What gift do you get for a writer? Pen and paper? A dictionary? Socks and undies? A whoopee cushion? Maybe. Finding something unique and thoughtful can be tough. You may have some homework to do—but we have dozens of suggestions for you.
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One option is to support their writing journey with tools of the trade like computer software, accessories, writing-related reference books, or even an online course about writing. Make sure your choice is helpful and appreciated, not something they already own.
You might get them a book. It could be something they’ll enjoy reading or one that will aid them in their writing journey.
Consider a quality satchel for them to carry their books and writing implements. Or you could go for something fun—a novelty gift like a mug with something literary written on it, a hoodie with a witty quote (or entire novel!), a word-related board game, or a stunning desk organizer.
If you’re short of ideas, we have way more than you need! You know your friends, your budget, and your relationship with them. We’ve included hundreds of suggestions below, and I’m sure you’ll find the perfect gift.
Last tip: writers appreciate words, so make sure you write something meaningful on the card!
Table of Contents
- Why Trust Me for This Guide
- Idea 1: Computer Accessories for Writers
- Idea 2: Computer Software for Writers
- Idea 3: Pen and Paper
- Idea 4: Books and More Books
- Idea 5: Courses and Subscriptions
- Idea 6: Fun and Unusual
Why Trust Me for This Guide
My name is Adrian Try, and I’m a writer who loves receiving gifts. I’ve received some awesome ones over the years (and bought myself some too), and want to help you give the best possible present to your writer friend or loved one.
I’ve thought about the meaningful gifts I’ve received, brainstormed the ones I still hope to get one day, scoured Google and Amazon, and explored the writing-related hardware and software reviews I’ve written.
Not all gifts will be appropriate for all recipients, so use your taste and knowledge of what your friend likes and doesn’t. I’ve tried to include so many ideas that you’ll be inspired with some of your own—ideas that are unexpected and just write… sorry, right.
Idea 1: Computer Accessories for Writers
A Quality Keyboard
While pens are popular gifts for writers (and I certainly appreciate them), most writers spend their days at a computer keyboard. They cost more than pens, but the right keyboard can make all the difference. The act of typing vanishes and words just flow onto the screen. You can learn more in our Best Keyboard for Writers review.
Maybe your friend has already found the keyboard of their dreams. Perhaps they’re dreaming of a better keyboard. They might just enjoy the experience of typing on various keyboards. They may prefer a certain type. Knowing whether they use a Mac or PC can help with your decision.
Since writers spend so much time typing, a keyboard that prevents pain and discomfort in the long-term is a good idea. That’s where ergonomic keyboards come in. They’re designed to fit your hands rather than make you bend yours. Many writers with wrist pain have found welcome relief from a good ergonomic keyboard.
My favorite ergonomic keyboard is the Logitech Wireless Wave K350. It places the keys in a wave shape to match the varying lengths of your fingers. The Wave features long key travel, a comfortable palm rest, and incredibly long battery life. It’s built to last. If you can’t find a Wave, Logitech recently released its successor, the Ergo K860. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks fantastic, though it costs a lot more.
Microsoft has some decent ergonomic keyboards as well, including the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic and Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5050. Kinesis, the ergonomic experts, also offers many excellent keyboards, including the Freestyle2 for Mac or PC.
There’s an older-style keyboard that’s making a comeback. Decades ago, all keyboards used mechanical switches instead of membranes. They had crisp action, gave helpful tactile and audible feedback when typing, and were very robust. Well, they’ve become popular again, especially among writers, programmers, and gamers—those who expect the most from their keyboards.
A Responsive Mouse or Trackpad
Another thoughtful gift is a quality mouse or trackpad. We cover some of the best in our review, The Best Mouse for Mac (most of these work on Windows as well). The best of these are ergonomic and responsive; many are customizable as well.
Writers sometimes work in noisy environments, including coffee shops, planes, and even at home with the kids. The right pair of headphones makes all that noise vanish while offering music or ambient sounds that help them focus.
Not all headphones are as effective at canceling noise, however. We explore the best options in our review, Best Noise-Isolating Headphones. Over-ear and in-ear options are available.
A Backup Drive (SSD or HDD)
Writers need to keep a backup of their work and perhaps to carry some documents with them. External hard drives, and faster-but-more-expensive SSD drives, make excellent gifts for those who need external storage. We cover the best options in our backup drive and external SSD roundups. Here are a few we recommend.
A Document Scanner
A final peripheral choice that makes a good gift for writers is a document scanner. Not everyone has one of these, so it may be a good choice for the writer who has almost everything.
A document scanner takes paper documents and turns them into searchable PDFs. It’s a good solution for writers who want to take all of their research with them. We cover some great models in our best document scanner roundup.
Idea 2: Computer Software for Writers
A Setapp Subscription
Choosing the right app for a writer can be tricky. That’s why Setapp makes such a good gift. With the purchase of an inexpensive subscription, you can give access to over 170 Mac applications (please note that this definitely isn’t an appropriate gift for Windows users!).
We cover Setapp and what it offers in our review (many more apps have been added since our review was published). It includes some very useful programs for writers and much more:
- Writing apps: Ulysses, Manuscripts
- Writing utilities: Strike, TextSoap, Marked, Expressions, PDF Search, Mate Translate, Wokabulary, Swift Publisher, Paste, PDFpen
- Outliners and mind maps: Cloud Outliner, MindNode
- XMind, iThoughtsX
- Academic writing apps: Findings, Studies
- Distraction-free apps: Be Focused, Focused, Focus, Noizio
- Time tracking: Timing, Time Out
- Time and project management: Pagico, NotePlan, TaskPaper, Aeon Timeline, Merlin Project Express, GoodTask, 2Do, Taskheat, BusyCal
- Notetaking: SideNotes, Diarly
- Screenshot tools: CleanShot
- Computer cleanup and maintenance: CleanMyMac X, Unclutter, Declutter, Get Backup Pro
- Finance: GigEconomy, Receipts
- Contacts: BusyContacts
That’s a lot of value there. The gift recipient could use the subscription to evaluate the apps they don’t already have, or they may enjoy Setapp so much they continue the subscription long-term. 1-month, 3-month, and 12-month gift cards are available.
A Writing App
Writers can have strong opinions on the software that they use to get writing done, and may have already chosen one or more apps they are committed to. Personally, although I love Ulysses, if someone gave me a copy of Scrivener I’d be over the moon!
We’ve rounded up the best software in our reviews of the Best Writing Apps and the Best Screenwriting Software. Here are some recommendations. A few are subscriptions or purchases through the Mac App Store. An iTunes Gift Card may be the easiest way to give these apps and gives the recipient an opportunity to choose something else if they prefer.
- Ulysses is a modern writing application for Mac and iOS. It offers a minimal user interface to keep you focused, and stores all your writing in an easy-to-access library. It’s a subscription-based app, so you can’t purchase it outright.
- Scrivener is more suitable for long-form writing like novels, and can be purchased for Windows or Mac outright from its official website.
- Storyist is a professional app suitable for both novelists and screenwriters. It’s not available for Windows, and can be purchased directly from the official website.
- Grammarly Premium will pick up large and small errors like an expert proofreader, and also give hints on how to improve your writing. The Premium plan is a subscription. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to pay for it on someone else’s behalf.
- TextExpander saves time by typing for you. Enter a few characters, and the app will convert it to entire paragraphs of text, tricky characters, the current date and time, and even templates of frequently-used documents. It’s another subscription-based app.
Other Useful Software
A password manager is one of the best security precautions you can take today. They make sure you use a different password for every site, and encourage you to use long, secure passwords. Two of our favorites are LastPass and Dashlane. Subscriptions can be purchased at their respective websites; gift cards for LastPass and Dashlane can also be purchased.
Over time, a writer’s body of work can become quite large, so keeping a backup is important. Read our full roundups of backup options for Mac, Windows, and online. Carbon Copy Cloner is a great option and offers an Online Gift Store, as does Backblaze.
Finally, there is a wide range of productivity apps that make life easier for every writer. Many of these are relatively inexpensive.
Idea 3: Pen and Paper
A Nice Pen
A nice pen may be an incredibly cliched gift for a writer, but I love them and appreciate every one I’ve ever received. I have quite a collection!
Here are some quality pens the writer in your life is bound to love.
- Cross Classic Century Lustrous Chrome Ballpoint Pen
- Zebra F-301 Ballpoint Stainless Steel Retractable Pen with a fine point and black ink
- Monteverde Prima ballpoint pen in turquoise
Quality Notebooks and Journals
Every pen needs some paper. Notebooks and journals make excellent gifts for writers.
- Leather journal writing notebook is made of crazy horse leather and contains 240 pages of blank, off-white paper
- Medieval renaissance handmade leather pocket journal
- Monogrammed full grain premium leather journal with refillable A5 lined paper
- Handmade leather-bound journal with 240 lined pages
Idea 4: Books and More Books
Many writers are ravenous readers. Books make good gifts, whether they’re books to read for pleasure, reference books, or books that help improve writing skills.
Kindle Books and Devices
Books are heavy! Kindle devices allow you to carry an entire library in the space of a paperback book. They are backlit and have long battery life (measured in weeks, not hours). They make excellent gifts for writers.
- All-new Kindle
- All-new Kindle Paperwhite Water-Safe Fabric Cover
- Refurbished Kindles are also available
There are plenty of books in the Kindle ecosystem; wel recommend a bunch below. The ultimate gift for readers is an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription which gives unlimited access to over a million Kindle books, current magazines, and Audible audiobooks.
Life’s busy, and it can be hard to find time to read. Audiobooks are the perfect solution, and Audible is the premiere provider. I listen to audiobooks when driving, cycling, and working around the house.
Give an Audible book subscription (for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months). Audible gift recipients receive three new books a month, 30% off additional titles, audiobook exchanges, and an Audible book library they will own forever.
Reference Books for Writers
Serious writers need a quality set of reference works. Here are some suggestions for the writer in your life:
- Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, America’s best-selling dictionary. It’s available in hardcover and Kindle.
- Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, a world best-seller. It’s available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.
- Collins English Dictionary contains many literary and rare words. It’s available in hardcover and Kindle.
- Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Writers offers lists of compelling word choices. It’s available in paperback and Kindle.
- Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus helps find the right word to enrich communication. It’s available in hardcover and Kindle.
- The Thinker’s Thesaurus: Sophisticated Alternatives to Common Words offers surprising alternatives to common words. It’s available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.
- The Elements of Style is a popular American English writing style guide. It’s available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.
- The Associated Press Stylebook is the definitive guideline for spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style.
- A Manual of Style by the University of Chicago Press is another highly influential stylebook. It’s available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.
- MLA Handbook by The Modern Language Association of America is another important authority on research and writing. It’s available in paperback and Kindle.
Books About Writing
You can support your writer friend’s career by giving a book that increases their understanding, skill, and perspective of what it means to be a writer.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King is a classic. In it, King shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that led to his success as a writer. It’s one of the most popular and highly-rated books on writing on Amazon, and is available in paperback, Kindle, or Audible Audiobook.
- You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins encourages people to become writers simply by writing. It includes practical advice about writing better, getting published, and building a platform. It’s available in paperback and Kindle.
- Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age by Jeff Goins dismantles the myth that being creative is a hindrance to success. It’s available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.
- On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser offers fundamental principles and the insights of a writer and teacher. It’s available in library binding, paperback, and Kindle.
- Read This if you Want to be a Great Writer by Henry Carroll demystifies the writing process. It’s available in paperback and Kindle.
Lists of Books to Read
Some books are read purely for pleasure. If you know your friend well, you might be able to pick the perfect book. Some writers will love first editions. And while you can’t buy them enough books to read in their lifetime, you can give them a gift to inspire them to read excellent books.
- 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich is the ultimate bucket list of books to read.
- Or you could give them a way of keeping track of their reading progress, like a scratch-off poster of the top reads of all time, or 100 must-read books poster.
Idea 5: Courses and Subscriptions
A magazine subscription feeds a writer’s hunger for improvement on an ongoing basis.
- You can subscribe to Poets and Writers on Amazon and receive either print or Kindle copies of the magazine. It’s a noted source of information, guidance, and support for creative writers.
- Writer’s Digest subscriptions are also available from Amazon in print or Kindle formats. It helps writers improve their skills and get published.
- The Writer is a Kindle magazine that helps writers improve their skills.
- Creative Nonfiction (Kindle or print subscriptions available) contains long-form essays, commentary, conversations with writers, and more.
Another great way for writers to improve at their craft is to do online training. A wide range of courses are available.
- A Udemy subscription gives access to tons of writing courses.
- Grammar Lion’s A Grammar Refresher course offers personalized grammar tuition with a one-on-one instructor.
- Besides the magazine, Writer’s Digest.com offer over 350 instructional writing videos.
- Get access to the Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing masterclass with a monthly subscription.
Keep reading for more.
Idea 6: Fun and Unusual
Games That Use Words and Storytelling
Word games stimulate the brain and increase vocabulary. Storytelling games inspire imagination and get the creative juices flowing. Here are a few games that writers will love to play.
- The Writer’s Toolbox is a set of creative games and exercises for inspiring the “write” side of your brain.
- Dixit is a humorous party card game with loads of imaginative storytelling.
- Once Upon a Time is a storytelling game that encourages creativity and collaborative play.
- Gamewright Rory’s Story Cubes is a pocket-sized story generator game that reinforces artistic expression.
For the Writer’s Desk
- The Ikee Design Large Adjustable Wooden Desktop Organizer is a gorgeous way to store everything needed on top of a desk.
- The Polar Whale Desk Drawer Organizer is a non-slip waterproof tray for a desk drawer, helping you make the most of your space and keep everything organized.
- The Colonial Distressed, Teak and Mango Wood Stained Portable Writing Chest includes three sheets of aged papers, a red bubble inkwell, a white quill with nib, and black ink.
Clocks and Pomodoro Timers
- The Enidgunter wall clock humorously shows writers the time for coffee, writing, reviewing, starting over, and drinking heavily.
- The YiiHaanBuy time to write wall clock for writers seems to say that it’s always time to write.
- The LanBaiLan Pomodoro Timer is a physical timer that will encourage you to focus until it’s time for a regularly-scheduled break.
Desk Lamps and Book Lights
- A swing arm lamp provides plenty of light to the desktop while remaining out of the way. It clamps easily, is adjustable, and has a sleep function.
- The IMIGY Aluminum Alloy LED Desk Lamp features a USB charging port, slide touch control, and is dimmable.
- The Malta Rustic Farmhouse Task Desk Lamp is made of bronze and satin and is perfect for working or reading.
- Moson Sports Water Bottle (21 oz) with writer’s block theme.
- 20 oz Steel White Water Bottle with Carabiner: displays the hashtag #writer.
- Klean Kanteen Classic Bottle with Sports Cap, 27 oz.
Messenger Bags and Satchels
Writers usually have something to carry: books, gadgets, a laptop, some reference material. Decent messenger bags and satchels are always appreciated.
- The Learichi Leather Laptop Shoulder Satchel Messenger Bag is strong, durable, and will fit 15” laptops.
- The Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag is my personal favorite for everyday carry and will fit an iPad or tablet, a few books, and other useful items.
- A Skyland 20 inch leather messenger bag looks stylish and has a canvas inner.
- The Purple convertible laptop messenger bag is water-resistant and has a dedicated, padded laptop compartment.
T-shirts and Hoodies
Because writers shouldn’t spend all day in their pajamas, you may want to buy them some real clothes. T-shirts make a good choice, especially when they feature a good slogan.
- One with a typewriter with a single word: “Word”.
- A long-sleeve t-shirt for writers: “I’m a writer. Anything you say may be used in a story.”
- A ladies’ hoodie with the words “Book Nerd”.
- A t-shirt with a Hunter S. Thompson quote: “It never got weird enough for me.”
Here’s a creative alternative: Litographs.com sells items with the text of entire books printed on them, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Great Gatsby, Little Women, Moby Dick, White Fang, and many more.
- ModSocks Men’s Bibliophile Men’s Crew Socks in Black feature books, are soft and stretchy, and fit men’s shoes from size 8-13.
- ModSocks Women’s Bibliophile Crew Socks in Black also feature books and are soft and stretchy. They fit women’s shoe sizes from 6-10. Knee-high socks are also available.
- LookHUMAN I Put The Lit In Literature are white socks with black text and a cool, stylized image of Shakespeare.
- Alice in Wonderland Writing Gloves
- The Night Circus Writing Gloves
- The Raven Writing Gloves
- Dracula Writing Gloves
Coffee Mugs for Writers
- A coffee mug for screenwriters—“Our hero sits at their laptop typing away…”
- A coffee mug for novelists—“I’m a writer… everything you say or do may end up in my next novel.” Here’s another version and something similar.
- A coffee mug with just one word: “writer.”
- “Eat. Sleep. Write.”
- A coffee mug with the dictionary definition of “writer.”
- A coffee mug with a Virginia Woolf quote: “Thinking is my fighting.”
- A coffee mug with an Ernest Hemingway quote: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
- A coffee mug with a Klingon-inspired saying: “It’s a good day to write.”
- Here’s a final coffee mug for writers: “Writer’s block is a figment of your… uh…”
When you can’t send a physical gift, a gift certificate is an excellent alternative. They can be sent electronically, and show a degree of thoughtfulness.
- Amazon Gift Cards allow your friend to purchase from a huge range of products. The cards can be electronic, printed at home, or mailed. Be aware that purchases can only be made from the country’s store where you purchased the gift card.
- T2 offers gift cards and a range of personalized gift packs for the tea drinker in your life.
- Say it with coffee! A Starbucks Gift Card gives what you would expect, and can be sent over iMessage or email.
- A Bean Box gift certificate provides access to over 100 freshly-roasted coffees from a premiere Seattle-based small-batch roaster.
- An Industry Beans online store gift card allows your coffee-loving friend to buy quality coffee beans, filter papers, and Aeropress machines.
That wraps up this long guide. Any other great gift ideas for writers? Leave a comment and let us know.