’Tis the season, folks. If you have a writer in your life and you want to gift them something great, here are a few ideas for writerly gifts. Most of these are things I use myself or have come recommended.
1. Scrivener. The way that a lot of writers talk about Scrivener, you’d think that the program made them Pour Over coffee, walked their dog, and gave them a back rub. Scrivener functions like a digital notebook. Writers (including myself) love this program because of the way it organizes all their project notes and drafts. And its a tad pricey, so its hard for a writer to justify buying this for themselves.
2. Evernote Subscription. This program is mostly used for note-keeping, but many writers in my online communities use this as their primary word processing program. Functioning as a kind of shelf for multiple digital notebooks, its a great tool for organizing projects. A subscription allows use on multiple devices, additional memory, and more options for how things like PDF’s and scans are stored.
2. (Part Deux) Evernote Smart Notebook. If your writer is already an Evernote convert, then check out the Evernote Smart Notebook. With this notebook, writers can jot down notes and use the camera feature in Evernote to upload the notes. I’ve never had a need for this myself, but it sounds pretty cool.
3. Field Notes. Small notebooks that are easy to carry with you. They have the tried and true basic designs, reporter’s notebook, Limited Edition, and more durable notebooks for the writer/adventurer.
4. Decomposition Books. There’s still a few of us who prefer to hand write our drafts before putting them on a computer. This year, I’ve taken to using Decomposition Books, which are the perfect size for stashing in my purse, super durable, and they come with some cool designs.
5. A stack of their favorite pens. Stocking stuffers. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with this.
6. Gummy worms or M&M’s or whatever treat they fancy. I guarantee you that your writer has a treat they like to munch on while they’re writing. More incredible stocking stuffers.
7. Stainless Steel French Press. My roommate recently got one of these for her birthday, and as a coffee snob, I have to say, I’m a touch jealous. You can find a make that is doubled-walled, meaning its uber insulated, keeping coffee warm for hours. Also, if you’re going to buy a French Press, buy one that’s made with stainless steel, because those glass carafes inevitably meet tragic ends in drying racks.
8. Klean Kanteen. Keeps hot liquids hot for up to 6 hours and cold liquids cold for 24 hours. I drink my coffee out of it every morning, while I spend about 1 1/2 -2 hours writing.
9. Loose Leaf Tea. Clearly, I’m biased towards coffee, but your writer may may prefer tea over coffee. Townsend’s has an amazing selection.
10. Epica Electric Kettle. Whether tea or coffee, this electric kettle is legit, good quality and efficient.
11. Pandora/Spotify subscription. I love, love, love my Pandora subscription. I listen to several stations, depending on what I’m working on, and paying $5 a month not to have some obnoxious mattress commercial jolt me out of my flow is worth every penny. I’m a Pandora person myself, but if your writer is more selective about their music, they may prefer Spotify. Whichever you choose, personally curated playlists with no commercials improves flow. Both can be used on mobile devices allowing you to use them on the go.
12. Wonderbook, by Jeff Vandermeer. Learning about story, character, world-building, and setting from one of the most gifted writers with an incredible imagination. Includes fantastic illustrations and interviews with renowned authors. A delightful read.
13. The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield. The Holy Book of Creatives. Stephen Pressfield has managed to sum up in one word everything that keeps a writer or creative from doing their work: resistance. Required reading for anybody who wants to make things.
14. A magazine subscription. Input is just as valuable as output. This year, I’ve been addicted to fashion magazines like Vogue and W., because of the imaginative fashion, and Vanity Fair for reading about people and topics I know little about. I can’t stop thinking about this year’s article on Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes and the character flaws that motivated her decisions. Give your writer the gift of learning new subjects.
15. Yoga classes. Between my fiction writing and freelance writing, I spend A LOT of time hunched over a desk. Every so often my right arm becomes inflamed, and the Gollum posture feels a little too familiar. Within two days of my first classes, I noticed a difference, less inflammation and improved posture.
16. A massage. These are pretty great for the Gollum posture, too.
17. Something They Won’t Buy For Themselves. The Scrivener suggestion got me thinking about this. For a very long time, I wanted Scrivener but couldn’t justify the price. Finally, one year I bought it as a birthday present to myself, and its been one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Not only did it give me an organizational system, but I’m happy with this system. A good system makes a writer look forward to their work. Writers are pretty thrifty and thoughtful about what they shell out money for. Your writer may have The Thing They Know They Need But Won’t Buy For Themselves. Maybe Santa Claus can get it for them.