Most gift guides for writers suggest things like pretty journals and fancy pens, which is really useful only for those who still write long hand. Since my handwriting looks like an epileptic spider got dipped in ink and turned loose on the page, I’ve accumulated an entire stack of unopened journals too nice to drop in the recycling bin. I’ll probably be crushed to death someday when the pile falls on me, which I guess would at least be a nicely ironic death for an author and might even snag me a Darwin Award.
Here then is a guide of really useful stuff to get the writer in your life:
- Hand-made soaps. Not because you’re supporting a craftsperson, or because of the calming benefits of aromatherapy, or anything like that. No, because those of us who work from home sometimes forget to bathe for days at a time. This gift will serve as a gentle reminder that writing a shower scene isn’t a substitute for taking one ourselves.
- A spare coffee maker for the office (or wherever your writer works) to ensure a continuous supply of caffeine. This is critical for those afternoon slumps, when our brains want a nap but we still have 1,000 words to go. Keurigs work great because the reservoir means we don’t have to keep leaving the room for water, but any model will do.
- Carbonite, or other form of automatic file backup. Have you ever seen a writer who just lost a few thousand words, or worse, an entire manuscript? Carrie at the prom had nothing on us. Get this for your own protection.
- Freedom, or similar internet-blocking software, because most of us have the attention span of an over-caffeinated squirrel. We’ll write for five minutes, go online to “look something up real quick” and spend the next three hours clicking links. Five, if we happen to end up on TVTropes.
- Booze. I’m not saying all writers drink, but there’s a reason most of the networking at conferences happens at the bar. And remember: a fine bottle of Scotch today will save you from being killed off in a novel tomorrow.
Does anyone have any further suggestions for author-friendly gifts? Let me know in the comments!