The summer before 5th grade, I spent hours on my dad’s typewriter in our dark Iowa basement, writing about a magical creature named Milo who lived in the walls. (I didn’t say the writing was good, but that’s not the point.)
The point is that I have been writing for fun and reflection my whole life. Writing has always been the way I learn about and process the world. And about six years ago I started writing for a living.
If you know someone for whom writing is kind of a big deal but you’re struggling to know how to support their writing endeavors, or (even better) if you’re a writer who needs to give your mother-in-law some gift ideas, then this post is for you.
When applicable, I include affiliate links at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Chatting at the Sky and here we go with 12 gift ideas for writers!
A Gift Guide for Writers
1. The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh
I truly believe the writer’s job is to pay attention: both to the the world around us and to the world within us.
This stunning, important new book is the perfect read for writers – not because he talks about the craft of writing (he doesn’t) but because he opens up the world of listening. And being a good listener is a pre-requisite to being a good writer.
If you haven’t heard of Adam, here’s my endorsement: If it were possible to combine the voices of Dallas Willard, N. D. Wilson and Jim Gaffigan, then what you would get is Adam S. McHugh. His writing is profound, lyrical and self-deprecating in all the right ways.
And the best part is, this book just released this week so chances are good your writer does not yet have it in their library.
2. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle
The writers in your life may have already read this one. But if they haven’t then I will say congratulations! You get to be the one to give them one of their future favorite books. This one is required reading for any writer who needs to remember why they write in the first place. And really, any human who wants perspective on the crossroads of living, faith, and art.
3. A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman
I wrote this book to encourage us to stop running from our calling, no matter what it is. I don’t care if you’re the President or the janitor – your ability to bring glory to God by simply being the person you fully are and embracing the job you’ve been given to do is a uniquely human privilege.
As writers, we often struggle with this – haunted by the question who do I think I am? This book will help you answer and move past that question so that you can show up as you are and make your own brand of art.
4. The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life by Marion Roach Smith
You don’t have to be a memoir writer to learn from this book. Short, matter-of-fact, and incredibly helpful for any writer who needs to stop hiding behind writer’s block and start writing with intent. I dare you to try to make excuses for not writing after reading this one.
5. Time to write. No, really.
These cute alarm clocks are from Anthropologie, but the real gift here is to offer the space and freedom for a writer to write. What we need more than any gift card, tool, journal or book is time to actually do the work of writing.
This could be as simple as offering to babysit young children or as elaborate as paying for a hotel room so she can have an extended time alone in the quiet to work out those words. Give your writer the gift of time and you’ll basically be securing your spot in the acknowledgements section of her next book.
6. Hand-Lettered Art
Aside from time to write, the second most important thing for me as a writer is a space to write in. For years I wrote my books either at my kitchen table or my favorite spot on the sofa. I finally have an office now.
But the truth is, it doesn’t matter where your space is, it matters if it’s a space where you can get your work done. And I do better work when my space is lovely – made possible by these prints from Maker + Ink. Support a small business and a group of artists in the process? Yes please. Use this link and receive 15% off.
7. Uni-ball 207 Signo Impact RT (Retractable) 1.0 mm Ink Pen
Everyone. You will never need another pen, ever. I repeat, this pen. Granted, it isn’t great for writing in thin-paged journals but you shouldn’t be using those anyway. And if your writer ends up having a book published, this pen is the ONLY pen to use for signing books. Amen. And you’re welcome.
8. Scrivener Writing Software
Gone are the days of opening Microsoft Word to write my next book. Now I use Scrivener, the intuitive content-generation tool that keeps you organized and sane while working on a long-form project. Here you can see a shot of my screen before the first round of edits on my last book, Simply Tuesday.
It may look intimadating at first, but there are a ton of free tutorials online and – full disclosure – I probably only use about 10% of what it’s capable of doing and it still changed my writing life.
Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)
Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)
9. A Great Journal
I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have an active journal. Real writing with a pen and paper? I just can’t quit you. I’ve tried many journals over the years and my top two favorites are the Moleskine and Miquelrius.
Moleskine (hard cover lined): Your writer probably already has one of these, but these are like chapstick – you basically need one for every room – and car. I use these to write my Morning Pages and another separate one to keep a record of my 1000 gifts.
Miquelrius (soft cover graph paper): This is the journal I use daily for planning, capturing ideas, book notes, scheduling, lists, and basically everything. It’s the one I always have with me everywhere in all of the places.
10. Woodwick Candle
Can a writer do her work without a candle? Yes of course. But why would she want to? I go through so many candles every year, especially close to deadlines. These from Woodwick are especially lovely as they pop and crackle while they burn (think ‘fireplace’ rather than ‘rice crispies’).
11. Mamuye Tote by Live FasionABLE
Made of handcrafted distressed leather, this is the perfect bag for the writer who likes to take her laptop to the coffee shop and still have room in her bag for a charger, a wallet, and a couple of books.
The best part? FashionABLE works with women, both locally and globally, who have overcome challenges ranging from prostitution to addiction to a lack of opportunity. So your purchase supports that work, too. The one I have is Cognac (pictured) and am basically obsessed.
12. Hope*Writers monthly membership subscription
The hope*writers membership community is especially for the writer wants to take their writing to the next level but might feel:
- intimidated by the publishing process
- weary of the pace of the internet and your place in it
- aimless in your writing
- frustrated by your lack of knowledge about the tools you need, much less how to use them
With new content (videos, tutorials, interviews, and more) added every week, writers are receiving encouragement and advice to help them become better writers, write a book, share their work, and maintain balance between writing and life.
Here is what some of our hope*writers are saying:
“I am so thankful for the safe haven this space nurtures for those tender worries, creative curiosities, and hopeful dreams.” – Marie, hope*writer
“Years ago, it was Emily who first nudged me toward the courage of admitting, I am a writer. Now, as I cross over to first-time author, the steep learning curve is giving me vertigo. Hope*Writers is just what I need to settle down and get to work.”
– Shannan Martin, hope*writer + author of Falling Free (Coming Sept 2016)
If you’re a writer, it’s a great gift to ask for and if you love a writer, it’s a tangible way to support their dream.
Happy shopping + most importantly, happy writing! I hope these tools and suggestions are as useful for you (or your writer) as they have been for me.