What do you give someone who enjoys spending hours alone with nothing but a computer, pen and paper? Whether you’re shopping for a critique partner, or trying to encourage a nervous newbie, finding the perfect gift for a writer can be challenging.
Here are some suggestions for those times when “writing stuff” is on the wish list:
The Gift of Technology: Nothing says, “I love you and want to support your writing” quite like a new computer. Load it up with popular writing software, like WriteWayPro or Scrivener, and you’ve got a sure hit.
Too expensive? How about an e-reader? It’s a must-have in the publishing world these days. With local libraries now lending e-books, this may be one gift that saves money in the long run.
If your writer loves the feel of a paper book in her hands, consider a barcode reader, which will allow her to catalog her library with a swipe of the hand.
Looking for something a little more romantic? Consider a trip to the setting of her current work-in-progress.
If those are out of your price range, how about dinner and a literary outing? Attending a presentation by a favorite author can be a life-changing event for a writer.
The Subscriptions: There are literally dozens of magazines devoted to the craft of writing. A subscription to Writer’s Digest or Publisher’s Marketplace might be the perfect gift for the writer who wants to follow industry trends.
Another choice might be a subscription to a periodical related to the topic of their novel. For example, a writer of historical fiction might enjoy a magazine dedicated to her chosen time period. A mystery writer might prefer one devoted to forensics.
Writers love stories in all their forms. Don’t limit yourself to the written word. Consider a subscription to a premium movie channel or a DVD-by-mail or streaming video service.
If your writer is strapped for cash, she might appreciate a year’s membership to a writers’ organization such as Romance Writers of America (RWA), The Society for Children’s Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), or Partners in Crime.
The Books: It’s hard to imagine a writer who wouldn’t appreciate a gift card to her local bookstore. We posted a list of our favorite books on writing here for those who want to put something a little larger under the tree.
Again, don’t forget all the quirky reference books on odd topics only a novelist could love. (Maps of 19th century London, anyone?)
The Stress-Busters: Between deadlines and rejections, writing can be a stressful career. If you’re shopping for a professional, she probably already has all the tools of the trade, and might not appreciate being reminded of her work on the holidays. Dinner out, a massage, or a trip to the spa might be the perfect gift to revive her creative spirit.
The Gift of Time: The best gift for writers may not cost anything at all. Most would be thrilled to have a few uninterrupted hours to get their stories down on paper. Volunteer to watch the kids or take on some other chore to give your writer more free time. It may not sound like much, but it’s a gift that will be truly appreciated.
There you have my list of gifts for the writer in your house. Have I left anything out? Writer friends, what gift have you most appreciated on your road to publication?