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)
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:
- A set of CDs of the sessions from a recent RWA conference (available from Bill Stephens Productions)
- Complete set of National Geographics through 2010 on CD
- iPad stand (Many iPad stands work well for holding Kindles and Nooks as well.)
- Special-use pens; I recently treated myself to an erasable pen, very-fine-point pens perfect for taking notes in the margins of research books and for squeezing in comments while copyediting or critiquing on hardcopy, and a brush pen meant for writing Japanese characters or drawing, all from JetPens, which also carries pencil cases, journals, and penguin-shaped paperclips, and other cool stuff.
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.