As a writer, there are few things I love more than books. The thing is, though that to gift a book to a writer is like giving a chef a new spoon–chances are they’ve already got one just like it, don’t like the type/genre, or it simply doesn’t fit the recipient.
So, what do you get your favorite writer as a gift? I assure you; they have enough beautiful leather bound journals, which, truth be told, often sit untouched because they’re much too lovely to actually scribble in.
A writer doesn’t need pens, bookmarks, or pretty tea mugs they need practical and useful writing stuff that they’ll be shocked you thought of, let alone even knew existed. You’ll be the star of the show when the writer in your life opens up your gift and is astonished by your cleverness. (***Writer’s please feel free to share this post on your social media and tag those people who need to see it–share buttons are below.)
So let’s look at it then–what are the top three gifts (plus a bonus!) a writer would appreciate? The blue highlighted words will take you to a link on what is being discussed. Just so you know.
The number one thing every writer needs is time to actually work on their craft. Giving the gift of time can take on a lot of different looks but there must be a caveat indicating the time being gifted is specifically for writing. The main reason for this is because if that writer is anything like me, if I ever got a break I did laundry, napped, or prepped something for someone else.
This type of gift is really up to your imagination but could look like:
- a certificate from the gift giver for two hours of free time specifically to write (you can work out your own details for the amount and duration.) Get fancy and do up an elaborate certificate with ten different user times. That would be so fun.
- make set arrangements for childcare. Call in the babysitter! Yes. Yes. and Yes. Again you can work out your own details but make it at least two hours once a week. This could mean that the kids go to Grandma’s or it could mean that a sitter comes in to take care of the kids on a regular basis.
- a written guarantee to allow for uninterrupted time on a schedule.
- a week alone in a cabin on top of a mountain.
- a week in a hotel room to write, write, and write some more.
- or, maybe it looks like a Starbucks or Tim’s gift card along with the written support that a writer needs to write and a coffee shop is a great place to do it.
2… COMMUNITY and CRAFT
Writing is a very isolating activity. Often we stare at a screen and listen to the voices in our heads but there comes a time when we all need to connect with other writers.
Giving the gift of community can look different for everyone. Remember after the pandemic it will change again (I can’t wait to get back to live conferences–the energy is always amazing)–Sorry, I was dreaming there for second.
Here are some ideas to help the writer in your life build community.
- Purchase MasterClass for the writer. This is an online series of classes about anything you want to learn. As they say, you cam “(W)atch thousands of lessons from the best as they share their stories, skills, shortcuts, failures, and successes.” Writing classes include those taught by Margaret Atwood, Shonda Rhimes, James Patterson, and many more. Read the agreement carefully re:sign up and paying.
- Give the writer in your life a copy of Writer’s Digest magazine and include an agreement certificate for an online class. I’ve taken classes through Writer’s Digest before and found them to be very reasonable, varied, and professional. Check Writers Digest University for more information and pricing. There are individual workshops and you don’t need to sign up for the whole uni thing.
- Gift your fine writer with a Writing Conference. There are many available but will be better once the pandemic passes. The great thing about conferences is the people and being able to connect. It is invaluable for building a writing community.
- Perhaps the writer in your life is interested in an accredited academic University (Writer’s Digest is not) like Simon Fraser University’s continuing studies through The Writing Studio. Both John Mavin and Christina Myers attended SFU’s writing program.
- Maybe the writer in your life is thinking and dreaming of a Master of Fine Arts. What a gift that would be. Michelle Barker graduated with her degree from the University of British Columbia and never looked back.
- Perhaps a gift to Banff Literary Arts and Creativity. There are programs available but need to be applied for by the writer. But it never hurts to know that they have support.
- Giving the gift of community again means giving the gift of time. They’re closely linked and both will make a writer stronger.
3… PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE
- One thing every writer needs in their corner is a good editing software. I love, love, love my ProWritingAid. This platform is like an online editor, grammar checker, and suggestion maker.
- Perhaps your writer needs a new computer or tablet. Ask them first though because that’s a really personal thing. Maybe let your writer pick one out and then you can purchase it and wrap it up.
- They may like Scrivener which is a word processing and editing program. There’s an app and a license that need to be purchased. I tried it but found it too overwhelming for me. There were too many things to remember and it got me confused than anything. But, perhaps the writer in your life is different.
- There’s nothing like a professional edit. You can get them a certificate for The Darling Axe where they work with writers on novel development and edits. Michelle Barker is a top editor at The Darling Axe and I would absolutely recommend them. Do your homework on editors to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
- How about a mentoring program through your local university or college? Call and query as to whether or not the Fine Arts program offers mentoring programs and what they cost. This is a really personal gift and may need to be explored by the writer themselves but having someone support them in the endeavor is huge. I’m sure if you put out a call for mentors you’d be able to find someone suitable.
So there you have my suggestions for the writer in your life.
Writers if there’s anything else you’d like to add to this list then please leave your suggestions in the comments.
BONUS… Here’s a couple of Bonus Gift Ideas.
Check to see if the wrier in your life has the book On Writing by Stephen King. If they don’t have a physical copy then go ahead and buy it for them. This book is a wealth of information and a great read on King’s journey to becoming a best selling author.
The thing about his book is that it’s one that is often read over and over. I’ve read it three times myself and always discover something new.
You can get it on Amazon here.
one final thing and this is more about fun than anything.
I received a book from a teacher friend of mine called Grumpycorn by Sarah McItryre and I love it.
It’s all about Unicorn who is determined to write the most FABULOUS book in the world.
It’s actually a children’s book but it’s cute, light, and fun for any writer in your life.
Available on Amazon.