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Best Gifts For Writers

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As the winter holidays roll around, you may be wondering about the best way to show a token of appreciation for the writers in your life. Picking out gifts for them can be tricky because, unlike many other occupations and hobbies, there’s not much gear involved in the life of the pen. Plus, writers are notoriously idiosyncratic—there’s no go-to gift sure to please them all. Whether you’re shopping for a trusted employee or subcontractor, or a friend or family member, here are some from-the-source tips on what writers want and need in a range of price points. 

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Professional Upgrades

Some writers are dyed-in-the-wool hand writers, while others are keyboard-only. Most fall somewhere in between, delegating certain tasks like notes, outlines, or redline edits to pen and paper while word processing the rest. The most obvious category choice is tools to help them do what they do best the way they like to do it. Tread carefully here (or include a gift receipt) because writers tend to stick to the products that they work with daily. High-quality versions of basics like writing implements, paper products, and writing-oriented electronics are good bets. Check out these options for inspiration.

Pens

  • Budget Option

They aren’t fancy, but Pilot G2 Rolling Ball Gel Pens are beloved by so many writers that they deserve a mention. Refillable and available in a wide array of colors (though we suggest sticking with black, blue, and red), a multi-pack is a beautiful thing to receive. Opt for the 0.7mm size for the traditionalist or 1.0 for the bold enthusiast, and feel free to re-wrap to make them feel more festive. 

  • Mid-Range Option

You’ve probably never heard of the Baron Fig Squire Click, but that’s because it’s a secret cult favorite. Slim, light, and wildly comfortable to write all day with, the gently priced ($45) ballpoint will quickly become anyone’s go-to pen. (It’s also available as a rollerball.) 

  •  Spendy Option 

If you’re trying to drop some serious coin, a Montblanc is the obvious choice (though, truth be told, it’s a bit too heavy for daily writing and is better suited to signing books or checks). The Salman Rushdie-approved Meisterstück Red Gold-Coated Classique, which retails at $420, is a contemporary ballpoint that carries with it the timeless seal of elegance that Montblanc exemplifies. Try not to leave it in your pants pocket. 

Journals

  • Budget Option

It was good enough for Hemingway, so a Moleskine is probably good enough for your recipient, too. Even tech-heavy writers sometimes have the need to take offline notes, so go with a pocket-size classic rule and choose from a sweet range of colors for just $17. 

  • Mid-Range Option

Surf-inspired AllSwell notebooks are chic and lightweight, boasting original photography and recycled materials. Pages are half lined, half blank to indulge necessary doodles and outline sketches for $24. 

  •  Spendy Option 

For a notebook that will last a lifetime, opt for a portfolio-style holder, which you fill and refill with notepad paper (don’t forget to include some extra pads in the package). Tumi’s is gorgeous and versatile enough to gel with most style vibes (though worth noting that it is leather, and thus not ideal for a vegan).  If you’re sure they won’t want to exchange or regift, you can opt for a monogram. 

 Electronics

  • Budget Option

With a Rocket Pad, you can take notes (with the special included pen) on what feels like a regular spiral-bound notebook, but then you can instantly upload to your computer as a PDF. Choose from many size options—the six-by-nine notebook is just $17.

  •  Mid-Range Option

Scrivener is project management software designed for creative writers, with features like integrated notes, visual note carding of scenes and chapters, and research index files for characters, settings, and research troves. The $49 download includes lifetime access to the program. 

  •  Spendy Option 

The Freewrite Traveler is a dedicated word processor (aka an “eTypewriter”)—no web browser, no email, no pile of distracting files or Wordle. Just you and the page, with an incredible (like, four weeks incredible) battery life, a full-sized keyboard, and a one million word memory capacity with cloud syncing, all in a 1.6 pound package that goes for $499. 

Writer Self Care

Spend enough hours hunched over a desk blasting blue light into your eyes, and self-care becomes less about luxury and more about maintenance. Though writing is a cerebral activity, it asks a lot of the body in terms of wear and tear and the practice of using it as an instrument of the mind. Whether it’s sleep disturbance from screens, carpal tunnel syndrome, or tech neck (or all three) that plagues your writer, chances are they could use an upgrade in the body department. Here are some options that every working writer could benefit from. 

Blue Light Blocking

  • Budget Option

The Eye Just blocker is a screen that covers your computer screen, automatically shielding you from the sleep-cycle-disturbing effects of blue light. Priced at $42, you will need to know (or guess) the size of the computer you’re buying for. 

  • Mid-Range Option

Warby Parker’s stylish blue light-blocking glasses will be a welcome gift to anyone who stares at a computer screen for long hours. Frames start at $95, come with a free home try-on, and can accommodate prescriptions. 

  • Spendy Option 

Avoid looking like a dork in Zoom meetings with Buddy Holly chic Ray-Ban Wayfarers, which now come with blue light-blocking lenses for $299. 

Tech Neck Solutions

  • Budget Option

A gift subscription to the TechNeck.app ($29.99 for a year of Premium) will provide your writer with a ping every so often that prompts them through some guided stretching for the neck and shoulder girdle. 

  •  Mid-Range Option

A simple keyboard/laptop riser can make a world of difference, but many are ugly. Upgrade the writer in your life with the design-forward Artifox laptop shelf for $115.

  •  Spendy Option 

A session package from a local physical therapist is probably the most impactful intervention for tech neck. Your writer can learn workspace hacks, strength and conditioning exercises, and work one on one with the provider to address their specific areas of pain (trust us, every writer has some). 

Carpal Tunnel Treatments

  • Budget Option

A simple hand rest can make long hours of typing less strenuous on the hands and wrists. Etsy has some cute stylish options to choose from in the $20 range. 

  •  Mid-Range Option

A digital membership to a bodywork program like Kinstretch can do a world of good for the desk-bound writer’s body. Subscriptions start at $30 monthly. 

  •  Spendy Option 

Massage and acupuncture can both be highly effective for persistent carpal tunnel pain. Your best bet is to find a local provider in your gift recipient’s area and send a gift certificate. 

Creative Inspo

There are different ways of thinking, and when you spend too much time deep in analytical mode, like many writers do, it can be soothing to sink into playful and pleasurable uses of the mind. Whether they’re task-oriented (like books on the craft of writing),  pleasure-oriented (like fanciful creative work broken up into short forms for maximum digestibility), or intentionally separate from the act of writing (like adult coloring books), a gift that offers a way to tap into the creative mind is a gift every writer needs. 

Craft Books

Look to beloved authors for craft books on the art and life of writing, like John McPhee’s Draft No. 4, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. If your writer is open to “new age” ideas, Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is another hugely popular text amongst the creative set. 

Coloring Books

There are tons of adult coloring book choices out there, but none better than the architectural masterpiece Fantastic Cities, which presents real-world architecture in a bird’s eye view for the reader/artist to explore, pen in hand. Or, for a totally different vibe, check out Sasha O’Hara’s Calm the F*ck Down. Pair either title with some Prismacolor Premier colored pencils to make a cute package.  

The BA Series

When you’ve spent the whole workday reading and writing, delving into an entire book in the evenings can be a big ask. Enter the Best American series, which brings together each year’s most excellent shorter work to chip away at, one essay or short story at a time. 

The Art of Giving

Gifts have the power to define a relationship, so think carefully about the writers on your shopping list. What do you know about them, and what would you like them to know about you? In selecting a present that they will truly use and love, you are showing respect for what they do, and that is always appreciated, whether it’s coming from an in-law or an employer.