are even some cute just-for-writers coasters :).
Essentials: The Paper and Pen Variety
It might be the most cliche gift for writers. It also might be one of the best gifts for writers…or at least the one a writer is most likely to use! Take a little time to observe what your favorite writer uses if you want to get the best fit. Most of us, like Cassie, and ok, like ME, have a notebook addiction and will love bound paper in just about any form.
- Dayspring Journals:
- Fountain pens
- Ok, honestly, I like the Bic Clic Stic pens. All the colors. Especially colored pens that are not red (for when you need contrast that isn't yelling at you). I use composition books…so I don't like pens that will bleed through, even if I actually really like them.
- Also these Atlantis pens are some of my favorites.
- Executive pens
Productivity: Because, let's face it, your favorite writer has to get stuff done.
- Powersheets Goal Planning System (I don't personally use, but several of my friends recommend!
- Planners – as I mentioned, I've got my own system, but I hear really great things about these ones:
- The Paperless Home
- noise canceling headphones
- Spotify subscription
- Fitbit. Favorite writer-ly feature? It tells me to get up and move every hour.
- Evernote Premium
- Mechanical keyboard or Apple keyboard. I have a mechanical keyboard at work. It is satisfyingly clicky, it might be loud enough to wake the neighbors, but it lets me type super fast.
- Grammarly subscription
- Coschedule subscription – because, let's face it, authors these days are social media marketers too.
- Novel Marketing Course – 5 Year Plan to Becoming a Bestselling Author (thanks for the recommendation, Chautona!)
- AeonTimeline software
- Laptop computer!! (Thanks Jane and Stephanie!)
- Deposit for a conference you know they're planning to attend. Or even the whole conference if you're buying a spendy gift (Recommended by Chautona)
- Coaching with their favorite author!
Yes, they actually can be just what your writer friend wants! Buy your gift cards through Swagbucks to get cash back and stretch that dollar! Can't you see your debit card doing Pilates?
- Coffee shops (or Denny's! Bring on that hot chocolate!)
Wearable Gifts for Writers:
- Nerdy Writer T-Shirts
- Super comfy sweatshirt or those sweat pant dress pants
- Slipper socks
- Writing gloves (I so want some of these).
A huge thank you to my writer friends who helped me put together this post:
Leah Banicki, Rachel Fordham, Chautona Havig, Allison Garcia, Jane Lebak, Stephanie Daniels, Bethany Turner, Janine Rosche, Morgan Busse, Heather Gilbert, Jenny Leo, Charis Zdrojewski, Leslie Leonard, Lana Higginbotham, J'nell Ciesielski, Joyce Williams, and Denise Weimer!
You can see some of their awesome books below!
Are you a writer? What's the best (read: funniest, most encouraging) gift you've gotten?