**A guest post by Emma O'Connell**
2020 has been a WILD ride but the holiday season is here and with it, a lovely excuse to show the writer in your life a little extra lovin’!
Here is a list that goes beyond the typical suggestions for writers like mugs, books and stationery gifts (is stationery ever really off the table though?).
Some of these suggestions fall into the “stuff” category while others are more about the experience. Combine a few to really show up for the writer in your life this year and support them with their craft!
[Oh, by the way: none of the links below are affiliate links where I get paid something if you click and buy. They’re just regular ol’ links.]
1. Fingerless gloves
I can’t say enough good things about fingerless gloves. They’re warm, they’re cute, and they make you feel like a character out of a Dickens novel…what else do you need?
You might think writing all day would keep your fingers nice and toasty, but no! They get cold. Very cold. And when they get cold, they get sore and cramped, which is loathsome. Your writer will thank you for these.
This gift is also easily personalized! Get them in your writer’s favourite colour, add some flare (think lace or special patterns) or get nostalgic and have them knitted with yarn made from somewhere they traveled pre-2020!
- You can make them yourself if you’re crafty, here’s a pattern that only takes two hours (and you don’t have to sell your soul for the free download!)
- You can buy these beauties and support a small business
- Get these USB heated gloves (while I haven’t tried these myself they look PERFECT for the Canadian writer heading into what will probably be a very long and very chilly winter):
Bonus gift: The excuse to say things like “Please sir, may I have some more?” in a pitiful voice completely out of context.
2. A Mug Warmer
Another great option for the chilly (or simply forgetful) writer in your life is this mug warmer!
I can’t tell you how many times a day writers get caught up in their craft, forget about their tea or coffee and then have to reheat it. Writers HATE this.
Additionally, as it gets colder out, the chilly drink phenomenon happens quicker and quicker and it gets hard to keep up! It can feel like the only option is to forgo hot beverages all together *the horror*
You do not want this sad life for your writer. Go buy them a mug warmer!
(Let’s just get this out of the way nice and early: I’m Canadian. Does my preoccupation with the cold make more sense now?)
3. Re-vamped Writing Space
Working from home has become the reality for many this year, and for writers this comes with its own extra challenges.
Their environment helps set the mood for what they’re about to create but for many in 2020, their beloved creative space may have turned into a shared office space, a homework desk for the kids, or maybe was tossed out completely to make room for extended family.
Either way, if your writer has no dedicated space to write…chances are, they’re not writing.
Help your writer out and show them you care about their craft by re-vamping their writing space! This could be as simple as clearing off what they already have at home or buying them a small lap desk.
If your writer already has a writing space but isn’t using it as much as they would like:
- Try printing out some motivational quotes and having them framed for inspiration!
If your writer is the messy or chaotic type:
- Help organize their space! If this is your choice, BEWARE and keep EVERYTHING – every scrap of paper could have an idea on it which, if lost, could derail their entire book (no pressure).
- Once you have safely stowed all the clutter, pick up some cute organizational supplies like a pen organizer , magazine manuscript holder, or a new filling system! Include some new pens and notebooks and VOILA! A brand new writing space!
If your writer doesn’t have a dedicated space anymore:
- A small lap desk and an On-The-Go Writing Office (see #4) might be for them. That way they can pick up and write on the couch or on the dining room table! Just make sure to include items that also help create a writing ritual so all the environmental changes don’t impact their writing (see #6).
4. An On-The-Go Writing Office
For the flexible writer on the go, or the one who lost her desk to the pandemic, this is the perfect gift. You never know where inspiration might strike, so make sure they’re always prepared to jot down ideas and get in the writing groove!
What you will need: goodies and a tote bag
- The goodies: Fill it with things they’ll need on the go! A small notebook (or three) for jotting down ideas, good quality pens, snacks, headphones, and writing prompts or craft book for inspiration.
- The tote: Personalize it! Buy a blank tote bag or re-use one you already own and draw or iron on an inspirational quote or image. Think of their favourite writers or use quotes from classics they love.
- Pair this gift with the new lap desk above for the writer at home so they have a brand new portable writing office!
I also love this gift idea because if done right, it’s a gift WITHIN another gift! Wrap the goodies individually and place them inside the tote bag, and place it all inside a larger wrapped box. Who doesn’t love a surprise!?
For more tips on the perfect on-the-go writing tote bag, check out the blog post Your Other Writing Space. This would be perfect to print out to go along with the gift!
5. Scribbler Subscription Box
This is a great idea for writers in any stage of their writing process. Monthly goodies straight to their home to help keep your writer on track! Each box includes an autographed novel, writing gifts, live chats from publishing pros, and teaching tools from best-selling authors.
With multiple payment plans, you can sign your writer up for one month at a time or get them a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription for goodies all year ‘round! PLUS, when you sign up, they get a free gift included in their first box. One of the options right now is a door sign that reads “Writer’s kill people in books. Do Not disturb” which is a wonderful reminder for all.
Get the Scribbler Subscription Box here.
6. Help Solidify Their Writing Ritual
Writing rituals help writers get into a state we like to call Flow. Flow is SUPER important and what every writer hopes to achieve when they sit down at their desk. It turns 5 minutes of writing into 20, and 20 minutes into 2 hours in the blink of an eye!
Writing rituals are incredibly personal. But what the best ones all have in common is that they touch on each of our 6 senses.
Smell: Think candles and incense. You’ll want something that reminds your writer this is time for writing and nothing else. A Candle for Writer’s Block should do the trick, or this Bibliophile Boxed Set.
Sound: Soothing music or playlist (say goodbye to those interrupting ads with a Spotify Subscription) and good headphones or some damn peace and quiet (see #7).
Touch: Soft clothes and blankets! Anything to help your writer feel comfortable.
Taste: Special snack or favourite drink to indulge in ONLY while writing. When they pop this in their mouth, their body should think IT’S TIME TO WRITE! #hersheyskissesforthewin
Sight: motivational quotes above or on the writing desk, a clean space to work, and books for inspiration and beautiful things!
Spirit: This is particularly important for writers who are spiritual but also for those who have a hard time getting into the right headspace. Mindful meditation or prayer practice can be helped with prompts or accessories! If guided meditation is her thing, a subscription to the Headspace app could work wonders.
7. Time to Write/Some Damn Peace and Quiet
If your writer is always on the move and doing the most for everyone else in their life at the expense of their craft, the best thing you can give them is time to write and some damn peace and quiet.
Here’s how to do this thoughtfully:
- Sit down (over Zoom) with the people in your writers’ household pre-holiday and have a frank talk about boundaries. It’s important that everyone at home is on board for this gift to be done right!
- You can also get a sign for the door or to put on their desk that reminds everyone what time it is. This could do the trick, but it can also easily be handmade (you could even get the kids involved!).
- Buy a calendar (bonus points for relevant theme) and after the gift-giving is over, work together to schedule in their “writing time”. Hang the calendar in a public space so the whole family can see it!
- If the family still isn’t getting the hint, these noise cancelling headphones might help get the point across if the kids/partners decide to barge in during writing time anyway.
8. Coaching or Professional Support
For the writer who could use some extra support, a coach might be the right route to go! A coach can help your writer clarify the scope of their writing, motivate them to get past blockages, set them up with a community, give them editing or publishing support…you name it!
Finding the right coach is a very personal process. Just like you don’t get along with everyone you come across in the streets, sometimes you just don’t vibe with your writing coach. You can avoid this by answering these questions before picking one:
- What part of the writing process does your writer need help with? (getting editorial support won’t be very helpful if your writer needs help with writer’s block)
- What genre is your writer writing about? (not all coaches can help with all genres)
- What kind of support does your writer need right now? (is one-on-one what they need or would being part of a community be what helps them get it done?)
I won’t include a list of coaches here because the options are just too vast, but Rhonda does offer coaching services, a monthly writing membership and an online course to help writers finish their books — details of which can be found here! (Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for a gift certificate.)
9. Writers' Tears Whiskey
Marketed by Walsh Whiskey as the ‘Dreamer’s Dram’, Writers’ Tears Whiskey would be the perfect gift for the melodramatic writer who loves to get their creative juices flowing like Hemingway.
Whether your writer is a whiskey fanatic or not, this bottle is bound to unleash some laughter once unwrapped this holiday season! Reading the back of this bottle is a gift in itself as the creators went to great lengths to romantically portray this whiskey as the 20th century writer’s best friend.
As the website suggests, your writer can enjoy it with ‘a dash of inspiration and a thirst for curiosity’. Seriously, even if alcohol isn’t the gift for your writer this year, just go read the website description, it’s totally worth it.
10. Notebooks and Pens
If you’re looking for practical gifts, and think that notebooks and pens will be your easy way out….think again. They could be a great option, but tread carefully. For writers, the notebooks and pens we choose are incredibly personal and important choices.
Pens for example…how it feels in your hand, the colour of the ink and how it flows when you write can only be understood by the writer in the moment. It’s the same for notebooks, some writers need blank pages, soft covers, or even a specific line height or page thickness!
All that said, they can be great gifts when done thoughtfully. Pro Tip: Don’t get overwhelmed! Just snap a few pictures of what they’re currently using that you want to replicate.
Remember to take pictures of the cover AND the inside of notebooks (many suppliers have the same cover but different insides) as well as the tip of the pen and the side or the cap where it shows the size of the tip and the label name. Too many times I’ve thought I was repurchasing an old favourite only to find out at home that I got the tip size wrong. It’s the worst.
When in doubt, I’ve written other blog posts on my personal favourite pens and notebooks, and I know very few writers who dislike Moleskin products (even people who think they’re overrated generally still appreciate them).
On the other hand, if you’re going for novelty over practicality, by all means get the prettiest thing out there! These items might not be what they use for their current work-in-progress but everyone loves pretty things.
- A hand-blown glass pen and ink
- A vintage or brand new typewriter
- A feather pen set straight out of Harry Potter
- A reclaimed wood and rustic leather journal
11. BONUS: A Note on Buying Books for Writers
Yes, the title was a lie. #sorrynotsorry
If you read last year’s holiday blog post, you’ll remember how tricky book buying can be for the writers in your life. If you are still confident that a book is the right way to go, perhaps consider a twist on a favourite they love!
Look for copies signed by the author, special anniversary editions (this 10th Anniversary Edition of The Book Thief comes with TONS of bonus content), foreign language copies, or antique versions of your writer’s old favourites!
Bonus points if you can get your hands on an old or out-of-print copy of a childhood classic (I’m pretty sure everyone was in tears during the Friend’s episode when Chandler gave Joey’s girlfriend an early edition of the velveteen rabbit…no? Just me?)