Reviews
May 13, 2020

88 Best Gifts for Writers: Thoughtful Things They’ll Actually Use

Forgive me for being blunt, but internet articles that list the best gifts for writers are full of crap. “A cheesy coffee mug! A pencil holder from the dollar store! A bath bomb!”

While I do appreciate the sentiment, I just want to put forward that we—creative writers, copywriters, journalists, editors—get a kick out of useful, meaningful gifts, too. So before you buy that Live, Laugh, Love poster for the writer in your life, here are 88 of the best gifts for writers to consider.

Use the table of contents to jump directly to each section, or just scroll to your heart’s content.

Things for their writing space

Writers spend an unreasonable amount of time hunched over desks, staring at screens, and poring over our latest drafts. So it makes sense that our writing spaces need to be set up to help us focus and stay comfortable while we’re hard at work.

Here’s a list of gifts that will enhance any writing lair.

Noise-canceling headphones

Noisy coffee machines and screaming babies on a plane, begone! These Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are a godsend. While pricey, the amount of noise they shut out is extraordinary.

As a freelance writer, they’ve helped me stay focused on my writing and deadlines in busy coffee shops, airports, on public transit, and even in my home office when the neighbor is mowing the lawn. Worth every penny.

Stunning writing pens from Tom Dixon

Yes, writers can work with any old pen. But a beautiful writing pen makes the experience all the more fun. That’s why I’m pretty taken with the COG pens from Tom Dixon. Modern. Striking. And not overly expensive. I gifted every copywriter on my team one of these pens, and I bought one for myself.

A quality water vessel

This may sound a little sound ridiculous to non-writers, but us writers need to remember to hydrate! It’s way too easy to forget to drink water when you’re super focused and deep inside the writing zone. So gift your favorite writer something to store water at their desk.

I use this basic water pitcher from Ikea and a tin camping mug. You could get them a Brita water pitcher if they prefer a filtered-water experience. There are even smart water bottles that remind their users to hydrate.

A fancy Pomodoro timer

The Pomodoro Technique is a method writers use to stay focused and productive. The timer helps writers write for 25-minute stints, take a 5-minute break, then repeat the process a few more times before taking a longer break.

Sure, your writer could just use the timer on their phone to use this technique. But wouldn’t it be way cooler if they had a fancy timer, like this Miracle Cube Timer from Datexx?

Adjustable desk lamps

I don’t care what you’ve seen in the movies: writers shouldn’t work in candlelight. It’s so bad for the eyes. Adjustable lighting that suits whatever environment and time-of-day your writer prefers to work is a better solution. Here are some desk lamps that can help:

Posture-friendly ergonomic furniture

“Writer Hunchback Syndrome” might not be an official term, but it should be. We spend too much time sitting down working on computers and scribbling into notepads. And our posture and health suffer for it.

Ergonomic furniture can keep your writers active, so it’s an incredible gift. It can be relatively pricey, though. Here are some options to keep your desk-bound writer friends more active while they write:

Posture-improving devices

This is a weird suggestion, but hear me out. As a writer with chronic neck and back pain, I’m pretty passionate about posture. Depending on your relationship with your writer, a posture-improving gift. But I guarantee it is a gift that will improve their wellbeing in the long run.

I personally use a posture-improving harness when I’m working on the computer. It can be hard on the shoulders, though, so I’m thinking about upgrading to the Upright Go posture training device. You stick it on your back and it monitors your posture throughout the day, nudging you when it’s time to correct your stance.

A bitchy literary insults poster

Winston Churchill once famously said, “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.” If the writer in your life loves a good quip, this snarky literary insults poster contains a collection of choice zingers from writing greats.

A Philosophical Pencil Set

Pensive? More like pen-cil…. Dad jokes aside, if your writer likes writing by hand, this Philosophical Pencil Set would look great in their writing space. Each pencil features key words from the field of philosophy, so they can deep dive into the meaning of life when they take a break from writing long form.

An Emotional Baggage tote

Give your writer friend an Emotional Baggage Tote from The School of Life and let them hold an excellent pun—and their proverbial baggage—close to their chest.

GFDA posters

If your writer friend needs to believe in their “fucking self” more often, gift them the Classic Advice Print from GFDA. Lots of swearing. Lots of motivation. There’s also a family-friendly version (with no cuss words) if that’s more your vibe.

Candles that inspire focus

I don’t know what it is about having a smelly candle in my home office but, as a writer, I LOVE having smelly candles in my office. I’m a frugal minimalist, so I tend to stick with the cheap ones from Ikea. But you can also score a nice scented candle for a great price from Winners, HomeSense, or these options from Amazon:

Gifts to help with their professional development

It doesn’t matter if your writer aspires to be the next J.K. Rowling or one of the biggest names in the copywriting world—they can always keep learning. So, gift them something that’ll help with their professional development.

Pro tip: writers can typically claim conference costs as a tax deduction, but they’ll need to pay for it themselves to claim it as a business-related expense. If you’re going to gift your writer something that helps to further their education, work with them to ensure that the cost is covered via their own bank account.

MasterClass writing courses

Some of the biggest names in writing have produced online writing courses for MasterClass. While the courses tend to offer high-level advice, I’ve found that within each course there’s at least a handful of pro writing tips and advice that make watching worthwhile.

You can gift your writer a single month of access or purchase an annual subscription.

Here are direct links to the writing courses that are currently in MasterClass’ library:

Membership to a writing guild, union, or club

Author’s Guild. Editors guild. Romance Writers of America. No matter what niche your writer focuses on, I guarantee you there’ll be a guild, union, or club for it. Do some googling and, if your writer needs to pay annual fees or event costs to participate in a local group, well that that would make for an excellent gift.

Contribute to their health insurance

Freelance writers tend to forgo health insurance while they’re building up a steady income. If your budget permits, help them out with a contribution to their insurance plan and make sure they get that dental checkup each year. The Freelancers Union has a good breakdown of the options and plans available in the United States.

Software and apps for writers

Is your writer tech-friendly? These apps and software subscriptions can help them produce high-quality written work, faster.

Time Tracking Software

Copywriters need to track their hours to bill clients effectively. In my opinion, all paid writers should really use time-tracking software to monitor how much time they spend on each job. Over time, it gives us a better understanding of how long it takes to produce work, and how our rates compare to the time invested in each project.

There are a bunch of time-tracking software options online. Personally, I use Toggl. It’s intuitive, has a clean dashboard, and gives me everything I need in a time-tracker. The free plan is great for writers who are just getting started. If your writer friend needs time-tracking support to grow their business, a subscription to Toggl’s premium plans (Starter @ $9/month; Premium @ $18/month) would be an excellent gift.

Grammarly Premium

Grammarly is like a second set of eyes that silently reviews the grammatical accuracy of your writing. The Grammarly Premium subscription can also provide feedback on readability, vocabulary, and word selection. It also checks your work against 16 billion web pages to make sure nothing’s plagiarized. Pretty sweet, huh?

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, check out ProWriting Aid.

Scrivener software for writing manuscripts

Scrivener is a powerful writing software for authors in every field. It acts as a typewriter, scrapbook, and home for your research. And when you’re finally done writing, Scrivener compiles everything into a single document for printing, self-publishing, or exporting to popular formats such as Word, PDF, Final Draft or plain text.

Final Draft for writing scripts

Is your writer friend a cinephile with screenwriting aspirations? Final Draft is to screenwriters what Scrivener is to authors. Widely recognized as the industry standard for professional screenwriters and filmmakers, the software helps with story mapping, writing, editing, . It even allows for real-time collaboration with others. Once your script is complete, Final Draft ensures that it’s professionally formatted before you send it off to Hollywood.

Professional dictation software

Voice typing is a great way to speed up the writing process. And most new computers (even Google Docs, actually) come with basic dictation software. In most cases, these free options are more than enough to get the job done. For niche writing where complex jargon is necessary, upgraded dictation software can help.

If your writer happens to focus their work on the legal or medical fields, check out Dragon Medical Practice Edition and Dragon Legal.

Subscriptions to keep them reading

Print magazines typically offer amazing deals for annual subscriptions. And unlimited subscriptions are all the rage in the digital age.

If your writer is a voracious reader, gif them a subscription and give them ongoing access to the publications and authors they love.

A heavily discounted subscription to their favorite print magazine

If there’s one publication that your writer just can’t do without, buy them an annual subscription and win them over for life.

Print publications typically offer ridiculously discounted annual subscription deals, so do your research before you invest. Browse “(name of publication) subscription” and see if any deals come up. Then go and flip through the mag at a local newsstand. Typically they’ll include a flyer promoting their deal.

For example, Wired lets you gift an annual subscription (digital access and print magazine) for $10. The annual subscription renews at $49.99 though, so make sure you deactivate the auto-renew before the year’s up.

Digital magazine library subscription

Subscription services ahoy! If your writer is a magazine junkie, a subscription to a digital magazine service is a no-brainer. The only question is: which one of them will you pick?

Apple’s News+ gives subscribers access to 200+ magazines like Time, Wired, and The Atlantic. Access costs $9.99 per month after a 7-day trial. If your writer is a member of a Family Sharing family group, everyone in their family group automatically gets access to Apple News+ after they subscribe.

Magzter has one-time purchase and all-you-can-read subscription options (Magzter Gold). The cool thing about Magzter is that it has an option to share your subscription with up to 4 family members.

Zinio is a-la-carte only (meaning you have to buy single-issue or ongoing subscriptions to the magazines of your choice). Unlike its competitors, Zinio also provides access to Marvel comics.

A “surprise” subscription to a variety of literary journals

Journal of the Month sends subscribers a different literary journey (in print) every month, every other month, or every quarter. According to the company, exactly which literary magazine is sent is “a tantalizing surprise that changes every month.” And subscribers never receive the same literary magazine twice. So it’s a good way to broaden your writer’s reading horizons.

Kindle Unlimited subscription

In his book, On Writing, Stephen King famously said: “You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

In other words: to be a good writer, you must be a voracious reader. So help the writer in your life with a kindle unlimited subscription, and give them access to a near-infinite number of books.

A Kindle Unlimited subscription comes in at $120 per year and gives subscribers access to a near-infinite number of ebooks.

Not every ebook is available on Kindle Unlimited. But with access to over 1 million titles, any voracious reader who subscribes won’t be left wanting.

A distraction-free e-reader

Speaking of Kindle subscriptions, your writer is going to need something to read all those ebooks on. While it’s entirely possible to sit back, relax, and read an ebook on your tablet or phone, constant messaging and app notifications (not to mention bright screen glare) can really take you out of the reading experience. Unlike phones or tablets, e-readers are a distraction-free reading experience.

The Kindle Paperwhite, Nook, and Kobo are the usual e-reader go-to’s.

Audible subscription

For ~$15 a month, Audible subscribers get one free audiobook per month. Audiobooks can be listened to on any device. And members can also buy additional audiobooks for 30% off the list price.

Gift your writer an annual Audible Gold membership and they’ll get Get 12 audiobooks all at once and 2 Audible Originals from a curated selection every month. This deal also saves $30 in subscription fees compared to the regular month-to-month deal.

Spotify Premium

J.K. Rowling said she prefers to write longhand in noisy cafes. Personally, I prefer to use music and noise-canceling headphones to block out distractions while I’m writing, editing, and reading.

If your writer is more like me and less like J.K., gift them a Spotify Premium membership. As far as gifts go, this one is literally music to their ears.

Books to keep them inspired

There are too many great books for writers that it would be impossible to list them all here. These are personal faves that have helped me become a better writer. With low price points, they also double as thoughtful, inexpensive gifts for writers.

Stephen King’s On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition

On Writing is a must-have for every writer on the planet, if only to read Stephen King’s no-holds-barred advice on mastering the craft of writing.

“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.”

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

Part memoir, part master class, King offers up a candid view of mastering the craft of writing, along with the basic tools of the trade every writer needs in order to succeed. It’s a great guide for writing newbies and an inspiring refresher for experienced wordsmiths.

Buy your writer the hardcover edition. I guarantee they’ll treasure it forever.

Best American Writing Anthologies

Reading examples of excellent writing isn’t just fun and inspiring for writers. It’s educational, too. The “Best American” anthologies compile some of the best writing in the world into one beautiful book. I read them every year and highly recommend them to my writer friends.

The Book of Bookmarks

Technically this gift isn’t a book for reading, it’s a book of things that will enhance the experience of reading.

The School of Life’s Book of Bookmarks is a collection of 20 bookmarks that form an essay on the business of reading: why we do it, what the best books do for us, and how literature might change our lives.

With choice quotes like “Books are like people; we meet many but fall in love very seldom. Perhaps only ten books will ever truly mark us. We shouldn’t feel ashamed of abandoning the ones that don’t work for us,” the bookmarks encourage readers to pause and consider the power of books and their vital place in our lives. Cool, huh?

Word games for having fun

Games are great for taking a break from the writing desk and firing up the imagination. Here’s a bunch that your writer might enjoy.

Scrabble — Themed Editions

Ah, a classic. Crush your competition by starting the word “Xylophone” on a triple letter score tile. Bonus points if you buy the official Scrabble dictionary to help resolve any heated (and, let’s face it, inevitable) “That’s not a word!” arguments when they arise.

Scrabble has been around for eons, so keep it fresh and get your writer a themed edition:

Magnetic Poetry Kits

I love these kits! They’re so much fun for guests to play with and create new phrases. And they’re a good distraction when I’m hanging out in my kitchen and avoiding my writing assignments. There’s a magnetic word kit for just about everything. Pick one that suits your writer’s personality best.

Bananagrams

Does your writer like Scrabble? Do they like stress? Then boy do I have a game for you!  Bananagrams requires players to make anagrams at breakneck speed. It’s kind of like Scrabble at 100mph. Fun and laughter, guaranteed.

The Game of Things

The Game of Things is a word association game that’s fit for all ages. If your writer’s sense of humor leans towards “NSFW” then The Game of Nasty Things is probably more their speed.

Storymatic

Pick a few cards from the Storymatic box and use your imagination to tell a tale. With 540 cards, you’ll have around 6 trillion possible story prompt combinations to explore. It’s a wholesome game for writers, families, and kids. And it’s a fun way to fire up the imagination and break through writer’s block.

Coffee mugs that don’t suck

I love a good coffee mug, as long as it’s quality. Don’t buy that junky “World’s Greatest Editor!” mug from eBay. Gift your writer one of these quality coffee mugs instead.

Work Fucking Harder Mug

I’m not gonna lie. I’m a huge fan of Good Fucking Design Advice (GFDA) and their products. So I’m recommending a bunch of stuff from their range. The Work Fucking Harder mug would make a great gift for a writer who doesn’t mind a side of ass-kicking motivation with their coffee.

Don’t Fucking Procrastinate Mug

It’s easy to put off writing. The Don’t Fucking Procrastinate Mug carries a not-so-gentle motivational message to help your writer stay focused and productive.

Advice Mug

Love your fucking job. Change your fucking routine. Learn to improvise. The Advice Mug from GFDA doesn’t hold back.

You are the BEST WRITER in the History of Writers Mug

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Trump’s particular way of speaking is… ridiculous. Which is why this You are the BEST WRITER in the History of Writers mug is just so great. So very great. The best!

World’s Goodest Editor Mug

The World’s Goodest Editor mug is for writers and editors with a sense of humor. Grammar purists need not apply.

Welcome II Mug

Does your writer crave a touch of sophistication in every aspect of their life? The Welcome II Mug is an elegant choice.

Gifts to help them around the home

Here are some things your writer friend will use around the house when they eventually emerge from their writing cave.

A pair of warm slippers

Writing is a chilly pastime in the winter months. A pair of slippers will keep your writer toasty.

I usually try and find a good deal on slippers at my local Winners / TJ Maxx, but Amazon has some good options that you can buy from the comfort of your own home. Check out these memory foam house shoes and Moccasin slippers for inspiration.

Warm socks that look great

I hate to be that guy who recommends buying a pair of socks as a gift but hear me out. Writing is a cold, solitary sport in winter. Which is why socks are a useful, practical gift for the writer in your life.

The right socks for your writer will come down to their personal style, naturally, but make sure you look for thicker pairs that will keep the feet warm. My current faves are these wool jacquard socks from Old Faithful in Vancouver.

Bathtub book caddy

Writers love reading. On the train. In a plane. While eating green eggs and ham… you catch my drift, yeah? But rarely do we read in the bath because, well, it’s pretty impractical.

If you’ve ever tried to relax in the tub with a good book, only to spend most of your time drying your hands off so you don’t wet the pages, you’ll understand the situation. A bathtub book caddy is a practical gift that can solve this problem. Give one to the voracious writer/reader in your life. And, if you really want to… throw in a damn bath bomb!

Gift cards for writers who already have everything they need

If you’re really stumped and running out of time, a gift card is a great fallback. Here are some of the best gift cards for writers.

Gift cards for online stores

Gift cards for bookstores

Thanks for reading this far! If we missed something on this list, let us know in the comments below.

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