Christmas is right around the corner, and if you’re anything like me, you’re frantically rushing to finish up your holiday shopping. If you’re a writer, you might also (like me) find yourself completely at a loss when someone asks you what you want for Christmas. The older I get, the more I find I don’t want to accumulate new items in my home—the point of gift-giving isn’t so much the item I get so much as the gesture itself from a person I care about.
That being said, writers can be difficult to shop for and it can be hard to find gifts for aspiring writers. There are a few obvious choices (and we’ll talk about those later), but when it comes to writing, there’s really not a whole lot of material required—you need a pen and paper. Maybe a computer, if typing is your jam. Maybe a keyboard, if you want to be fancy about it.
Gifts for Aspiring Writers
But if you want to show your love to an aspiring writer with a stellar gift that signals your support—that can be hard. Like, really hard. Especially because so much of writing is deeply personal, and so much of the specifics can vary when it comes to genre.
So, what do you get for the aspiring writer in your life? Or if you are the aspiring writer in someone’s life, what do you ask for?
In this article, I’m going to cover some great, unique gifts for aspiring writers that won’t wind up collecting dust in some forgotten closet. Let’s get started!
#1 – Writing Software
While it’s possible to make do with a notebook or free software like Google Docs, there are lots of writing software options available for writers looking to optimize the experience of writing itself. These softwares will help writers keep their work organized by giving them places to categorize information about character, plot, and setting.
Writing software will also make it incredibly easy for writers to format their own work, whether they’re formatting their novels for self-publication or formatting them to send in for querying.
Here are a few software options that aspiring writers will love:
Microsoft Word ($130)
And, if your aspiring writer writes fantasy, they’ll love WordAnvil, which is software designed to help with worldbuilding.
#2 – Journals—Seriously
It might seem too obvious to get a writer a journal, but writers can never have enough notebooks. Here are a few options:
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a writer a good notebook. A few simple college-ruled notebooks like this will definitely be useful, and you can find them almost anywhere. These are great to add to a writer bundle along with a scented candle or tea sampler!
For a more luxurious writing experience, you can’t go wrong with a hardcover notebook like this. The ruled option is great, but if your aspiring writer has big handwriting or generally prefers to have more creative freedom with their work, the dotted version of this notebook might be better for them.
These simple college-ruled notebooks have numbered pages, which is perfect for an organized writer. They’re conveniently sized and perfect for jotting down whatever comes to mind—these are perfect to carry around all day.
If you’re looking for something more high-end that your writer can use forever, opt for a notebook with a quality cover and refillable pages. The refills mean that writers can order fresh paper (which is much less expensive than replacing the entire journal) and keep using the original cover.
#3 – Books About Writing
Aspiring writers are often hungry for guidance on writing, and they’re often (obviously) huge fans of books. So what could be better than a book about how to write? I’ve got a list here of options that are perfect for beginning writers.
Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us: A (Sort Of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Work is Being Rejected by Jessica Page Morrell
Morrell is a writing coach, developmental editor, and writing instructor, and this book is a gold mine of valuable information. I’d been writing for years before I came across this book, and I learned a lot. Morrell addresses common writerly pitfalls and explains how to correct them in a way that’s accessible and often very funny.
This is often pointed to as the book about writing, and if you’ve read no other book about the craft, you’ve probably read this one. It was assigned in my creative writing seminar course in college. Stephen King shares advice from a long, complicated career, and even if you’re not a writer, it’s a fascinating read.
Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder has long been established as a classic of the ‘how to write’ genre, and now Random House has an edition of it meant specifically for novelists. If your aspiring writer is a screenwriter, go for Snyder’s edition, and if they’re a novelist, check out Brody’s.
This book is praised as a thoroughly honest guide to not only writing itself, but the lifestyle which accompanies writing. If you want a guide that’s truthful about the process and also offers insight from someone who’s been doing this for a long time, look no further.
#4 – Tea/Cocoa/Coffee supplies
Writers are famously fussy, as much as they might try to deny it, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many writers who don’t have rituals surrounding their work. And central to many writers’ process is a cozy beverage—this might be a cocktail, a cup of something warm, or a can of their favorite soda. If you want to help out the writer in your life, but you don’t know much about writing, here’s how to help:
You can get your writer a big tin of delicious hot cocoa mix from the store and it will be warmly, gratefully received. But if you want to go the extra mile, try making a hot cocoa mix from scratch! I recommend including this in that bundle idea I mentioned earlier—put this in a basket with a scented candle and a nice notebook and you’ve got a writer kit!
Tea Sampler and Infuser
Does your aspiring writer love tea? Many of them do. If you don’t know what kind of tea they love, you can’t go wrong with a sampler (and, of course, a cute infuser to keep them company while they’re working on their next masterpiece).
You’d be hard-pressed to find a writer who doesn’t have a mild-to-severe caffeine problem, or at least a deep love of coffee. The Awesome Coffee Club, founded by the Green brothers, offers delicious coffee that’s ethically sourced. Here’s the quote from their site: “Sourcing partners work directly with small farmers’ collectives to ensure that your coffee is not only good for the growers but also farmed with a focus on regenerative agriculture.” If your aspiring writer is a nerdfighter or person who generally cares about ethical consumption of delicious coffee, send a bag of coffee to them for Christmas.
#5 – Writing utensils
Like notebooks, this might seem like a no-brainer, but again, writers do require endless writing supplies. If you’re lucky enough to know what your writer’s favorite kind of pen or pencil is for everyday use, order them a big box so they never run dry. If you’re not sure, don’t worry: I’ve got a list here of different options.
For an affordable, everyday pen, you can’t go wrong with the S-Gel. I use these all the time and don’t personally notice a lot of bleeding like I do with other gel pens. The writing is incredibly smooth, the pen is comfortable to hold—you can’t go wrong.
At $20, this is your perfect mid-range pen. You can get ballpoint and gel versions of it, and the all-metal classic design makes it look just as luxurious as it feels to write with.
Another great budget option is this ballpoint pen, lauded for its durability, smooth design, and, of course, smooth writing. If your writer prefers pencils to pens, try the rOtring mechanical pencil for an upgraded writing experience. Reviewers say that the color wears off, revealing the brass underneath, and this lends it sort of a worn-in, personal detail.
#6 – Local book store gift card
Like I said before, any given writer is bound to be a reader (or at least they should be!). If you know enough about their taste in books to pick up a specific book from your local bookstore, perfect! If not, there’s no need to fret—you can still get them the gift of a wonderful new book.
Check out your local bookstore and get them a gift card. You can also get them an Amazon gift card if your city doesn’t have a local bookstore, but local bookstores have that personal, special touch that writers love. Not only are you giving them the chance to buy whatever book they want, but you’re giving them the chance to wander through a bookstore for an afternoon. For a writer, that’s, well, Christmas!
This is a great gift on its own, or toss it into that bundle with the cocoa mix and pack of pens.
#7 – Online writing courses
Books about writing and online content about writing are great places for writers to get information about guidance on their craft, but the fact is, many writers are desperate for personalized feedback. Even if you’re one of the lucky few writers who has a loved one willing to read your work, the chances of that loved one having professional-grade feedback are slim to none.
Writing courses offer writers the chance to actually get professional feedback on their work. They can be a total game-changer, and the advice they get in these courses can help them for the rest of their lives.
No big deal!
Here’s a few online courses for beginning writers. Check out the Coursera descriptions linked below for more information about pricing, time to complete, and information about for whom the classes are intended.
Is the aspiring writer in your life interested in writing a book? They won’t want to miss this book outline template: