So your Significant Other likes to write? And you think that might be a rich seam to mine for Christmas gift ideas? Well, you'd be correct and you’re in the right place. I have here ten gift ideas to suit any budget; so let’s get right to it:
I can already hear your screams of protest. ‘They have lots of notebooks already! And they don’t even use most of them; they do almost all of their work on a computer and maybe one battered notebook, whilst the rest of the collection are squirrelled away somewhere in pristine condition.’ Well, honestly, that’s sort of the point. We love notebooks. Do you know what a blank notebook is? It’s an untold story. It’s a held breath. It’s potential incarnate. It’s a reassuring reminder that there is plenty still to come. I guarantee that however many notebooks the writer in your life has, it isn’t enough.
A writing getaway
Giving a writer the gift of space and time in which to work is one of the greatest gifts you can give. That might come in the shape of a formal managed writing retreat or simply a holiday cottage where they can be alone and focus for a while. This gift shows that you respect and support their craft and goals, and demonstrates that you’re making their passion a priority. This is a thoughtful and generous gift for any writer.
Go carefully with this one, as writers tend to have a set way of working. Writing software doesn’t suit everyone and the ones that do lean towards one will likely have a preference. Writing software tends to come with a free trial, so perhaps suggest that the writer in your life tries out a few and then buy them a subscription for the one they liked best.
Tactical reading material
Great writers tend to also be great readers but time is usually the enemy; when you’re reading, you’re not writing (or sleeping). If there’s a book that the writer in your life really wants then you probably already know about it. If you want to surprise them, you can’t go wrong with something they haven’t read in a genre they enjoy or in which they write. Short story or poetry collections are wonderful gifts, as you can dip in and out when you have a spare ten minutes, instead of trying to find the time to commit to something full length. If you want to really raise your game, buy them an audiobook or audiobook subscription, so they can enjoy the words of others while checking off the things like exercise, travel or domestic jobs, which you can’t get out of doing but nevertheless eat into your writing time.
A voucher for an exciting experience or lesson
Writers and great imaginations tend to come as a package deal, but the best writers draw on what they know to add pearls of truth to even the most fantastical fiction. One of the greatest things you can do for a writer is to expand their horizons; a voucher for an exciting experience, a lesson in something (like horse riding or axe throwing) or a trip to see or experience something new will add to the personal library of inspiration your writer has at their disposal.
Is there any more representative and quintessential gift for a writer than a beautiful pen? I hoard pens like I hoard notebooks and I’ve been given a couple of really nice pens as gifts over the years, both of which became immediate everyday items for me and which I get a great deal of pleasure from using. If you really want to push out the boat, a Mont Blanc is pretty much guaranteed to make a writer go weak at the knees but there are plenty of other brands which carry more affordable price tags and you could add a personal touch by having it engraved. I know, I know - the writer in your life does most of their work on a computer. Doesn’t matter. You seriously can’t go wrong with this one.
A subscription to a writing magazine
Another little luxury for writers. Writing magazines bring together lots of useful and interesting snippets of information like tutorials, competitions, writing industry updates etc. This is a straightforward quality of life gift that keeps giving all year round.
Art is a lovely gift but quite subjective in nature. I’m a fiction junky, so I absolutely adore artwork from my favourite worlds. I have classic comic book covers blown up on canvas in my office, a blueprint of the Enterprise, stunning game artwork on my desktop… Frankly, I might be tempted to trade a body part for an oil painting of Imladris. Seeing those beloved worlds brought to life is really very special. Framed maps and illustrations from favourite works will bring a smile to a writer’s face every time they are looked at.
Text to speech software
Alright, this one sounds a bit unusual, and it is. Using text to speech software is all about editing and it gives the writer two really key things: a different perspective on their work and time. Putting your work into a different format puts distance between the writer and the words; have you ever read over the same mistake again and again, because you’re not expecting to see it and you know what it’s supposed to say, so you effectively become blind to it? Well, it happens to writers too; but now imagine having to try and spot those mistakes you’re blind to over an entire manuscript. By listening to your work read out, you can easily pick up mistakes and you can get a new appreciation for the flow of your prose. And time? Well, it’s the one thing that 99.9% of writers don’t have very much of, so if you can listen to a run through of your draft while you’re out walking the dog or driving somewhere then it’s a huge win. Really good text to speech software doesn’t tend to be free and it is a bit of a luxury item, so this is a fantastic gift to give.
A Folio Society Edition
Folio Society is the Mont Blanc of books. Yes, it’s indulgent, but we writers revere books. Find out what your writer’s favourite books are or best beloved works from childhood and pick up a Folio edition. Even a second hand copy in great condition is a winner. Folio editions embody a passion for literature, an abiding love and respect for storytelling. One day, we’d all love to write something worthy of being turned into literary treasure by the Folio Society. It doesn’t matter if they already have a paperback copy (or several) of The Hobbit or Dune, they will be absolutely over the moon with this gift.
This year, we've been taking Christmas tropes and abusing them in the best possible way. Keep your eyes open for our Twistmas series, featuring unconventional Christmas themed short fiction and poetry, coming to the website on December 20th.
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Imagery by Nina Mercado, Aaron Burden, John Jennings, Tobias Keller and Ben White via Unsplash