Writers can be tricky folks to shop for. While the typical gift card to a bookstore or moleskine pocket notebook are usually welcome, there are some things that I think could serve our writer friends better this holiday season. Here’s my list of great gifts for writers that you may not have thought of yet.
* The Gift of Time
This will always be at the top of my list, and it’s the least expensive gift. Most of the writers I know long for some extra time to sit and just write. No chores, no obligations, nothing to do except their work. If you live with a writer, you might not realize how often you’re accidentally distracting them when they’re “on a roll” just to ask a question or have them do something around the house. Perhaps you can make a coupon (or several!) for a couple of hours of uninterrupted alone-time for your scribbling sweetheart.
* WD My Passport external hard drive
I have one of these and I absolutely love it. In addition to an online backup, an external hard drive is a great way to protect that novel or screenplay in digital format. If your computer crashes, you’ve still got this handy drive with your files saved. The passport is very small and light, so it’s easy to carry around and transfer files to and from different computers. They’re also very affordable and go up in price based on storage size.
* Archie Grand Notebooks
I know I implied that notebooks are a little overdone, but I think these are just adorable. I especially like “Poets I Met and Liked” and “Chefs I Met And Liked.” These are a great way to keep lists or doodles, too.
*Lunch With Richard
Richard Nash has just announced he’ll be offering private consulting services in the form of a lunch date! At My Lunch With Richard, you have 90 minutes to pick his brain about your project, independent publishing, or anything else of your choosing. $250 is a small price to pay to talk with someone who loves good books as much as Richard does. A great Q&A with him and three other editors from Poets & Writers earlier this year can be found here. If you don’t live in the New York area, you can also redeem your “lunch date” via Skype.
* Funky and Creative Bookshelves
A writer is almost always a voracious reader. When I start running out of space for all my books, my first thought is not to get rid of the books, but to buy more bookshelves!
This article has some very attractive and fun bookshelf designs. I especially love the idea of the Bibliochaise, a bookshelf AND reading chair in one:
* A Writer’s Soundtrack
Some writers need total silence in order to get anything done, but many others have “soundtracks” for their work. Depending on the type of project, they may need some upbeat techno, some moody pop, or straight up classical to listen while they type. iTunes gift cards, CDs, or homemade mixes would be a welcome gift to help expand their collection of “writing music.”
* The Gift of Retreat
This one is a splurge, but if you’ve got a writer in your life who just needs that last polish on a project, or some time dedicated to work that exceeds what your alone-time coupons can provide, a trip to a writers retreat might be just the thing. Writers conferences, workshops and retreats happen all over the world in a variety of settings, from urban gatherings to solitary cabins to horse ranches. There’s sure to be one out there that matches your writer’s style. Shaw Guides has an extensive list online.
In closing, one of the absolute best things you can do for your writer friends this holiday season is
If they have a book, album, or chapbook out, buy it. If you already own it, get a copy for a friend or encourage someone else to buy it. Nothing fills a writer with warm and gooey holiday spirit like knowing the rent will get paid and that someone out there is reading.
Got other great suggestions for gifts? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!