Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gifts for Writers (or Yourself)

Some people are last-minute shoppers, but I keep my eyes open all year for Christmas and birthday gifts. I still end up rushing around at the last minute looking for a present for hard-to-shop-for people, but that's better than rushing around at the last minute looking for presents for everyone.

Right now is an especially good time to look for gifts for writers because office supply stores, craft stores, and drugstores are having deep discounts on many basic office necessities—wire-ring notebooks, binders, pens, Sharpies, USB drives, wireless mice, colored pencils...the list goes on. Without venturing to more than a nearby store or two this week, you can take care of holiday or birthday gifts for the writers on your list with such things as:
  • Gift basket for making collages (for a writer who starts each book that way) containing such things as posterboard, tape, glue, pushpins, colored markers or pencils, or a bunch of old magazines you haven't gotten around to throwing away yet. Depending on what genre your friend writes in, you could toss in a subscription to a fashion magazine, People, Smithsonian, National Geographic, or other publication full of pictures of people and places.
  • Gift basket for the person who still likes to take notes, develop plots or characters, or draw diagrams on paper: ringed notebooks of various colors and sizes, some four-color pens, a Dr. Grip or other ergonomic pen and several refills for it, colorful binders, zippered binder pockets, and a box of their favorite kind of pencil.

Or, if you prefer to keep your shopping short, most writers would be happy to receive an expensive essential such as:
  • A box of printer paper
  • A toner cartridge
  • Ink cartridges

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a writing-related luxury item for a very special writer is worth considering:
  • A beautiful pen to use at autograph signings (Some well-stocked pen stores with pens in all price ranges include JOON and Fahrney's Pens. Or, if you live in or plan a trip to New Orleans soon, the French Market usually has some beautiful pens at cheap prices.)
  • A leather or leatherette portfolio with a pad of paper, a pen, and pockets for business cards and handouts—perfect for taking to a conference as well as to a meeting with an agent or editor
  • The Oxford English Dictionary (either a subscription to the online version or the two-volume-with-magnifying-glass set, which you can find at most online-used book stores)
  • Fancy office supplies from a place such as Levenger (the company also sells fancy pens here)

If you're still drawing a blank on what to get for your favorite writers, here are some useful things they may not think of getting for themselves:
  •  iPad stand (Many iPad stands work well for holding Kindles and Nooks as well.)

Or consider something you  make yourself at home or design yourself and order from Cafe Press, Vistaprint, or a similar online store that specializes in small-volume custom items:
  • Bookbag with photos of the writer's books (Crafts stores have special fabric and paper that you can use to transfer a design or photo from your computer to a bookbag, teeshirt, or other item)
  • A mug or mousepad with the writer's favorite inspirational saying on it
  • Customized journal that can be carried in a purse, briefcase, or bookbag
  • Customized Post-It notes

Happy shopping! Hope to see you again on September 21, when I'll be blogging again at NovelSpaces.

—Shauna Roberts


Charles Gramlich said...

Good stuff. I'd buy mos of this stuff as a gift to myself!

Jewel Amethyst said...

interesting list. Can I add a tablet to my wish list...?

Shauna Roberts said...

CHARLES, try printing out the post and putting it on a certain person's pillow. Maybe you won't have to buy it yourself.

JEWEL, are you thinking of a tablet PC such as the iPad? That's a good addition to the list. I don't know why I didn't think of that, especially since I want one.

Louisa Bacio said...


Great tips here! I recently bought my first iPhone app of a dictionary. On a recent project I had to use New Webster's and I figured it would be handy. And, today I bought a maroon cartridge for my printer. Definitely handy!



Karen L. Simpson said...

Wonderful tips. I'm handing this out to all my family when the holiday comes.

Liane Spicer said...

Great gift ideas. I've used a few of these resources in the past and I endorse them. A writer friend recommended Vistaprint as well as OvernightPrints.com and they've proved useful while Levenger is a longtime favourite for gifts for myself and others, including non-writers.

One of my tricks for taking the stress out of holiday gift giving: I keep an ongoing Amazon gift list for each person so I always have a range from which to choose. Bye-bye frantic last-minute guesswork. The great thing is that you can save items from any online store in your Amazon lists so you're not restricted to what the host store offers.

kaviya said...

My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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