Holiday Gifts for Writers

Feeling in a festive mood? I have a bounty of holiday gift ideas for writers that will knock your socks off. And if you’re a writer wondering what to give your friends and family, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with some of these ideas, too. 😉

Books, incredible books ...

The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One (Margaret Lobenstine)

When I first heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. I’ve struggled for years with feeling disloyal, like I wasn’t passionate enough, if I felt as strongly about anything else as I did about writing. It’s so hard to be creative when you’re denying who you really are, but I wasn’t sure how to address the balance, or at least I wasn’t until I read this book!

While The Renaissance Soul wasn’t written specifically for writers, it could have been. If you’ve ever wondered how to balance your writing with another passion, like art or gaming or swimming, you need to read this book. If you’ve struggled to blend your writing into a life filled with family and work, you need to read this book. If you’re a writer who feels guilty about the time you spend writing, you need to read this book.

This is one of the most practical, affirming, and genuine books I’ve ever read about people who have creative souls, and it’s at the top of my list of recommendations for just about every writer I meet.

A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life (Judy Reeves)

This is the most comprehensive, useful book of writing prompts I’ve ever encountered. Judy Reeves offers up a different prompt for each day of the year, suited for a variety of genres, blocks, and writing styles. She also includes short essays and advice on different aspects of the life of a writer, such as healing through writing and being vulnerable on the page. Some of her pieces, such as the one on wordplay, come with even more suggestions and prompts! You could work through this book for a year and never once get bored or feel like you’re just doing the same old, same old.

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction (Jeff VanderMeer)

Wonderbook is the most stunningly beautiful writing book I’ve ever encountered. You can look at the pictures and illustrations for ages, and your imagination will run wild. It’s not just visually beautiful, however; it’s packed full of advice on everything from worldbuilding to revision, both from the author and writers like Neil Gaiman and Ursula K. Le Guin.

While there is some content within aimed especially at writers of fantasy and science fiction, there’s more than enough about creativity and fiction writing in general that it would be worth the price for any fiction writer.

If you’re easily overwhelmed, I’d recommend taking it a page or two at a time. Read it straight through from beginning to end, which is how the author suggests experiencing it at first - and yes, this book is an experience, one you won’t soon forget.

Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance (Rosanne Bane)

If you’ve ever wanted a scientific explanation to satisfy your nosy neighbor about why you’re struggling with writer’s block, this is the book for you. It’s immensely practical and has one of the clearest, most useful approaches to writer’s block I’ve ever encountered. Rosanne Bane makes it feel like something tangible that can be overcome rather than something ethereal and insurmountable, which is no mean feat.

It’s also fascinating reading for anyone interested in the inner workings of the mind and the construction of habits, which describes many writers I know, myself included. If you’re one of us, definitely check this one out!

Thinking a little outside the box ...

Fingerless gloves

Whether we’re writing by hand or by machine, chances are there will come a time when the wind’s whistling and the heater can’t quite keep up with the chill. It’s hard to concentrate on writing when your trembling hands struggle to keep up. Fingerless gloves alleviate a great deal of that discomfort, letting you write for hours more (or at least until your chirpy toddler/rambunctious dog/excitable roommate scoots in)!

If you want to buy a pair of fingerless gloves for yourself or a writer friend, I’d suggest looking at Etsy. Alternatively, if you're a crafty sort, why not make some yourself? They work up quickly and don't take a whole lot of yarn, either!


One thing you can be sure of with a writer is that we read. Copiously. (And then we use words like “copiously” because we saw it in a book once.) And some of us are a wee bit particular about marking the spot in the book where we stop for the night. Some don’t mind dog-earing the pages, while to others that’s a sin worse than eating all the chocolate in the house.

Find some bookmarks that (a) are cute/have a wonderful quote/look like David Tennant, (b) stay in place, and (c) don’t ruffle the pages, and we’ll share our gratitude until the cows come home! Or at least until the next book comes along, demanding our attention.

Tea Sampler

Writers spend a lot of time curled up in one spot, poring over pages of a manuscript or scribbling away in a notebook. In the colder months, many of us tend to be accompanied by a pot of tea, and while we can be creatures of habit, it’s fun to try something new once in a while. It could even jumpstart our creativity! 😉 Check out your local tea store to pick up a sampler in person or have one delivered!

Create a Book Cover

One of the things that can help us stay the course along a lengthy, twisty road (like the path we follow to write a novel!) is visualizing the things we’re looking forward to. For those of us pursuing publication, one of those things would be seeing our book’s cover for the first time. Why not bring that joy to one of your fellow writers by having a cover designed (framed, even) for their work-in-progress? After all, who says a book has to be finished before it can have a cover?

Design it yourself, if you possess the skillset, or commission an up-and-coming graphic designer to make something brilliant. Don’t forget to include the author’s name as well as the current title of their WIP!

Gifts of time ...

Gift Certificates

Every writer struggles sometimes to fit writing time in amongst the chaos of everyday life. This year, ease that burden a little for a writing friend by creating some handmade gift certificates for things like babysitting, dog walking, drycleaning  whatever is feasible for you to do on occasion that would free up a block of their time.

If this is a gift for a writing friend who lives at a distance, get them a gift certificate to a local service that can serve the same purpose!

“You Have All of Me” Date/Outing

Writing can be all-encompassing, if we allow it to be. That’s part of the fun, really. Anything we do or encounter is potential fodder for our stories.

It also means that we can get so engrossed that we fail to be fully present for the people we’re with. It’s hard to carry on a conversation when you’re brainstorming an idea in your head, filing away phrases for dialogue passages, or detangling a character snarl.

This holiday season, give the most important people in your life the gift of your presence: a shared activity at home or an outing with as little writing talk as possible, focusing instead on what you’re doing together and things that interest you both.

Memorialize an important event

Who in your life has experienced a momentous, joyful event this year? Maybe a birth, or a completed marathon, or taking their business full-time?

Commemorate this milestone in writing, be it a short story, a poem, or creative nonfiction. If you were there, you can draw inspiration from your own memory. If you weren’t there, gather information from friends and family who were, and memorialize this event for the person to look back on in future.

Create a writing or work-in-progress soundtrack

Remember all that time you spent on YouTube, scouring videos for the perfect background music to write by? Save yourself, or a fellow writer, some time in future by putting together a custom soundtrack.

Create a playlist (or several) suited to particular types of writing, with different pieces for tragic scenes, battle scenes, romantic scenes, or a specific work-in-progress, choosing songs the characters might listen to or that particularly evoke the feel of a certain section. Keep in mind preferences for instrumental music versus music with vocals, especially if this is a gift for someone else: some writers get hopelessly distracted by vocals in songs, while others prefer it.

Once you're ready, create a playlist on Spotify or YouTube with these bespoke music selections and share away!

Empower a loved one with your writing

What’s one thing your loved one has been wanting to do but not quite scrounged up the courage for? Write a story about them turning this goal into a reality. Put your imagination to work as you depict how they might go about it and how it could make them feel, in as vivid detail as you can muster.

As writers, we know full well how self-doubt can hinder the road to our dreams, and how much it helps when someone believes in us. Don’t just tell them: show them with this most precious of gifts that you believe they’re capable of hiking the Camino or going back to school or orchestrating a groundbreaking event for their nonprofit organization.

While the holidays are about far more than what we get under the tree or in our stockings, there's something precious about watching someone's face light up when you give them a gift that comes from the heart. What's on your shopping/crafting list this year?