Coming up with story ideas is easy. Coming up with gift ideas for a writer is hard. What do you get for someone that has the entire world at their fingertips, that can dream anything into existence with the stroke of a pen?
Well, you could start with the pen, though even that may not be ideal if your intended recipient prefers to do their drafting on a keyboard. Every writer is different, so you’ll need to use your own discretion to decide what gift will be appropriate for the writer in your life.
Having said that, we can give you some ideas to help guide your search. As writers, some of these are things that we’d love to open during the holidays. Others are things that our fans recommended when we posed the question on social media. Keep reading, or click through for even more ideas!
Most writers already have a few empty notebooks. Most will happily take a few more. A writer can never have too many notebooks. You never know when (or where) inspiration will strike and you’ll need to write something down.
If you’re shopping for someone who wants to reduce clutter (or for a writer who likes gadgets), you could also consider a reusable notebook like the Rocketbook. The Rocketbook app lets you scan any notes you write down in the book itself, and then converts them to plain text while uploading them directly to the cloud platform of your choice. After that, you can wipe away your notes and start again with a fresh page, making it the perfect gift for someone who hates wasting paper but still likes to write things out by hand.
Nice Coffee or Nice Tea
Almost every writer has a warm drink of choice. If you get something that meets your writer’s tastes, you can be assured that your gift will go to good use. Most of us love to have something to sip on while we work (I’ve got a cup in front of me at this very moment), and a fancy coffee or tea lets a writer know that you support their process.
If warm beverages are gift idea 2a, then this is gift idea 2b. Not everyone enjoys drinking (and some don’t drink at all), so you need to be a bit more careful here than you would with all-ages gifts. However, many writers do like to unwind with a nightcap after a long day in front of the computer. Whisky (either Scotch or bourbon) is always a great option, though tastes differ so you can also consider gin, brandy, or anything in between. Whatever the case, a bottle of something nice is a surefire way to make a writer feel appreciated.
The pen may be the primary tool of the trade, but there are plenty of other peripherals that make writing a lot more fun. Nice pencil pouches and cable organizers are great for someone that likes to pack everything up to write in a co-working space or a café, and it’s hard to go wrong with fancy pens, novelty pens, coloured pens, and other assorted writing implements.
Meanwhile, those that study the history of the craft may appreciate more specialized gifts. Fountain pens, inkwells, stationary, and wax stamp kits all have a certain retro appeal for anyone who believes that reading should be a full sensory experience.
We all had to learn to read before we learned to write. In fact, a love of reading is the thing that made us want to write in the first place, and many of us have carried that love of books with us throughout our careers. Everyone has different tastes, but if you know someone’s preferred genre, it shouldn’t be too hard to find something you think they might enjoy. If you're not sure what kind of books your recipient likes, you might look at The Story Engine Anthology (which contains 101 micro-stories in a variety of genres)!
It may be a while before your writer friend gets around to your book (every one of us has a giant backlog of things we’ve been meaning to get to). Even so, curling up with a good book remains one of the best things to do on a cold winter afternoon, and beach reading is just as much fun if that book gets pushed back to summer!
Everyone deserves the occasional weekend getaway, and writers are no exception. A writer also knows how to make the most of some alone time. A remote cottage with no distractions is an excellent place to get some work done, and is a luxury that a lot of writers are unlikely (or unable) to book for themselves.
If a full getaway is outside your price range, it’s still possible to give the gift of time. Doing a few extra chores or taking care of the kids for a weekend is a fantastic way to support a loved one that wants more opportunities to put words on the page.
The Story Engine and Deck of Worlds
OK, fine. There may be a slight conflict of interest on this one. But we really do stand behind everything in our store. For a writer, nothing is worse than writer’s block, and The Story Engine Deck and our new Deck of Worlds is a great way to get unstuck. A good prompt helps get the creative juices flowing, and makes it much easier to build expansive worlds of fiction and fantasy!
P.S. We should acknowledge that any physical product orders placed in December won’t ship until January. However, you can order the PDF deck if you want a gift that will arrive before Christmas, and we’ve made a cool holiday card to explain the situation.
Eric Weiss is a Toronto-based writer, performer, and media critic. He is currently a Narrative Designer for EMBERWIND (from Nomnivore Games), and formerly served as the Games Editor for ThatShelf.com. He is also the writer, co-creator, and co-star of the stage play #NotAllFedoras.