You’ve given them notebooks, posters, snarky t-shirts, and fingerless gloves as a gift. You’ve hunted down ornaments, nick-knacks, and bumper stickers for authors. The internet will never run out of writing mugs, but your friend’s cabinet is overflowing. So, what now? If you’re feeling stuck, and you want to give something that matters, it’s time to break the mold (and maybe take a break from Etsy).
Fun Research Opportunities
Practicing a skill or activity in real life gives writers tangible experiences and practical understanding of their worlds and characters. If the writer in your life wants to write about a knight, it would help if they knew what it was like to ride a horse. How can you help? Horse riding lessons!
Fun research gifts don’t have to involve animals, though.
Travel, crafting materials, and even time spent together can be meaningful research gifts. It takes two sets of hands to make a lot of classic string figures, which the friend writing a Gothic thriller may want to understand. Do you know someone writing about an oil painter? Writers often hesitate to buy all the gear to try a hobby as involved as oil painting on their own, but it’s the kind of art you only understand after getting your hands dirty. Gifting them some of the basics can go a long way towards character development.
If you have historical places or events nearby, then tickets offer a window the past. This could be a walking tour through the oldest parts of your city, a trip to the Viking festival, or a visit to a local forest where they still harvest maple sap to make syrup.
The Gift of Professional Editing
Every writer benefits from professional editing. Every single one. There are no exceptions. However, professional editing can be very pricey, and newer writers hesitate to make the investment out of financial fear as much as creative anxiety. Offering to pay even a portion of an editor’s fee can help push a writer to bigger and better things.
Not all editors are prohibitively expensive, either. With the rise of indie and self-publishing channels, a new wave of cost-efficient professionals have stepped up to fill the new market. They understand self-published authors can’t afford what a traditional publishing house can, and they meet writers where they are. Giving a writer a check and a list of affordable, well-reviewed indie editors can be a life-changing gift.
Gift Them a Class
Most writers drool over online education from powerhouses like Masterclass. They want to hear what successful writers they admire have to say about the craft, and they’re hungry for improvement. These classes cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred bucks, though, and – again – lots of writers hesitate to invest in themselves. If you want to get a happy gasp when your writer opens their holiday gift this year, online learning memberships are a great way to go.
Does your writer intend to self-publish? Are they artistically-minded? Maybe they just hunger to see someone else take inspiration from their work. This year, you can support small artists and encourage your writer-friend. Arrange for an artist to brainstorm book covers with your self-publishing friend. Purchase a copy of your friend’s work and pay an artist to create a digital painting of their favorite scene, or arrange for unique, book-themed emojis, banner art, etc. for your friend’s website.
Gifts for writers can be cute, but they can also be productive. Giving your writing buddy any of the above suggests you care not only about them as a person, but also about their creative work. That will mean more than anything to a writer trying to connect with the world through storytelling.