As the holiday season approaches, one of my toughest writing assignments is to come up with a list of gifts I might enjoy. Normally, I jot down the titles and authors of a few novels (this year's requests: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, The Given Day by Dennis Lehane, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, and, somewhat incongruously, Duma Key by Stephen King.) or ask for a nice Barnes & Noble giftcard, since to my mind, absolutely nothing is more fun than an afternood spent blowing someone else's money at a bookstore.
So what else besides novels could a writer want? Here are a few ideas, ranging from the inexpensive to the pricey, for your consideration. And writers, this could be a good list to print out, highlight, and "accidentally" leave lying about.
1. Ruled Moleskine Notebook: For $17.95 or less ($12.21 at Amazon), you get the journaling notebook used by countless famous writers. Cheaper notebooks can be had, but the quality's nice... the inspiration priceless.
2. One fancy, boxed pen, such as this Cross Contour. One of the most thoughtful gifts I've received, early in my writing career, was a fine-quality pen, which the giver (my mother-in-law) said I should have for booksignings. These range widely in price, but it's the idea that the giver believes the writer will have signings and they should be special events that matters.
3. Here's a free one. A book of coupons for blocks of writing time. These could be offers to take care of the kids or tend some time-consuming chore while the writer in your life goes to a coffee house to create. (A giftcard to said coffee house is a nice touch, too, though I prefer the fabulously-free public library for my writing outings.) The real gift is the acknowledgment that you understand that writing time is a valuable commodity, not just something to be squeezed in between household chores, housework, and the day job.
4. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Every writer on the planet should own two copies, one to keep and one to share. Best resource ever for quitting the stalling and actually producing. And it's in paperback, too.
5. My husband once made me a coupon stating that he'd work XX days of overtime so I could go to a very special writers' conference in NYC. I cried when I read it. Helping a writer attend a conference (it doesn't have to be a distant of expensive one, either) is a wonderful gift.
6. Asus Eee PC 4G Smaller and lighter than a laptop, this Linux-based mini-PC has flash-based memory, so it's tough as nails. Perfect for the traveling writer, it allows one to check e-mail and write on the fly, then easily tucks into a purse. I saw one of these colorful, hard-shelled wonders at a conference and immediately fell in lust. At $345.10 at Amazon, they're a lot for the $$$... a perfect replacement to my Alphasmart, which finally croaked after years of service. Alas, this one's too much an extravagance for me this year, but that won't stop me from drooling!
So what are your favorite writing gift ideas? Has a loved one ever surprised you with a great one you'd like to share?