10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
I've been told writers are hard to buy for.
And by that I mean, I've been told I'm hard to buy for.
So, as a writer as well as an editor, I feel entirely qualified to dispense gift-giving advice to all the sorry folk out there who have a lovable yet picky and often moody wordsmith in their life (we're worth it though, right?).
In all seriousness, 202o has been one giant Lego piece under the foot of humanity and the arts sector as a whole has suffered. If someone you love is a writer, particularly an aspiring one, they might need a little extra encouragement to keep going. Something special that says 'I believe in you' or 'Don't give up'.
These recommendations are not sponsored, just paid for or admired from afar by me.
A merry, happy, word-loving season to you all.
1. Editor feedback
Has your writer friend or family member been writing for a long time but hasn’t done anything with it? Maybe they've just started and are unsure how their work measures up? Chances are they are standing in their own way, terrified of others reading their work. Consider a gift voucher for a book editor to assess their work. It can give them a gentle but firm nudge to cross the bridge from ‘hopeful’ to ‘committed’.
Recommendation: One of Under the Stairs Editorial's bespoke services is a 10,000-word Read + Report. I read 10,000 words of a novel and offer advice on what’s working well, what could be improved, sticking points to be mindful of going forward and suggestions on where to go from there. Getting writing feedback at an early stage can save further pain and a lot of money down the track when it comes time for a full edit. It can also give a much-needed confidence boost for a writer to just keep going.
Christmas gift vouchers for a 10,000-word Read + Report are being offered for the special price of $199* (normally $250) and can be redeemed at any time of the recipient’s choosing, so they don’t need to panic about having their work ready by a certain date.
Head here to inquire or purchase. Simply select 'Christmas gift voucher' in the drop-down menu and pop in your details, then an invoice will be sent to you. Once paid, the voucher will be emailed to you to print and present to your literary loved one.
*Special price available until December 31, 2020. Gift vouchers are non-refundable.
2. Put their name on it
Most writers have dreamed of having their name splashed on the cover of a book someday. Or maybe they’re just harbouring childhood bitterness of having an unusual name that never featured on those little number plates you could buy at newsagents (Carlie with an ‘ie’ over here, the pain is real). Give them a taste of their future literary fame with a personalised notebook, journal or compendium. We love that stuff.
3. Like and subscribe
A subscription is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s like another present every time a new issue drops. There are plenty of publications out there, so you can choose their favourite magazine, newspaper or blog, or even something left of field to challenge and inspire them. But there are so many more subscription options out there these days.
Try a book subscription service in their genre of choice, an audio book provider, a writers’ subscription box full of useful writing tools, or a well-being or lifestyle subscription box for a little self-care.
4. Not-so-secret society
Who doesn’t love being part of a club? Writers tend to work in solitude so membership to a writers’ society can do wonders to promote their sense of community and connect them with like-minded folk.
Recommendations: Society of Women Writers NSW Inc, Writing NSW, Australian Society of Authors, Queensland Writers Centre, Writers Victoria, Australian Crime Writers Association, Kill Your Darlings or google ‘writers group’ in your area for more localised options.
5. Course of action
It can be nerve-racking committing to a writing course when unsure of your own abilities. But it’s one of the best things a wannabe writer can do. No need for a university degree, there are plenty of short courses that teach the practicalities of writing a novel.
Recommendations: A simple google search will bring up plenty of options. I can personally attest to the Australian Writers’ Centre offerings.
6. Pages of inspo
If your writer friend is feeling a bit lost and flat, books on the craft of writing and finding creativity can provide a lot of clarity and inspiration to a struggling writer’s mind. There are loads out there, so take your pick.
Recommendations: My personal favourites are On Writing by Stephen King, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and So You Want to be a Writer by Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait.
7. What a classic
Classic literature is a no-fail gift. It says: I know you're a serious writer. You're smart and worldly and deserve the best the literary world has to offer. Those who love them will be seriously impressed by a special edition of their favourites or try to find one they haven't read. It makes you look like you know your stuff too.
Even those writers who don't dig the classics can certainly appreciate them and know they look impressive sitting on a bookshelf, whether they are read or not.
Recommendations: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott; 1984 by George Orwell; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath; Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
8. Brew up some ideas
Writers generally have a drinkable crutch they lean on when doing their thing. Mine’s coffee. Lots. Of. Coffee. Suss out their beverage of choice and gift it in a personal way.
Fill a cute canister with coffee pods and write a personal message on the inside of the lid so they’re met with love and motivation with every cup
Grab a bag of coffee beans from their favourite cafe and team it with a grinder or coffee press
Tea that’s especially made for creativity and mental clarity (try MentaliTEA), paired with a beautiful cup or pot
A cute or quirky twist on their usual brew (such as tea bags with tags in the shape of a book from Monji), plus a funny or motivational mug (Typo has lots of cheap, cheeky options, or check out Awesome Human or Mount Vic and Me to support small business)
9. How puzzling
Writers are often over-thinkers. It’s useful but also incredibly annoying when they just want to switch off. Puzzles are great for this. The simple concentration required for a puzzle quietens their internal obsession over a work in progress.
10. Give ‘em a break
You know what writers need more than anything else? Time and space to actually write! Especially if they have children, full-time jobs and other competing priorities. Consider shouting them a weekend out of the house, away from family, flatmates, chores and other distractions, where they can fully immerse themselves in their writing. It doesn’t have to be a big out-of-town trek either (though that would be nice) – even an Airbnb or bed and breakfast a few suburbs away would do the trick. Bonus points if it has a pool, garden or beautiful view to enliven the senses.
Recommendations: You’re on your own here. It entirely depends on your location and budget. A less expensive option is to pack them a picnic for one and mind the kids while they go to a park for a few hours, or gift them a cafe voucher that will cover lunch and a few coffees. Every little pocket of time helps.
And one last thing: if the writer in your life is YOU, share this page to nudge your loved ones in the right direction, or just go ahead treat yourself!