What to Get Your Writer For Christmas…

When it comes to buying gifts, getting into your writer’s good books is easy. Forget trawling through endless book blurbs in the hope you will come across something they might like (trust me, if it’s any good they’ve probably already downloaded it) – this is what they really want for Christmas:

1. Time

Actually top of any writer’s wishlist is a writing retreat. Somewhere comfortably secluded, preferably with the phone turned off, and where the only interruptions are food deliveries…

But if your budget doesn’t quite stretch that far (and sadly mine doesn’t seem to), the real treat is time. Time to dream, to head down the rabbit hole and disappear into the bliss of uninterrupted creativity. So clear the decks, give your writer some space and wait for the gratitude to flow your way!

2. Tools of the Trade

Stationery is the writer’s catnip. I recently bought a Christian Lacroix notebook that sent me into raptures. The paper was heavy, with a silky finish. The embossed cover was smoothly textured. And it had a continuous spine – which means no matter where you open it, it lies flat. It is also perfectly complementary to the type of ink pen I favour; no blots or smudges, just words that sink seamlessly onto the page.

It’s Christian Lacroix Baby!

Overcome, I may have tried to express some of these remarkable qualities to my family. Needless to say, I saw the widening of the eyes and the metaphorical step back… ‘Yes dear, whatever you say dear...’

Silky Smooth…

So for those of you who are not as… er, invested, here are some things to consider when buying writing staples:

Journals – They come in all shapes and sizes, and most writers will use a variety. Buy something beautiful, or manly, or funky or whatever your writer is into. Open the journal up and see how it lies. Sometimes journals with a heavy spine won’t stay open, and aren’t easy to write in. Check the line spacing. A large journal with narrow line spacing drives me nuts, but is perfectly fine in a smaller journal that I might tuck away in a purse. Choose good quality paper. Thin, cheap paper will tear easily and often you can’t use both sides effectively.

Pens – Good pens make great gifts. Bear in mind that writers usually have a preference. I prefer blue or black uni-ball ink pens because they write smoothly. Sadly they’re not cheap either, so I also have a stash of biros (medium point – not too fine) for those times when I’m just scribbling out plot points or editing (nothing beautiful about that process). If you’re buying a gift either find out what your writer favours (they will usually wax lyrical with little prompting), or try the pen out in the store. It’s like driving a car – you’re looking for a smooth ride.

Post-its, Folders, Highlighters, Display Books – These are in no way limited to the stock-standard plain versions – although if you package them creatively they can be just as sexy. A stack of good quality legal pads wrapped with a ribbon would make my day. Look for something just a bit special that will give your writer a thrill when they’re cross-referencing or marking up. The key is quality not quantity.

3. Book Vouchers

If you know your writer well, by all means buy them a book. (As I’m writing this my son has just wandered in and said, you know Mum I bought you a book for Christmas… I’m sure it will be wonderful!). However, if your writer is also a voracious reader and is prone to pre-ordering books, this is the one time when a gift voucher is perfectly acceptable. Watch them pull out their to-read list and pore over which great tome they’ll purchase next.

4. Beverages and Accompanying Paraphenalia

Mugs. Teapots. Glasses. Jugs. Coffee. Tea. Hot Chocolate. A writer needs to stay hydrated after all. Avoid things that have a propensity to tip easily. No one likes coffee all over their folder (one of my favourite, special, folders still smells of coffee after an unfortunate incident – and I’m still a bit tender about it). Chocolate. (Goes without saying). Or nibblies that won’t make a mess on the keyboard…

5. Bottled Silence

I’m sure I read about an apothecary shop that sells this. Somewhere. For exorbitant prices. (It’s all about supply and demand after all…). It’s probably on the shelf next to the formula for finished manuscripts, the fount of eternal inspiration and the mythical self-editing quill rumoured to be responsible for those pesky grammar rules.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I hope this helps. Happy holidays!

PS. To my beautiful friends and family this is not hint – I’m sure I will love whatever you’ve bought me for Christmas. After all I’m not just a writer, and you know me well. But if you’re ever stuck you might want to bookmark this page…

22 thoughts on “What to Get Your Writer For Christmas…

  1. Journals and pens would be the hardest to buy, given each writer has their own preferences and, on the whole, we are a rather particular bunch 😉 You say you don’t like narrow line spacing, but that’s what I love – only trouble is finding decent narrow spaced journals/notebooks seems to be quite the challenge!

    1. Ah, but I’m fickle too. I prefer wider spacing in the big notebooks that I use for drafting. But buy me a big notebook with smaller spacing and I’ll use it for research – when I’m often more careful with my handwriting. (Crazy I know). If it’s a beautiful journal I’ll find a use for it!

      And the truth is, even if you get a bad pen it’s not necessarily a huge spend (and you can always use it for making lists rather than the grand writing process).

      However, let it be known around your friends and family that you have trouble finding narrow spaced journals and you never know what they’ll ferret out for you…

      1. I know what you mean with different notebooks for different purposes. I think writers are obliged to be at least mildly crazy – it’s in the job description.

        Haha, I should try that! You never know indeed.

  2. I’d agree that it can be hard to pick out a journal or notebook for someone else. Yours looks PERFECT to me. My dream notebook, really. I would take it and hug it and… leave it on my shelf, because I have this thing where I can’t write in a book I really love, because I feel like I’m wasting it. Weird, right? I would be proud to own that notebook, but I’d have to save it for something special, not plotting or note-making. For that, I can only use cheap spiral-bound notebooks.

    I REALLY need to get over that!

    Great ideas all around. Time would be the best gift for me…

    1. I was just about to comment about how I have this really beautiful made-in-Italy journal that I gotfor my 21st birthday and haven’t been able to bring myself to write in yet. Glad I’m not the only one like thst!

      1. I know right – you feel like you have to write something special in it… I’ve made a conscious effort to use the journals, even if I have all these crazy rules about what goes where. Use the good pen. Let the cursive flow. Enjoy the beauty of the moment… See writer’s catnip, and I’m only writing about journals.

    2. Yeah about that notebook… I may or may not (okay I definitely did, but we’re all writers here) have taken that journal and rubbed my cheek across it’s deliciously smooth surface… *sighs contentedly* But to be fair, my best writing bud also clapped eyes upon it and let out a squeee worthy of a believer. She gets me! (AND Christian Lacroix – totally Ab Fab…).

  3. I’m drooling over that journal. It’s gorgeous!! Unfortunately, when I get something like that, I’m a bit like Kate. I’m afraid to write in it! I figure none of my words will ever be worth its beauty. I don’t want to mar it with drivel.

    I will take a box o’time, if anyone knows where it can be found.

    1. That’s what’s really at the end of the rainbow. Those little guys in the green suits got all the time in the world.

      As for that journal – it wasn’t even that expensive relatively speaking. Sadly I bought in in Australia a few weeks ago on a flying visit (Bon Jovi concert) so I can’t even go back and lay down supplies. I think it came from Myers or one of the other big department stores we don’t have in NZ. And thus far my online searches have been fruitless… it’s probably in that apothecary store too…

  4. I love getting notebooks as presents as I can always find a use for them. And wouldn’t a writing retreat be the best thing ever! A few years ago I did spend a long weekend on my own in my grandparent’s farm house in Norfolk (which was left to my mum when they passed away) and it was so blissful to just write without interruptions and be inspired by the view and the surrounding countryside and sea. (I wrote a good chunk of The Butterfly Storm during those few days.)

    Enjoy your beautiful notebook and Merry Christmas!

  5. What a wonderful experience. I have secret daydreams of running off to somewhere equally isolated and inspiring. Maybe oneday. Until then, I’ll just be very grateful for what I have (including my very beautiful journal collection)! Have an awesome Christmas!

  6. I’m the worst haha I literally can’t write in fancy notebooks! I feel bad doing my messy scrawls in there :S I do all my writing on scrap note pads with crappy pens haha, theres no limit to the chaotic creativity that way 😉

    1. It’s a learned skill. Although I’m more careful with my handwriting in a new journal, once it’s broken in, it soon breaks down into the scrawled merry chaos. Although funnily enough the drafts in those pristine journals always seem to be more controlled too… Enjoy your chaotic creativity any way you can!

  7. Great post! I may need to have my parents bookmark it for next year. This year, they got present advice from the kids. I got an enormous rolling pin, a cookie sheet, and fancy-dancey sprinkles. 😛

    I hope your Christmas was Merry. 🙂

    1. LOL, my daughter bought me a blinging diamante necklace and earring set she really wanted. Such Christmas joy when I suggested we might share it! Bless our kids aye. But as far as inspiration goes, could you work that enormous rolling pin into your book? It would make an awesome weapon of the moment! (And is it wrong to say I have sprinkle envy?)

      1. Oh, these sprinkles deserve envy. Go ahead and be jealous. 😛

        I didn’t think about working the rolling pin into a book, but that would be perfect!!! Especially since Harsha (the fey-mermaid) loves baking for her friends and family. I’m so glad you suggested it. 😀

  8. For me, time and books are sufficient. I don’t use pen(cil) and paper for any of my writing (*gasp*), and I drink lots of various stuff (mostly water these days). Silence is not a biggie for me, some times noise helps get me into that slightly distracted state where my mind really works.

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