The Write Life is taking a stand. We’re sick of getting notebooks as gifts in our stockings.
We hate to break it to you benevolent gift givers, but your good-intentioned notebook gifts tend to go straight to the junk drawer. The cute-but-not-practical notebook you painstaking selected from the hundreds of others in the Barnes & Noble gifts section is more of a novelty and less of a useful item we can actually use to write.
But if not a notebook, what do you give that special writer in your life? Don’t worry. As writers ourselves, we know just the thing. Here’s a list of plenty of non-notebook gifts that will keep you in the good graces of that special writer in your life all year long.
1. Aqua Notes
Sometimes the best ideas for stories, characters or blog post pop into our heads in the shower — but we forget about them when we move on with our day. Problem solved with Aqua Notes. This waterproof notepad can help document the greatest of ideas and grocery lists.
Since this phenomenon also happens in the brains of people who aren’t writers (research shows that creatives of all types have shower epiphanies), Aqua Notes could make a good gift for just about anyone.
2. The Writer’s Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the ‘Write’ Side of Your Brain
Sometimes a writer’s brain just feels stuck. For those moments, The Writer’s Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the ‘Write’ Side of Your Brain could come in handy. A creative writing teacher designed this kit that includes creative challenges, prompts and exercises to get in touch with the “write” side of your brain and have fun while doing it.
3. Space-age pen
Besides showering, another common burst-of-inspiration activity tends to be sleeping. The Fisher Space Pen Bullet, which will write in any angle (including upside down), will make a perfect accessory for their bed-side table. It’s a helpful tool to have handy if trying to write while lying down.
4. Out of print t-shirt, sweatshirt or tote bag
Some writer nerd clothing can be downright — well, nerdy. Out of Print tees, hoodies and totes, which feature the covers of iconic and often (you guessed it) out of print books, buck the norm and are actually fashionable. Plus these gifts do good; for every item they sell, Out of Print donates a book to Books for Africa to help a community that doesn’t have easy access to books.
You can also keep this gift idea in mind if your writer friend or family member has a small bookworm or two at home since Out of Print also sells kids’ and baby clothing.
5. Postcards from Penguin: One Hundred Book Covers in One Box
Sometimes, you should judge a book by its cover. Postcards from Penguin: One Hundred Book Covers in One Box pays tribute to the iconic Penguin paperback book covers and packs 100 of them into one (easy-to-wrap) box.
This gift also pays tribute to your recipient. Hopefully, they’ll be inspired to write 100 notes to loved ones or 100 very, very short stories.
6. Writer’s Block Cure
If only there were a magic potion that cures writer’s block. Oh wait, there is!
Writer’s Remedy is a bottle of magnetic poetry with words that get the creative juices flowing. Pickle, wrench, whisper, go!
7. Scrabble Magnets
Speaking of magnetic poetry, take it one step further and go for Scrabble Magnetic Refrigerator Tiles so your writer friend can not only create their own poetry, but also invent their own words.
8. Audible subscription
Writers’ brains are like ShamWows for words. So you can’t go wrong with a book, right?
But you can’t remember if your special writer prefers fiction or non-fiction, contemporary or 17th-century literature, sensational beach reads or Sci-Fi…
Remove the guesswork and opt for an Audible membership. They can use it to download audio books, magazines and newspapers to their smartphone, tablet, computer or almost any other device that plays audio. (Use this link and get 50% off your first three months!)
9. Stick-Up Weekly Calendar
One of the best techniques to meet a word count goal or improve one’s writing is to commit to doing a little bit every single day. And to do that, it helps to have a calendar to check off every single day’s accomplishment; then, you’re less likely to break the chain. Even Jerry Seinfeld swears by this technique.
Give the Stick-Up Weekly Calendar so your recipient can remember and visualize their daily goal.
10. Typewriter jewelry or cufflinks
11. Literary passport holder or luggage tags
If the writer in your life also loves to travel, the Penguin Shop sells a variety of items that could be just the perfect gift. Inspired by the classic Penguin covers of On the Road by Jack Kerouac and The Lost Girl by D. H. Lawrence, choose from luggage tags, passport holders and stainless steel water bottles.
12. Litograph tee, tote or poster
From a distance, each design represents a theme, character or setting from popular classics such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Great Gatsby and Little Women. But if you look closely, you’ll see the designs on each Litograph product are created from teeny tiny words — every word in the novel the design represents, in fact.
Bananagrams is an anagram game similar to Scrabble, but requires no pens, notepads or playing board. This makes it extremely easy to transport and play on-the-go. Players race against each other to build a crossword grid off each others’ words. And since writers tend to be word nerds, you’ll be setting them up for success with this gift.
14. Travel Scrabble
If Bananagrams isn’t quite enough to give your writer friend their on-the-go word building fix, there’s also Travel Scrabble. The tiles click into place and the board folds easily in the soft zipper case, so it’s easy to pause a game while traveling and pick back up where you left off.
15. Write like a motherf%#$*er mug
Inspired by a Dear Sugar column written by Cheryl Strayed to a young, aspiring writer, The Rumpus Mug is an anthem for all writers, no matter what their specialty, genre or level of experience. To become a writer, one must begin by writing. It’s a good reminder to go along with your morning coffee.
16. Writing guidebooks
We writers love to nerd out over… you guessed it, writing. Help your writer build their bookshelf, fine-tune their craft and actually make money from their writing with these writing memoirs and guidebooks.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
On Writing — A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
Write Like Freddy by Danny Iny (Update: Write Like Freddy isn’t available right now, but will be returning in 2016!)
You Are a Writer: So Start Acting Like One by Jeff Goins
The Writer’s Studio by Jeff Goins
17. Reading is Sexy swag
18. Pop Chart Labs literary poster
Pop Chart Labs is known for their beautifully designed infographic posters, and their literary themed posters are just the gift for a writer with blank wall space to fill. Check out The Great Gatsby Poster and The Cocktail Chart of Film and Literature Poster, which are available as framed or unframed prints.
19. Comfy pants
The great thing about being a full-time writer, blogger or novelist is that you can work from your couch. And this perk can also be a bad thing, because working from your couch doesn’t require pants.
Make sure that special writer in your life is wearing pants in the event a guest or the cable guy stops by. With Betabrand’s Black Dress Pants Sweatpants, made from super soft French terry fleece, they won’t even have to sacrifice comfort.
20. A healthy excuse to get out of the house
When focus is waning, it’s easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole of YouTube videos and blogs. Help your writer friend or family member get back on track with a healthy break in their day. Why not give them a gym membership or pass to a yoga studio? Doing the body good will improve their health and productivity so they can better meet their goals!
21. Healthy snacks to power through
When those deadlines are fast approaching, we’re often tempted to grab the saltiest, sugariest, least-healthy brain food to help us power through. Make sure they always have healthy snacks on hand with a subscription to Nature Box, which delivers a monthly box of dried fruits, nuts and other healthy treats.
22. A trophy for being awesome
That special writer in your life may be a few years or so away from winning the Nobel Prize in Literature or the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a special award for being an awesome writer! Trophy Buffet’s Greatest of All Time Trophy will look great on their bookshelf. (Update: This shop appears to be closed, but we can’t bear to remove it from the list — it’s such a good idea! You could probably DIY a trophy for your favorite writer with a thrift store trip, some craft supplies, and a lot of creativity.)
Are there any writing-related gifts you’re hoping to receive this holiday season?
This post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase through our links, you’re supporting The Write Life — and we thank you for that!