Thoughtful and Meaningful Gift Ideas for Writers
It's that most wonderful time of year!
Every year as the holidays draw near, I do a cursory check of the internet for new ideas about what I might get for the writers in my life. Gifts that celebrate and support their passion (and, for some, their profession) and that perhaps reignite them with a sense of fun and whimsy. After all, writing is often truly hard work. Sometimes it’s necessary to be reminded, in the form of fun gifties, that it is also wonderful. Year after year, however, I find myself uninspired by many of the ideas I see highlighted in articles with on-point titles like “12 Creative Gifts for Writers” and “The Seven Best Gift Ideas for the Writers in Your Life.” Shocking, huh? Well, in all fairness, many of these lists do have great ideas. Literary-themed bags, wordplay games, knick-knacks formed in the shape of books.
But two things have consistently struck me. The first is that, as a writer myself, I wouldn’t necessarily want many of these items, no matter how funky and unique they are. How many canvas bags do I really need, literary or no? How often would I actually play a short-story board game? Do I really need book-shaped bookends? As clever and whimsical as these items are, the truth is that many of them will likely go unused. The second thing that consistently strikes me is that most of these lists are prefaced with the idea that the writers in our lives are sick and tired of receiving notebooks and other ho-hum “useful” items (or that, as gifters, we’re sick of giving them).
So even though it is a bit late into December, I thought I would create a different sort of list.
It is a resuscitation of the “useful” and an elevation of the ho-hum. It is a shorty-but-goody sort of list. It is a list of holiday gifts for writers who love receiving thoughtful and practical gifts that they will look forward to using regularly and that will contribute meaningfully to their writing lives.
I have yet to meet a writer who truly feels sick of receiving notebooks. What I hear more frequently is that some writers feel intimidated by some kinds notebooks. Especially those that have beautiful covers and pages filled with ornate details. In short, the kinds of beautiful notebooks that many gift-givers are (for good reason) so happy to gift! Why? Because some writers worry that their words must be worthy of such beautiful pages. They want to fill these beautiful notebooks with beautiful words, not the messy, drafty words that find a home in more run-of-the-mill notebooks. The result is that beautiful notebooks go unused, sitting and waiting for a writer to feel that they have found words worthy of being placed in it (words that have usually found themselves by being written first in a less intimidating location).
Here’s one set of four notebooks that’s just perfect. They’re cute very cute and yet very practical. They operate just like you’re spiral-bound notebooks from you, and you can get them grid-lined, lined, or unlined. Perfect!
I am also an enormous fan of this grid-lined notebook (though you can also get it lined). I find it simple, functional aesthetic beautiful and inviting. This notebook is meant for using and looks the part. The paper quality is just delicious. I can’t get enough of these.
Here’s a similar option with spiral binding. I also love the feel of the paper in this notebook, and it’s brand name, “Symphony,” makes me smile every time I open it to write.
Are you in Seattle? Both the last two notebooks can be found at Uwajimaya!
2. A Voice Recorder!
For many writers, myself included, our “ah-ha!” moments come when we are nowhere near our computers and we are without a notebook. For me, it’s often mile 3.5 of and 8-mile hike, or an hour and twenty minutes into an all-day trek across my beloved city. My seventh rep at the bench press. Or, notoriously, fifteen minutes after I get in bed. There’s a reason for this, neurologically. Physical exercise, outdoor space, and relaxation are all food for the creative mind. If there’s something that’s we’ve been gnawing over with no success, it is not unusual to have the long-awaited breakthrough when we go for a walk.
But it’s a horrible feeling to worry that you’ll lose your breakthrough because you can’t write it down. Nearly six years ago, my partner gifted me this voice recorder, and I have continued to be grateful for it ever since. I suspect the impetus for this gift was that he was tired of me sitting bolt upright in bed just when he was drifting off to sleep. But it was inspired. I carry my recorder with me wherever I go. The coffee shop, the hike, the backpacking trip, the bedside table. I often recommend these to clients and friends!
3. The Gift of Content Strategy and Business Planning!