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The Top 20 Most Original Gift Ideas for That Fucking Writer You Know (No, Not a Moleskine)

In: Just The Tip,

So you have to buy a present for a writer, huh?

This inevitably means you’re left scratching your ass in the middle of the aisle of a Barnes & Noble as we speak, wondering which of the holy trifecta of cliché writerly gifts you should pony up for: A Barnes & Noble gift card, a moleskine, or a book from the discount table.

Unfortunately, nothing says, “I didn’t put any thought into this and I kind of resent having to get you something” like a gift card and, well, the rest? Are pretty unoriginal, my friend. And you want to be original, right? You want them to gasp with adoration, right? You want them to throw their arms around you and proclaim their love THAT YOU WILL BE THE ONE THEY PUT IN THEIR BOOK. Right?

So, as a professional writer, I thought I would take it upon myself to make a wee little list of what it is that writers really want to be given. As cute as an Emily Dickens candle might be, let's be honest: Nobody’s chomping at the bit for a vanilla scented picture of a dead person.

 1. Give the writer the gift of…mental sanity.

AKA one whole night or silence-laden weekend at a hotel. Do you know how hard it is to write when you’ve got four mockingbirds, three french hens, and a partridge in a pear tree barking up your rear all day long? (Read: The kids, your relatives, your spouse…the list goes on.) The coolest thing you could ever buy for a writer? A night – or two! – at a quiet little boutique hotel in your city, so they can go on their very own mini writer’s retreat. All. By. Themselves. Just think: They can snuggle with the fifteen moleskines everybody else got them while secretly penning you into their will.

2. Give the writer the gift of…their very own words.

What are they most proud of writing? Can you track down their very first blog post they ever published? Something that was featured in a magazine? Or just something they’re currently working on…and putting all of their heart, sweat & other bodily functions into? Tease out the first line or paragraph, and send it off to a printer to print on a gorgeous, oversized wall canvas. Who doesn’t want to be reminded of their brilliance every time they look up from their drudgery to read the one line that started it all? By the way, this idea was inspired by this hotel in my home city of Philadelphia. OB.SESSED.

3. Give the writer the gift of…a massage, for goodness sake.

Do you know what it’s like to sit in some chair that is definitely not optimized for ergonomics, crouched for up to 14 hours at a time while pinching your shoulder blades together and squinting at some dumbass little black cursor as it blinks at you in mocking SHAME? It’s not pretty, and we’re all going to end up looking like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. We secretly know this. This scares us. Let us have hope.

4. Give the writer the gift of…your energy.

Why not find out what kind of work they’re trying to publish, and go do some research to curate a hand-picked list of the top book agents in that genre, complete with their contact information & submission preferences, and then compile it all together and have it printed on gorgeous stationery, and bound with love…or a stapler. (Or something fancy at Office Depot.) This would also work for something like a top 50 list of publishers who would love their work, or even a top list of blogs where they really should be featured…and suggestions on angles for articles they could pitch. Talk about a wow-thoughtful gift.

5. Give the writer the gift of…your own words.

Listen, writers are writers because at some time or another, they thought pages were porn. Bottom line: We love physical books. The smell of them. The touch of them. The excitement as soon as you walk into the bookstore, and the feeling when you buy one you’ve been dying to read. But one of THE greatest gifts our loved ones could ever get us? Isn’t just any book. But a book you wrote yourself. About us, preferably. Because, hello, we’re all secretly dying to be a star.

6. Give the writer the gift of…a consult with a literary agent.

Many literary agents don’t just represent authors, but also offer their own consultancies as well. It would be a dream for any writer to have a chance to pick the brain of someone in the industry who can help guide their work at any stage, or even have their work reviewed. And yes, you will be a total fucking hero. Probably forever. So, bonus.

7. Give the writer the gift of…a funny, entirely personalized, handcrafted series of email auto-responders.

Great for any time they’re having writer’s block, are pissed off at themselves, are procrastinating writing, are actually busy writing, are going deep into the writing zone for weeks on end (with no food or water or exercise or sunlight), or, you know, just felt like taking a fucking nap. You can have them designed & printed & packaged into a fun little gift, or you can make a digital version that they can just pop into their actual canned responses…and begin using right away. Which would just be hilarious. Alternatively, you can always take a shortcut and gift them access to LOVE, BUSINESS OWNER: A sophisticated, searchable database of over 300+ scripts for any conversation you don't want to spend an hour thinking about how to say nicely, professionally, or tactfully.

8. Give the writer the gift of…one of those fancy digital pen & pad sets.

Because the first thing they’ll do with it is practice signing their autograph for book signings over and over and over again, which they’ll then promptly save in Photoshop and affix to the end of every single email they write from now until the end of time. They might also doodle smiley faces. It’s a toss up, really. I have one of these.

9. Give the writer the gift of…any one of the following apps. 

Probably easier to just link you to this page that WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO KISS MY KNEECAPS.

10. Give the writer the gift of…an Audible Membership.

Because truth be told, we get peeved anytime we have to do normal human things like drive places and eat things for the simple reason that it interrupts our reading and writing time. But at least with a collection of over audio books by our side, WE’LL NEVER BE PEEVED AGAIN. Until we get our first rejection letter, that is. Check it out here.

11. Give the writer the gift of…some bombass earplugs.

Or maybe even Bose noise canceling headphones if you’re feeling ultra generous. Or guilty. The #1 thing a writer cannot stand is having the words in his or her own head interrupted by other people’s blathering nonsense.

12. Give the writer the gift of…business smarts.

Is your writer thinking about starting a copywriting business? The very first thing you need to put into their stocking is a USB drive with Mike Montiero’s talk, “Fuck You, Pay Me” on it. And the very second is a hand written card letting them know you've added them to the notification list for Sentences & Money, my business class for new and aspiring writers who want to make great money doing the thing they love most: Writing words.

13. Give the writer the gift of…warm feet.

Because heated footpads are sure shit fancy, and every writer in the world should have one.

14. Give the writer the gift of…a cleaning service. Or a babysitter. Or both.

Who has time to write the next great American novel when they’re too busy cleaning up chicken pot pie crumbs? No, really. Exactly no one has time for this. This is an awesome present.

15. Give the writer the gift of…inside vengeance.

Buy a copy of their rival competitor’s book, hollow it out with a butcher knife, and then fill it full of those chocolates filled with booze. Because booze.

16. Give the writer the gift of…laughter.

Take the deadbeat out to a comedy club already, will ya? It’ll help to cross train their creativity. You can even tell them that's the reason so it feels like official writerly business. (Don’t forget to stuff some of those boozy chocolates into your pockets.)

17. Give the writer the gift of…zero pressure to do anything besides write.

The best way? Order them a month of food delivery service. THIS MIGHT BE THE ALL TIME BEST GIFT EVER. Mostly because it’s impossible to think about doing Suzy Homemaker type things when your wrists are sore, your eyes are seeing cross-eyed, your shoulders feel like there’s a rhinoceros sitting on top of them, and your brain is so fried you keep saying “stradegy” instead of “strategy” and can’t even remember WHY IT’S WRONG. Can’t afford meal delivery? Try a crockpot. I hear they work wonders for people who like to quote “set it and forget it.” An economy sized bag of hot pockets would also be well-received.

18. Give the writer the gift of…more hands.

Buy ‘em a virtual assistant for a month. That way, they don’t have to spend 800 hours researching that thing they want to write about when they should just be WRITING.

19. Give the writer the gift of…calligraphy.

When I was a little girl, I would hand write all of our Christmas cards using calligraphy ink & the most gorgeous of parchment paper, and to this day, there’s something about the beauty & art of the written word…not the typed word. Any writer – unless they’re an overbearing bore of a recluse – will love this gift. Whether they break themselves away from the grips of the computer to use it? Well, that’s another story.

20. And finally, if you’re really biting at the bit to get them that moleskine, don’t. Give them this instead.

It’s called Mod Notebook, and it’s a gorgeous, paper notebook that actually syncs your writing to the cloud (it’s almost 2015, after all!), which is fantastic for the writer who wants to get out and spend some time writing outside without the glare of the screen…or having to transfer all of their notes later. Co-founder Marshall Haas is a personal friend I met while living in the same apartment building in Santiago, Chile, where I may or may not have accidentally stolen his sweatshirt. Oops. Sorry Marshall!

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18 thoughts on "The Top 20 Most Original Gift Ideas for That Fucking Writer You Know (No, Not a Moleskine)"

  1. Leonie Ferrer says:

    Love it! I have saved this and intend on sending to all friends and family next time a special occasion comes up. Dream pressies x

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