Holiday Gift Ideas for Writers: 2019 Edition
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It’s early November. I’m sitting at my kitchen table, my fingers furiously typing on my laptop. Outside, tiny flakes of snow drift down from the sky, landing gently on the trees outside my window.
Sound picturesque? Reality check: I’m typing furiously because it’s f’ing freezing in the northeast and movement is a way to keep my fingertips from going numb. And while this early-season snowfall has indeed made the trees quite pretty, the ground is a slushy, slippery mess.
The only thing keeping my spirits up is the fact that the holidays are upon us. If I’m going to be surrounded by gray skies, frigid temps, and puddles of melting snow, I at least want to know presents are on the way.
(And lest you think I’m a greedy little writer, note that I also love to give gifts. The more unique, the better!)
To that end, I’ve done some digging and have come up with a few new ideas for the Favorite Writer in your life.
Just in case I haven’t made it clear: this year’s winter is pure evil. It’s not even Thanksgiving and most of the U.S. is experiencing subzero temps (and those states that aren’t freezing are on fire…but that’s another story).
If your Favorite Writer happens to live in one of the frigid states, consider buying her a few items to help warm her up, like this Fight Evil, Read Books beanie with matching socks, both from Out of Print Clothing. If she’s in a warmer climate, check out Out of Print’s vast selection of T-shirts. This one happens to be a favorite of mine; every time I wear it, I receive compliments.
Food Aplenty, Food Galore
If you’re looking to provide the tea as well, NovelTea offers loose leaf teas packed in tins resembling classic novels. The tins can be purchased individually or as a set. As an added treat, consider sending chocolates; these miniature chocolate books are almost (almost!) too cute to eat.
Writers Gotta Write
Writers rely on a lot of tools, from journals and pens to software and subscriptions. Just a few of the items that might boost your Favorite Writer’s career:
The On Failure journal from Emily McDowell, which will allow your Favorite Writer to pen her innermost thoughts while reminding her, in an array of pretty colors, “There is no such thing as failure. There is only learning.” If you want to provide the ink to go along with it, my all-time favorite is the Zebra Z-Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pen. These pens aren’t fancy or expensive, but they’re all I’ve used for years. I keep them at my desk, on my bedside table, in my purse… They’re always handy for when I need to jot down a few ideas.
Even with a journal and pen, your Favorite Writer may still succumb to writer’s block. Help her out by giving her a different kind of block: this book*, which is chock full of exercises and prompts to jump-start her imagination. Or, for a different take, try the Storymatic Game, which uses game cards to help develop characters, situations, and motivations.
If that doesn’t work, maybe a lesson with the masters can help. Online courses taught by some of today’s premier storytellers can provide your Favorite Writer with the inspiration and knowledge she needs to write her next bestseller. Check out courses on Skillshare (which touts Roxane Gay and Susan Orlean as teachers) and Master Class (which offers courses by Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, and Judy Blume, among others).
If your Favorite Writer is a freelancer, she might need access to important documents, like editorial calendars and magazine mastheads. Help her out with a subscription to Media Bistro, which offers these tools, along with courses, articles, and job boards. Another helpful resource for freelancers is Sonia Weiser’s Opportunities of the Week newsletter, which includes a weekly round-up of editors’ recent calls for pitches and submissions. Most of the requests can be found on Twitter, but Sonia takes the leg work out of having to find them individually by including them all in one super helpful email.
Writers Also Gotta Get Out of the House
As a freelance writer, I spent a lot of time at home, alone, staring at a screen. It can get lonely, especially when the rejections pour in. (And they do.) I find it helpful, for both my career and my sanity, to get out now and then, but it can get expensive. If your Favorite Writer is in the same boat, help her out with a gift card to her go-to coffee shop. She’ll be able to drink multiple cups of caffeine and converse with other human beings.
If You Can’t Write ’Em, Read ’Em
In his book On Writing*, Stephen King wrote, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” One of the best gifts you can give your Favorite Writer (or anyone, really) is a great book.
Some of my favorite inspirational works include:
- A Writer’s Guide to Persistence: How to Create a Lasting and Productive Writing Practice by Jordan Rosenfeld
- The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life* by Twyla Tharp
- The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion* by Elle Luna
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles* by Steven Pressfield
- Write Smart, Write Happy: How to Become a More Productive, Resilient, and Successful Writer by Cheryl St. John
- The Artist’s Way* by Julia Cameron
If you’d rather not buy a specific book, consider a gift card to your Favorite Writer’s local indie bookstore.
Or, for a larger investment, try The Strand’s Book Hookup. These boxes, sold by the famed NYC bookstore, include a signed first edition of a highly anticipated new title, along with a slew of literary goodies. You can order individual boxes, recurring boxes, or sign up for a whole year of bookish fun.
I hope this year’s list is helpful. Wishing you and your Favorite Writer a happy, healthy holiday season (preferably without the slushy snow and bitter cold temps).
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