What to buy a writer? It can be quite the conundrum for writers and non-writers alike. We each have different processes, different tastes, different approaches to writing—what then can we buy that goes beyond the basic ‘pen and notebook’? Here are my top five gift ideas for writers to help anyone struggling to find that perfect present.
Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to suggest notebooks, but Paperblanks journals are a weakness of mine. With a wide range of gorgeous covers in many different styles and sizes, Paperblanks make a wonderful gift for a writer.
Buy a small notebook that fits snuggly into bags and pockets for writing on the go or opt for a larger journal that wouldn’t look out of place in an antique bookshop—or something in between! Whatever design you choose, Paperblanks add a touch of elegance to a writer’s collection, not to mention look stunning on their bookshelves!
If Microsoft Word doesn’t meet all of a writer’s needs, there’s a good chance Scrivener will. This word processor allows you to organise and move between your chapters and scenes with ease, order index cards for each scene on a corkboard, and keep folders full of research, notes, character interviews and more in the same file as your story—no more switching between documents and trawling through folder after folder looking for where you saved the notes on your main character’s uncle’s best friend’s cat.
Another plus about Scrivener is that, although it’s made with writers in mind, it can be used to complete other projects as well. I used it to write this article, as I do with all my blog posts, and organising and writing my assignments for university is made so much simpler by Scrivener. It’s a great all-round writing programme and I heartily recommend it.
(Bonus: If you took part in NaNoWriMo 2013, you can get up to a 50% discount!)
3. Write or Die
This is a particularly great gift for word sprinters. Load up the desktop version of Write or Die, enter your word count goal and your time limit, then hit ‘write’ and start to type… and don’t stop, because, if you do, there’ll be consequences. Should you stop writing for longer than your ‘grace period’ allows, brace yourself for alarming sounds (think of blaring car horns), unpleasant images (yucky creepy-crawlies) and, if you’ve selected ‘kamikaze mode,’ disappearing words!
Okay, when you phrase it like that, Write or Die sounds a bit scary. In truth, it is scary, but in the same way a rollercoaster is—while the sudden twists and drops of the ride get your heart pounding and adrenaline rushing, the consequences in Write or Die send your fingers flying across the keys and your imagination soaring. As long as you keep that pesky inner editor gagged and bound, Write or Die is a writer’s best friend.
4. Framed favourite quotes
When my motivation to write is low or I hit a stumbling block in my work-in-progress, I find inspiration in the words of others. My favourite quotes, about writing and life, litter my computer and my desk, on hand to pick me up when I’m feeling down.
One thing I find particularly inspirational—and beautiful—is a framed quote. It can hang on your wall or sit on a surface and remind you of what’s important in your life. So, if you want to give a writer a gift that’s both thoughtful and motivating, find out their favourite quote and make it a centrepiece in their room.
5. Time to write
As clichéd as it sounds, time is a very precious gift to many writers. With so many things to do, writing often takes a backseat, pushed aside for friends and family, housework and errands. If you’d like to give a writer a gift that isn’t so focused on the material, then respect their writing time and help them to keep it reserved for writing. Whether that’s by doing something as simple as making them a cup of tea or the more demanding task of keeping children occupied, anything you can do to keep writing time sacred is very much appreciated by writers.
What are some of your gift ideas for writers? Have you received a particularly lovely writing gift recently?