Monday, December 7, 2015

10 Gifts for Writers They'll Actually Use

Now that you’ve survived pre-Black Friday, Black Friday, pre-Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday and the entire Cyber week, you may find there is still one person on your list that no gadget, game, or gift card seems to fit. I’m talking about the writer in your life. And no doubt, you’ve exhausted the number of different notebooks, journals, coffee mugs, pens, t-shirts, pillows, bookmarks and tote bags, and are wondering, what you could give that would be useful to that dear writer you know. So in no particular order of importance or preference, I’ve listed ten gifts that will not only impress the writer in your life, they'll demonstrate how much you understand and support his or her writing:

1. Scrivener Writing SoftwareIf your novelist or memoirist isn’t already using this software, this might be their next best friend. The software helps a writer outline and structure their manuscript, organize notes and research, and easily manage their book project from start to finish. Downloads of the software run $40-$45

2. Single-serving coffee makerStarbucks or other coffee shop gift cards are always a welcome treat, but writing in those places can sometimes be less than ideal. Not only that, the entire endeavor can end up being more of a distraction and time waster for your writer. So rather than having him go to the café, have the café there at home (pastries and cookies are optional) with a single serving coffee maker. Machines can be pricey, but you can pick up a good one for $100 or less.

3. Kindle or NookMost writers are avid readers. While they'll always appreciate print books, they can't carry or house all the books they'd love to read. With an e-reader, they can carry an entire library wherever they go. Right now, holiday sales are going on, and you can pick one up for less than $100.

4. Spotify subscriptionMusic can not only help a writer get in the mood to write, it can inspire the creation of worlds and characters. Music can illicit emotions that turn into lush settings and atmospheric scenes. An individual premium subscription is $10 a month, but why not treat everyone in your family with a subscription? Until the end of the month, you can get the family plan for the same price.

5. Headphones–A good set of headphones can help free a writer from external distractions and immerse him or her in the world of their characters or focus on the right words for an emotional scene. They are available everywhere, so holiday sales are sure to have them, but do your research first. You can spend very little or a whole lot, depending on your budget, but a decent pair headphones will run around $100.

6. Audible membership–Good readers make good writers but if they’re busy writing and juggling other aspects of their life like jobs, spouses and children, they may not have time to open a book or turn on an e-reader. With Audible, while commuting, working out, or working around the house, they can be reading with their ears. After the trial membership, the monthly fee is $15. 

7. Dragon Speech Recognition software–You can help boost your writer’s productivity with dictation software. It enables a writer to ramble away and create his first draft without letting his inner editor get in the way. This software is especially helpful for writers who are slow typists or who have physical issues that make using a keyboard difficult. Normally, the software costs $150 to $250. Right now the company has download versions on sale for up to 50% off, and you can get it for even less on Amazon.

8. Editorial services–Before the author in your life sends off her novel out into the world, whether to an agent or indie publisher or straight to self-publishing, she should have an editor go over it. The cost of these services can vary widely, but bear in mind, the adage “you get what you paid for” absolutely applies here.  

9. Photography services–Part of the writing life involves promotion and marketing, and it starts with a professional headshot. The cost varies for these services, depending on your area and how much you’re willing to spend. Either way, your beloved writer will be so appreciative when she can finally replace the selfie that's on Twitter or on her website. 

10. Writing workshop or webinar– A writing workshop or class provides a great environment for your writer to connect with other writers, receive constructive feedback and get inspired to stay on their writing path.There may be organizations in your area that offer writing workshops and classes. Start with your neighborhood library and local bookstores. Costs can range anywhere from $50 to $350 and depend on a variety of factors, including subject matter, teacher, class length, availability, etc. If there are none happening locally, Writer’s Digest offers online workshops and live webinars throughout the year. Speakers and teachers are usually publishing industry experts. Fees are reasonable, and classes are accessible anywhere your writer lives.   

Most of the people who have an idea for a book won’t end up writing it. That’s because they quickly find writing a book is a long road of hard work. So for the writer in your life, the best gifts are the gifts that help them write every day. They convey your support and belief in them, and more importantly, help them achieve their writing goals. 


  1. Those are great ideas, Lisa! I may just leave my laptop open with this on the screen for subtle hints. ;)

    In gratitude,
    Marissa xo

    1. Thanks! Hope Santa puts one of these gifts under the tree for you!

  2. Great post in time for the holidays!

  3. I'm forwarding this to everyone I know!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Great idea! There may be a few happy writers opening gifts this year.

  4. Thank you for giving me so much to think about writers. Everyone has his own perspective about different thing. Writer just write what they observe and think. We must learn about writing techniques. Here are which helps you in making great personal statement.

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