Readers of a popular email-based newsletter recently submitted gift ideas for the writers in your life.
I had thoughts.
Best gift for writers: Nothing original about a Moleskine notebook, but it works for anyone who can’t resist jotting down thoughts, ideas, research, etc. I love to receive one and they are not expensive! —Henry Brown
Moleskine notebooks are expensive. Not exorbitantly priced but more expensive than nearly every other notebook on the planet. Also, the perceived preciousness of a Moleskine notebook is a little tiresome.
The Moleskine notebook is the equivalent of the skier who doesn’t remove the tags from their coat in order to let the whole damn world know how often they hit the slopes.
It’s the notebook for the the person who wants to look like they write.
There is not room for preciousness in the brutal trenches of a writer’s life.
GrammarStuff.com: original plates and mug designs emblazoned with grammar rules. So cute! —Carey Henry Keefe
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t want grammar rules emblazoned on my plates, and I can’t imagine any writer that would.
Do coal miners want images of coal dust etched on their dinner plates?
Do seamstresses want needle and thread displayed on their mugs?
Do plumbers want toilets emblazoned on their cereal bowls?
I doubt it. Same goes for writers with grammar rules. The last thing we want to see when we’re relaxing is a grammar rule.
Also, is there anyone who wants to read the same grammar rule every time they sit down for dinner?
So far the best received gift has been a bottle of Irish whiskey called Writers’ Tears. —Rob Mountford
This is not a gift for writers. This is a gift for people who like to drink who also happen to write.
Gift card to their favorite hangout or coffee shop. Ten bucks will get you one afternoon’s worth of joe and some quiet time. —Nikki Brock
Most writers write at home. Most people who want to be someday be writers write in coffee shops.
Best gift for writer? Time. Give a writer time to work on a project. As simple as handling a couple of chores so the writer can keep working or as generous as paying some or all of the fees for a retreat or B&B or cottage so they can escape to write. —Ruth E. Walker
Time. Yes. Mow a writer’s lawn. Take their kids to the museum. Paint their fence. Time is a beautiful gift for everyone, including writers.
But writing retreats? Bed & breakfasts? Cottages? If you want to write, you don’t need any of these things. If you want to use writing as an excuse to enjoy an overly pampered weekend getaway, go right ahead. But if you want to write, you don’t need a cottages and picnic baskets to do it.
A salt lamp for the writing desk with a bottle of essential oil to sprinkle on it when it’s turned on. It sets a nice mood and smells good! (Turn it on to write, then turn it off when I’m done. It’s become part of my writing routine.) —Angela Eckhart
A don’t understand any of this.
Hands down, AquaNotes: I get some of my best ideas in the shower, and this handy item suction-cups to the shower wall, with a pencil, and keeps me from having to remember a plot point while I’m washing, rinsing, and repeating. —Dina Santorelli
While it’s true that many ideas come to me in the shower, I am also able to retain these ideas for the five minutes I need to rinse off before exiting the shower and popping the note into my phone. This gift only serves to prolong showers, which is a waste of time and the perfect way to kick the planet in the teeth by wasting more hot water than necessary.
Want to give a writer an excellent gift?
Offer to read their work. Be honest, specific, and most importantly, kind.
If they are published, rate and leave a review of their book or books on any or all of the social media and bookish platforms.
Give their books as holiday gifts.
Take over a chore for a day, a week, a month, or a season so that they have the time needed to write.
If you genuinely want to help a writer with their craft, these gifts will be a lot more helpful than any fancy notebook, essential oil, or bottle of themed whiskey.