Need a gift idea this holiday season for the writer in your life? The spiffy journals and coffee mugs with literary quotes are nice, but skip them this year. If your writer is anything like me, he or she needs certain things many people don’t think about. This year, consider giving one of the following gifts.
#1 Writers need time to write. This is the number one item on most writers’ wish list. If you can give only one thing to the writer in your life, let it be the gift of time. Maybe you can do some babysitting or grocery shopping or run errands for that person. A few hours of uninterrupted writing will go a long way.
#2 Writers need moral support. Writing is full of uncertainties. Compared with other professions, there’s no sure path toward publication. A writer’s life is full of rejections, disappointments, and trial-and-error learning. Take the time to write an email or a letter or make a phone call and offer some encouragement.
#3 How about food? Believe it or not, I sometimes forget to eat when I’m writing. So, if you must take the gift-card route, pick a gift card for a restaurant. If you like to cook, so much the better! A home-cooked meal will delight the special writer in your life. Make sure to make a big batch; leftovers are a writer’s best friend.
#4 Writers need companionship. Writing can be lonely. There’s no other way to get the job done but by being alone with one’s thoughts and ideas. Spend quality time with the writer in your life. If you can afford it, treat her or him to a nice restaurant. If not, have a picnic in a park or take a long walk in your neighborhood.
#5 Support the book industry. Buy a book to support your writer and the publishing industry both. If the person has published a book, buy a copy for yourself or as a gift to someone else. If your writer is not yet published, pick a good writing book or something in his or her genre. You can’t go wrong with a bookstore gift card.
#6 Writers need special resources. Continuous learning and professional support are a must for writers. If you have the budget for it, buy a subscription to a writing magazine (e.g., Writer’s Digest, Publishers Weekly) or an online information service (Publishers Marketplace, Literary Marketplace) or a literary journal (One Story, Southern Review, Paris Review). If your writer belongs to an organization (Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, etc.), offer to pay for next year’s membership fee.
#7 Writers need social media support. Many publishers require their authors to have a social media presence. Even when they’re not obliged to do it, there’s a strong pressure today to reach out directly to readers because of the fierce competition out there—over a million books are published in the U.S. every year, according to Berrett-Koehler Publishers. If you’re active on social media, be generous without spending a dime. Interact with your writer and other readers on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. If the person has published a book, read it and leave an honest review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble (or the site of the retailer where you bought the book), as well as Goodreads.
Number three and four above are new, while the rest of the list came from this article I wrote, Top 5 Gifts for the Writer in Your Life.
Happy giving and lots of luck in 2018!