This winter, give a meaningful gift to the writer in your life.
To help you shop for a gift a writer will want, need and love, I’m sharing a list of a few of my favorite things—the stuff that helps me write, inspires me or supports me on a regular basis (and a couple things that are on my writer’s wish list). And while any writer will use whatever’s around when lightning strikes, like lipstick on a napkin or highlighter on their hand, it helps—so much—to have a few reliable supplies around.
These options fit most budgets (I swear), and even better, many of these items can be bought at a local store, no matter where you live.
I am rarely in a shortage of paper. Why? Because people gift notebooks to me. For birthdays, thank yous or holidays, notebooks are a thoughtful and practical gift for any kind of writer. Personally, I have two or three notebooks around me at any given time (yes, even when I’m not at my desk), so I give my word that these gifts are appreciated. Or, if you’re looking a paper-themed gift that’s a little more unique or upscale, a snazzy stationary set would be a hell of a treat to open.
Pencils and Pens
Even if it’s perhaps the most obvious gift, writing utensils will be treasured by any writer you know. Pens and pencils allow writers to do their thing, amiright? Nothing sets a better tone for a successful writing session than picking up a tool that makes someone feel awesome. For me, I love anything purple and am a sucker for felt-tip pens. I enjoy writing when I get to use these.
A Good Book
The best writers read. There’s so much to learn from other writers; voice, syntax, rhetoric and conceptual ideas of another’s mind inspires new ways of approaching a writing project. What defines a good book, though? Your gift to a writer could be a book that inspired you, a classic, a new book from their favorite author, perhaps there’s a new author that’s absolutely killing it right now; there’s a lot of room for success here. And if all else fails, gift cards are widely accepted.
I mean, do I need to elaborate?
I can’t tell you how many hours a day I’m sitting, hunched over a computer. Now that it’s freezing here in Ohio, our muscles are making it known that we’ve spent all year typing our lives away. No joke—the second it turned cold, my back seized up; I spent two days laying on the floor. Finally, I went to the spa (Wauvette at Replenish is a true Goddess) and immediately felt so much better. I don’t know why I waited so long to get a massage; this is why I recommend gifting a massage for anyone who writes for a living. They’ll thank you for a lifetime.
With the aforementioned challenge in mind, a standing desk or standing desk attachment would be a baller gift to give a writer. There are also chairs that are great for posture and maintain sophistication. It’s something I can never justify buying for myself even though I would use it every single day. Other office items I’ve found useful are organizers (for all of those miscellaneous notes that are written in lipstick), a 30-minute hourglass, coasters (for the simultaneous wine and coffee experiments) and post-it notes.
Listen. Because of some bullshit “starving artist” myth, and the old-fashioned norm that writers are paid just pennies for each word written, many writers you know could use an extra few bucks for whatever they need. Whether they spend it on groceries, the gas bill or a good time, they will appreciate the hell out of the generosity. No one ever turns down cold, hard cash.
No matter what you gift the writers in your life, by acknowledging their ambition, you validate their life’s work. On the regular, they don’t get paid enough. They don’t get enough work. They are constantly forced to compromise. Yet they hustle every damn day to write for all of us so we can be aware, inspired, or informed. Whatever you gift a writer this year, your encouragement means the most. Really.
With your time and thoughtfulness, you’re giving a writer the gift of your support. And you can’t put a price on that.