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Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Writer

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?


Anonymous said…
Thanks for the gift suggestions! I ordered copies of War of Art for my CPs and Joni's career guide suggestion for my niece.

Do you know the differenct between the mini-laptop you want and the ASUS Eee PC 900HA 8.9-Inch Netbook besides the smaller screen? I have a 17" screen Dell laptop that is great for my home office but WAY too big to take anywhere and I'd love to have a true portable.
Elen Grey said…
What a great list. I use #1 all the time in the 5X8 size. I agree with you on #4. #5 made me tear up, and #6 filled me with lust. lol
Glad you found the list helpful. Thanks for dropping by!

Lark, I'm afraid I don't know all that much about the various mini-puters available (except that they're now being made by various co.s, including Dell and that their owners rave about them). I have a 17" laptop that is enough to break my shoulder when lugging it through airports, so I end up leaving it at home more often than not. But at this point I don't travel enough to justify yet another gadget, and besides that, I'm a little concerned that I'd hate the smaller keyboard. Can anyone comment on that?
Unknown said…
A write-in-the-dark light pen is a great stocking stuffer for when inspiration strikes at 3 AM! Here's a nice one.
Anonymous said…
I have a back breaking laptop too, loved it when I got it, but now the knapsack is just soooo stressful.

I'm interested in finding out more about those lovely little puters.
Christie Craig said…
Great suggestions, Colleen.

I always like getting gift certificates to book stores. Let's face it, writers read.

Joni Rodgers said…
Moleskines, yeah...

Loved ones in the querying process might appreciate subs to Writers Market online database or to Publisher's Marketplace.
Phyllis Bourne said…
Hmmm... a non-toxic glue to keep my butt in the chair.

I just ordered War of Art, looking forward to reading it.

I had an Asus eee pc, but had to return it because the keyboard was too small. And I have small hands (size 5 ring). I got an Acer Aspire One instead, and so far so good.
Unknown said…
My favorite is #3. I tend to write late, after the kids are in bed. I'd love to be able to take every afternoon off work for a month to write my heart out between lunch time and bus-arrival time. Wow...
Unknown said…
Thanks, PBW, for your comment on the keyboard. I suspected as much and wish you luck with the keyboard... and that bum-in-chair glue. :)

Thanks to all of you who have stopped by and commented.
EmilyBryan said…
Let's add an "itty bitty book light" for those times when fiction won't let us lay it down, but we don't want to disturb the DH's sleep while we read all night.
Diane_Holmes said…
Yea, Colleen! We are in sync. I have done a lot of research on the new Netbook category of devices. My wish is for the Samsung NC10. After reading through many reviews and comparisons, the nc10 is winning the award for best keyboard and best screen. Plus you get up to 7 hours of battery life in the wild, not just in the manufacturer's wildest dreams.
Waving hi to Emily. Thanks for the rec on the booklight!

Glad you stopped by, Diane. The Samsung NC 10 and Acer Aspire both sound like good choices. But since I've replaced both my laptop and desktop within the past year-and-a-half, I think I'd better bide my time awhile. I can get myself in big trouble with gadget lust. :)

And who knows what coolness will be on the market by the time I'm ready?
Awesome! I am going to order some those pretty choclate bars :).
Thank you both of you for helping me change my life. I am so much healthy now.
Thank you,
Gift Ideas said…
I chanced upon to view your blog and found it very interesting. Great ... Keep it up!

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