Ten Things That Make Great Writer Gifts
Book Store Gift Card. I know, you're tired of me saying this every year, but it's the truth: we adore them (and so do your reader friends.) Most online booksellers offer versions that you can send via e-mail, making them also uber convenient to give to faraway friends.
Books. We not only write them, we also read them. Obsessively. Some ideas: buy a collector's edition of your writer pal's favorite novel, a boxed set of their most loved series, or hunt for something they might not expect (I can now happily second Cloth Dragon's rec of Bridge of Birds; this is a fabulous story, very funny and a complete delight to read.) If you're still not sure, ask your pal to make up a wishlist.
Get-Together. If you live close enough to your writer to hang with them, schedule a day when you can drag them out of their writing cave and take them to lunch, a movie, a museum, a coffee shop or any place that keeps them out of the writing cave for a couple of hours. The more creative and inspiring the surroundings, the better chance you have of recharging their batteries, which is the whole point of the gift.
Guest Post: If you and your writer pal both have blogs, offer to write a guest post for them, conduct an interview, or provide some other material they can showcase at their place during the holidays. This will give them the corresponding time off to do something else, and add some interesting and unexpected content to their blog.
Paper. One year a friend of mine who likes to read my stories in manuscript form left on my doorstep a carton of high-quality printer paper with this note attached: Write Faster. It was a gag gift, but at the time I was down to my last ream, so it turned out to be a very useful one. Other welcome gifts of paper can be card stock, photo paper, postcard or business card form paper, or any specialty type paper they use on a regular basis (check around their printer or in their supply cabinet to see what they're using.)
Proofing: If you happen to be an excellent proof reader, offer to be your writer's second pair of eyes and proof a manuscript for them. Often we're reluctant to ask others to help with this, as it can be a big job. Professional proof-readers can be costly to hire, so this is also quite a valuable gift.
Story Storage: Writers constantly need to stores notes, research materials and other story ephemera in an organized fashion; give your writer something to use for this that is attractive, different, and/or has lots of dividers and pockets. If you're creative or crafty, design or upcycle a set of notebooks or binders with your writer's favorite colors, textures, imagery, or anything that might help inspire them. If you'd rather they do the shopping, a gift card to their local office supply store is also most welcome.
Time. None of us have enough of it these days, so a gift of time is practically priceless. You can get creative with this, too; offer to babysit, run errands, do housework or any other task you can take off your writer's hands to give them that time in exchange. Tell them to use the time off to do anything they want: write, read, relax, whatever. Since my mom has been here she's been taking care of the laundry, and that has given me at least an extra hour per day to do with as I please. Trust me, if you can manage it, this is a stupendous gift.
Tools. Writers simply love anything that can be used for the purposes of writing. Lately Writer's Bloc has been my one-stop online shop for stylish writing supplies; their sales are pretty decent and they ship fast (I love their line of Clairefontaine note stuff; they're gorgeous.) Or go to your local office supply store and fill up a bag with stuff you know your writer uses or covets.
Write or Create for Them: Among my most cherished possessions are some stories, letters, and poems that other writers have written for me. I consider all of them gifts. That goes for anything you make with a creative talent other than writing. I know the emphasis every holiday is on what you can buy, but there are things that cannot be purchased, like friendship. Whatever you give of yourself and your talent will be treasured for years to come.