It’s that time of year again when we mere mortals scramble to find The Perfect Gift for the writers in our lives. I’ve wandered down fantasy lane of things I’ve loved this year and things I’d love to receive (Hi, Sweetie!) and compiled this list for you.
I just got Bluetooth earbuds for my birthday this year and I’m in love. Sure, writing is usually a sedentary activity, but there are moments when I suddenly realize I need something from the bookshelf or I have to shoo the cats away from a carefully assembled pile of papers and I end up yanking my headphones out of my ears or pulling my phone off the desk and watching it crash to the floor.
Yet, earbuds can be so expensive. I searched for cheaper options and found this great article by The New York Times where they ranked the EarFun Free 2 the best earbuds under $100. They found it had great sound, good battery life, and felt nice in your ears.
My friend Barbara introduced me to my newest temptation, the reMarkable. It’s the size of a single-subject school notebook and it feels like you’re writing on paper. It interacts with your phone and computer to help download emails and Word documents. They get converted into a PDF and you can then write on it with comments and edits. She’s a professor and uses it to comment on her students’ assignments, keep student meeting notes, and she just downloaded some textbooks onto her remarkable she needed for citation materials. (A huge opportunity for those writing creative non-fiction to stay organized.)
You can convert what you’ve written to type-written text and send it to your Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft Drive. For $299 it’s not exactly cheap, but it keeps your notes organized, allows you a certain closeness with your creative work, and the battery lasts for 1-2 weeks. Plus, it doesn’t have an internet browser removing the internet distraction.
The Best Pen for Signing Books
Do you have a soon-to-be published author in your life? They need the Pilot G2 Rollerball Gel Pens.
My friend and fellow author Diana Peterfreund (she wrote a ton of stuff including the YA Clue Trilogy) recommended these to me and they are hands down the best pen for signing books on the market. I used this on every copy of Her Dying Day I signed on my book tour this summer. They have a bold line, a smoothly flowing ink that doesn’t smear, and feels good in the hand.
Fashion and Design
A lot of authors, me included, tend to have chilly offices and our hands get cold as we type away on our manuscripts. To help keep the frostbite away, I love a nice fingerless glove. You can easily knit them (there are simple patterns out there great for beginning knitters) or you can buy a cute pair like these from an independent Etsy artist.
This shirt is so fun I had to include it. Nothing like proclaiming your allegiance to the things authors everywhere depend on. And you can never have enough writing t-shirts.
I love ballcaps. I pop one on when I’m gardening, or hiking, or when I have to run out of the house without brushing my hair. (This may or may not be a daily occurrence.) This one has a fun typewriter font embroidered on the front.
Typewriter Key Necklace
I’m a sucker for writer jewelry. My original list was 90% jewelry items. Showing an enormous amount of maturity, I edited myself down to just one.
This necklace is made from upcycled typewriter keys. The design is simple and elegant. I think it’s good for everyday or something fancier.
My book coach got one of these candles from another client and I was instantly intrigued. There’s a whole series of literary candles here with a fragrance that matches the genre mood of the author.
The Edgar Allen Poe candle is scented with Cardamom, Absynth, and Sandalwood. Ralph Waldo Emerson smells like Cedar and Wild Fern. You can find them in 6.5 ounce jarred pillars for $30 or in a small 3.5 ounce tin for $12. (If one of the tins doesn’t end up in my stocking I’ll be buying it for myself.)
The old standby for celebrating any writing victories is a bottle of bubbly. Or, if you’ve recently had some not-so-great news, a bottle of Writer’s Tears whiskey is at the ready. However, many in the writing world do not drink alcohol.
Before you turn to ginger ale, I recommend Lyre’s non-alcoholic sparkling wine and non-alcoholic spirits. They are flavorful substitutes that don’t feel second tier. While they only have one sparkling wine variety, they have loads of hard liquor substitutes that are perfect for whipping up a sophisticated cocktail. They even set cocktail sets in case you need inspiration.
What is a writer without a cup of tea (or coffee) by their side? Sad, that’s what. But you can fix that with a lovely Japanese teacup.
This teacup by Etsy seller EstherCreativeStudio is around $30 is great for tea or coffee. It’s got a pleasing rounded shape and a liquid-looking glaze I can’t take my eyes off.
Or, if you have a true tea lover and want to splurge, Tenmokus has some real works of art for a shit-ton of money. ($80 per cup but they’re absolutely gorgeous.)
They have teapots, too.
If you’re going to give a teacup or pot you’re also going to need tea. For recommendations I went to Courtney Milan’s tea newsletter. (Frankly, you should do yourself the favor of signing up for her tea newsletter. She’s a lawyer, tea connoisseur, and fantastic romance author – https://www.courtneymilan.com/courtneys-weekly-tea/)
One tea she mentions frequently is the premium tea cakes from White2Tea. In her newsletter, Courtney walks you through how to use a tea cake rather than a bag or loose tea, so don’t be afraid. Or you can splurge on the White2Tea Subscription Box (you can unsubscribe at any time by hitting the button at the bottom of the page I’ve linked to, so it’s easy to give a 2 or 3 month subscription).
AirBnB Gift Card
Every author dreams of writing their novel in a little cabin in the woods. Having your partner encouraging you to take time for yourself is an incredibly validating experience. Jesse Q. Sutanto, author of Dial A for Aunties, has often tweeted about her power-writing retreats in a hotel room away from her small child. She even has a thread about how she wrote 40K words in 72 hours.
A full-on trip away is a bit of a splurge, but the gift of space and time is one of the most valuable gifts you can give to a writer.