What do you give a writer? You can’t bottle inspiration, buying an agreeable agent would probably be out of your budget, and I don’t think the antidote for writer’s block has been discovered yet (though I’m betting a placebo would do just as well).
Have no fear. There are plenty of widely available and reasonably priced gift ideas for the writer(s) in your life. Here are my top 10 picks (which may or may not be on my own list).
- Pens and Notebooks: If you’ve been hanging out here at Live to Write-Write to Live, you already know we have a pretty strong addiction to pens and notebooks. They are, after all, the writer’s constant companion and tools of the trade. We can never get enough. Seriously. Never.
- Online and Offline Classes and Workshops: Nothing makes writing procrastination more palatable than being able to say the “distraction” (in this case an educational opportunity) is actually helping you with your craft. Enable your writer friend with a seat in a virtual or real world classroom. There are also a lot of different book-ish courses out there in the online world, covering everything from writing to publishing to e-publishing to proposal writing. Worth a look.
- Coffee Shop Gift Certificates: Cafes are a writer’s home away from home. Help us pay our transient rent by tossing us a few bucks for one of those fancy, foreign drinks that make our fingers twitch and our brains reel.
- Writing Software: This one could go either way: procrastination tool or productivity booster. Writing software can be tricky to select, but I don’t think you can go wrong with the cream of the crop – Scrivener (originally only for Mac, now also available for PC).
- Writing Books (and E-books!): Like pens and notebooks, we can never get enough books on writing. In moments of desperation, we’ll take advice from anyone so don’t worry too much about which title to choose. Just find something with a comforting looking cover. (May I suggest anything by Larry Brooks?)
- Consultations and Services: Perhaps your writer friend could use an editor’s assistance or a professional review of a book proposal. Giving professional services may be just the fire your writer friend needs under the proverbial butt.
- Tickets to an Event: Professional networking events, author speaking tours, and writer’s conferences can be pretty pricey. Give your writer friend the opportunity to rub shoulders or admire from afar with tickets to a special event. (Earlier this year, my beau and I went to the Portsmouth Music Hall to see Neil Gaiman speak – loved it!)
- Reading Accessories: Writers are, by default, readers, so anything related to reading works. There is, of course, the ubiquitous e-reader, but you might also consider a subscription to Audible Books (audio books aren’t cheating), or some nifty something-or-other from Levenger.
- Reading Material: Books, magazine subscriptions, e-books … we don’t really care about the format, we just want more good stuff to read. (And, please, try to support an indie bookstore if you can!)
- Time: The best gift of all for any writer is time. Is your writer friend a mom who has a hard time carving writing time out of her busy day? Offer to babysit for an afternoon. Maybe your writer friend is a colleague who can’t finish his book outline because he’s always having to work late. Offer to help out at the office so he can leave on time. Maybe your writer friend is your spouse. Skip the honey-do list for a weekend and give him or her forty-eight hours of uninterrupted (and enforced) creative time.
Whatever gift you choose, something to do with writing and/or reading will let the scribe in your life know that you support that creative urge. That’s what we love to hear. So, merry-merry and happy-happy and good writing to all!
What was your favorite writerly gift ever – given or received?
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of voice and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.