People often think that choosing gifts for writers is a difficult task, as they are too pretentious and picky. With so many writers on our team, we can absolutely vouch that this is not the case and in fact, writers appreciate a wide range of witty and literature-related offerings.
We have listed our top picks for best gifts for writers in several categories in the following article, so if you ever find yourself in the situation of going to a writer’s birthday party with no idea what to get them – you can have a contingency plan to fall back on.
- Books on how to write
- Working comfort help
What’s a writer without a pen? In today’s digital age this question might make for a giggle or two, but in fact, writers are still largely associated with carrying pen and paper everywhere they go. But it’s not like any pen will do – it needs to be a reliable one that won’t let its owner down at a crucial moment. Here at IFB we like our pens so much, that you’re never more than a few centimeters away from one anywhere in our office. They are just so convenient – you don’t have to open your laptop every time an idea dawns on you and can instead just scribble it down somewhere in smooth, silky lines. And before you mention it, yes, pens make for a great gift idea.
Here are our top picks for a writer’s best friend – a good old-fashioned pen.
Mont Blanc Meisterstück Classique Fountain Pen
One of the pioneers when it comes to fountain pens, Mont Blanc products are associated with class, sophistication and impeccable quality. You can count on the Meisterstück pen to continue to write as smoothly and seamlessly as the day you first got it. With its ageless style, it will still look as classy and posh 50 years from now. It also includes a gift certificate of authenticity, which is always a plus. The Meisterstück pen is a sturdy gift that is reported to truly stand the test of time. And even if your writer friend isn’t a fan of writing the good old-fashioned way, this pen is a great incentive to start.
If your writer friend is a pen geek, there is no way they won’t appreciate a Pilot Metropolitan. Fountain pens carry a stigma of unobtainable and pricey delights, but this doesn’t have to be the case. What’s even better is that if your friend isn’t a fan of fountain pens, Pilot Metropolitan comes in several different varieties, such as rollerball, ballpoint and even pencil models. No matter what you choose, any model will produce smooth and consistent lines, which are bound to be a feast for anyone’s eye. Plus, each model comes in a wide array of colors that can satisfy even the pickiest writer out there.
Bamboo Pen Set
The world nowadays is making a serious effort to minimize produced waste and be more environmentally conscious. This bamboo set exemplifies this push toward cleaner living, while still looking slick and expensive. Bamboo is a sustainable alternative to hardwood, which is why picking this set will be deeply appreciated by your green writer friend. The set consists of a twist type ballpoint pen and a 0.9mm pencil, both produced from eco-friendly bamboo. What we like the most is that they come with a convenient bamboo case, which protects your writing supplies whilst carrying them around. And what’s more – it looks good on any desk.
Let’s face it – notebooks never go out of style. Whether it be a quick and convenient way to scribble your thoughts or a romantic notion of the days of old, notebooks can go a very long way. For some, writing down on paper can boost creativity and productivity, plus you can never be sure at which precise moment inspiration will strike. And unless you write down that great idea straight away, it’s likely to disappear into the ether, believe us, we’ve been there.
So without further ado, here are our most essential notebook picks that can be paired up nicely with our pen suggestions from above.
Who says notebooks are old fashioned? Not Rocketbook, that’s for sure. This smart notebook takes its mission to blend the traditional pen-and-paper and the modern digital experiences quite seriously. The 80-page notebook is completely reusable by microwaving it (!!!) and you can easily turn your writings digital by sending them to your phone through the Rocketbook app. In case you don’t want to go for the microwave experience, the notebook comes with a special Pilot FriXion pen that can easily be wiped off with paper or cloth. Overall, this is an amazing gift for that tech-savvy, geeky writer friend of yours… or maybe you are that person yourself!
Imagine this: you are taking a shower, shampooing through your hair, your thoughts are left to themselves when suddenly… BOOM! Finally you know the best way to kill off your main character. This has been bugging you for so long and… Wait a second, you need to write this down asap because (as we all know) the best ideas come to people in the shower but if not written down, they will flutter away into nothingness. Cut to Aqua Notes, the notebook specifically made for such occasions. Maybe we are exaggerating a bit, but the truth remains that this notepad can withstand any type of watery environment, which makes it a trusted companion for any water-loving writer.
Eco Friendly Memopad
Not all writers go digital simply for the convenience of it – some do so because of their concern for the environment. However, writing on paper doesn’t necessarily mean a person is less green, as there are plenty of recycled and eco-friendly options to choose from. This eco-friendly notepad is made from 100% recycled paper and still gives off the nice feel of writing with pen on paper, boosting productivity and imagination. It isn’t flashy, nor does it have a lot of customization options – it is plain, simple and straight to the point. Just how good writing is supposed to be like.
Books on how to write
Before getting started with the writing itself, are you sure you are inspired enough? Writing can be a tough field, especially when you don’t quite know what your story is going to be about. Anyone could benefit from some help in that field, which is why we have listed some handy books on writing to help any aspiring (or advanced for that matter!) writer to get started.
Here are our picks for the holy grails on books for writing.
- Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell
A great read for anyone who wants to get the hang of writing by-the-book bestsellers. This one mostly deals with… well… explaining the architecture of plot and structure. It gives very practical step-by-step instructions on how to construct your novel in a way that is proven to be liked by the readers, through decades of research. The best part is that even the more difficult concepts are explained in a digestible, simple way. By the time you finish it, you will have a much clearer understanding of how to generate plot ideas, how to hook the reader from the start, what plotting systems are available to you as a writer and much, much more. Our humble opinion? This book should be a staple for any aspiring writer out there.
- On Writing by Stephen King
Who can better inspire a writer than New York Times'-bestselling novelist and the King of Horror himself – Stephen King? This book can both serve as a guidebook and a memoir to the great author, offering plenty of practical instruments that any writer can incorporate in their toolbox. You don’t have to be a horror fan to appreciate the mastery that King has over his craft. Learning the story of how he became the writer he is today is bound to get your creative juices flowing in no time. The simplest lesson that the reader can take from this book is that if you want to become a successful writer, you have to start reading – a lot. As King puts it himself: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around those two things….”
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lammot
Anne Lammot is the person we can thank for coining the term Shitty First Drafts. As any writer knows, no one is immune to falling into a writing slump, the important thing is to know how to get yourself out of it. According to Lammot, however, this scenario isn’t as grim as it appears – on a day when you simply can’t write well, write anyway. You can always go back to your writing and edit it out later. Bird by Bird is a very reassuring book and we believe it should be on the bookshelf of any writer. Because come on, let’s face it – we’ve all been there! This book is also useful in terms of character development, plot, dialogue and discovering useful writer prompts to help you get unstuck. And as Anne Lammot says “All good writers write Shitty First Drafts. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.”
Working comfort help
Now that you got inspired, the next step would be to sit down and get on with it, right? You couldn’t be more wrong! Take a look around your room – is it a room that welcomes writing or does it give you uncomfortable shivers, when you think of the rusty desk chair you have to sit on for the next 3-5 hours? Writing in a comfortable environment can impact the quality of your work significantly, which is why this isn’t something that should be overlooked.
Here are some of the best picks to make your space more writer-friendly.
Lumbar support pillow
As bloggers and writers, we are sure that you know that once you get in the zone, it’s good to stay in there for as long as possible without getting distracted. And after spending long hours working on that blog post or that book chapter, nothing is more distracting than the crippling pain in our lower backs. This is why getting your hands on a backrest for your chair could be a lifesaver – literally. Be careful though – most support cushions use ineffective or cheap materials, which can only worsen your condition. We recommend choosing one filled with thick memory foam, which will keep its shape (and your lower back) good as new.
Writing isn’t a brisk walk in the park – which is why you need solid support from below to get you started. Having your feet in an uncomfortable position for a prolonged period can be just as bad as shifting your back, which is why you need to take proper care of this. Ensuring you get a proper comfortable setup that can ergonomically support you is crucial and the adjustable footrest is one component that shouldn’t be overlooked. Trust us – we tried them! We have some lying around at the office and they really make a difference when you sit and write for 4-5-6 hours straight.
FEZIBO Bamboo Standing Desk
Sure, writing is one of the less demanding jobs (at least physically) but how good exactly is it for your body? Sitting down all day long surely can’t be all that good for your fitness – which is exactly why standing desks were invented. Here at IFB we have a bunch of those. Standing actually lowers the risk of weight gain, helps control back pain and lowers both the risk of heart disease, as well as the blood sugar levels. Plus, it can be very refreshing to switch your position and write standing for a while.
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
If you are a writer in the 21st century, there is a good chance that your primary place for pouring out your thoughts is… your computer. Staring at a screen for hours at a time without taking proper breaks can seriously damage your eyes, as well as disrupt your sleep. This is mostly caused by the blue light emitting from all your devices – think laptop, phone, TV. Luckily, this isn’t a problem without a solution – and a simple one at that. Blue light blocking glasses are cheap, don’t require a prescription to buy and can really do wonders in easing the stress for your eyes.
Ah, subscriptions. Making our lives easier since… well, they’ve been around for a long time, but it was only recently that suddenly everything became subscription-able. Entertainment, cosmetics, snacks, clothes, vitamins, and even coffee. Nowadays you can find a subscription for nearly anything and many people are taking advantage of that. It goes without saying that they are certainly convenient… until you lose track of everything you are subscribed to and just can’t understand where this large chunk of your money goes every month.
Writers often lead busy lives inside of their heads, which is why they can benefit greatly from subscriptions. Here are a few that can send shivers of excitement down their spines.
Amazon Kindle Unlimited Subscription
As writer and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner once said: “Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you'll find out.” The notion that reading more creates better writers isn’t originally coined by Faulkner – in fact many successful writers attribute reading to have a big influence on their works. In the age of e-readers, Kindle Unlimited gives it’s holders the opportunity to read as much as they want, choosing from over 1 million titles in their arsenal, as well as thousands of audiobooks. It can be used on any device, not only on a Kindle, which instantly makes it the perfect gift for any writer.
Some people prefer audiobooks over traditional paper ones for a number of reasons. You can’t read a hard copy of a book while vacuuming the house or while stuck in traffic unless of course you are asking for an accident to happen. Audiobooks allow their listeners to “read” much more than the average paper reader can, which essentially lets them put more read titles under their belt. Audible is probably the best-known service for audiobooks, with thousands of editions in their library. The debate surrounding whether audiobooks are less superior than the traditional written word are still out, but we still thought that a subscription to Audible could make for a curious gift to any writer, no matter how skeptical they are.
Subscription to Writer’s Digest
Writer’s Digest is the magazine written by writers, for writers. It keeps up with industry trends, features even the lesser-known craft techniques and gives useful tips on how to sell your work to the correct markets. It can be very helpful if your writer friend wants to take things to the next level and find an agent or an editor for their draft – and this is only a small selection of the goodies included inside the covers of each issue. A subscription can come in handy to a writer of any caliber, be it a freelance writer, aspiring or advanced, agent, poet – you name it.
Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription
Coffee to writers is what jet fuel is to airplanes. You can almost surely find a coffee mug spouting next to their laptop or notebook – it is an integral part of their process. While it’s not a good idea to run only on coffee all day long, the supplies should be kept in check so that they don’t run out. And what better way to do that than by getting a coffee subscription? Sure, it might sound like this makes for a unique gift but keep in mind that Blue Coffee offers a very diverse range of roast options to choose from. This includes some very high-quality ones if you choose to opt for that. The subscription is very customizable and can easily be tailored to the recipient's likings – given you know what they are.
Food Subscription Box
Sometimes the writing process can be so immersive that several hours can easily go by without the writer even noticing. Important physiological functions such as eating and sleeping can be disregarded as nuisances, which (as you may know) isn’t good for a person’s overall health. Luckily someone at some point in time invented… the food subscription box! There are plenty of options out there to choose from but the one we use most in the IFB office is Taste the World, which offers a curious selection of dishes from across the globe. It offers an interesting (sometimes even inspiring) twist on food, for which your writer friend can only be grateful.
The trope of writers writing beside a candle is as old as writing itself – Just think of ancient humans drawing cave paintings under fire-light. Yet, in the age of digital technology (and more importantly – electricity!) it doesn’t seem like it is particularly relevant, however we think it still holds its charm. Candles provide that perfect ambiance to get you in the mood for setting your imagination free and seeing where it leads you. Whether it be a candle-lit romance or blazing through a dungeon with a torch in hand, fire has a way of igniting (pun intended) our wildest dreams.
Here are two wax suggestions that we think will strike the fancy of your literary-inclined friend.
The Library Candle
Do you know the smell that engulfs you when you enter a library? That same smell that combines antique, rusty pages, with the sense of mysticism and adventure that lies ahead? If you do know what I’m talking about, I’m sure you’ve wondered if it’s possible to take that same scent back to your home. With this candle this is quite possible, as the blend of teak-wood, cedar and sandalwood has the extraordinary power to transport you to an ancient library, filled with undiscovered mysteries. In most cases this is enough to throw any writer in a sense of awe and unexplainable excitement.
Unemployed Philosophers Guild Candle
Who better to supervise your writer friend’s work than William Shakespeare? How about Jane Austen? Or Edgar Allan Poe? The Unemployed Philosophers Guild collection of witty candles is bound to bring a smile to any writer’s face. If you know who your writer friend’s favorite writer is, this is one gift that can make them very happy. There are plenty of options to choose from, from Kurt Vonnegut to Virginia Woolf, The Unemployed Philosophers Guild feature some of the brightest (and some of the most questionable) writers of any era.
What would an IFB blog post be without talking about clothes for even just a second? While writers don’t particularly stand out with their fashion style (unless we are talking about the highly romanticized and rugged writer look we know from literature and TV), they do have their individual preferences. During all these lockdowns (and not only), people who spend most of their time writing opt for comfy wear or clothes that represent their personal interests.
While it’s difficult to put everyone under the same umbrella, we have rounded up some fashion suggestions that are likely to make any writer happy.
People often say – don’t judge a book by its cover, as the insides are more important. Litographs illustrate this saying quite beautifully (and literally). Their collection of printed T Shirts feature text from beloved books, wrapped in a beautiful image, encompassing the book. The printed words are very tiny, so they might not become apparent at first, but when they do there is bound to be an “aha!” moment. What’s better is that they are made of soft fabric that feels nice on the skin and can easily be appreciated by anyone. Litographs also make mugs, posters, scarves and other merch using this technique.
Fjällräven Kånken Backpack
Fjällräven backpacks have become somewhat associated with hipster culture and even more so with creatives of any type. These Swedish creations come in a huuuge range of colors and are very convenient for carrying a laptop, as well as several books/notebooks/writing supplies around. They come in several different variations, for example with space for 13’’ laptop or a 15’’ laptop. One of our writers has one of these and she wears it every day, saying it’s very comfortable and is surprisingly spacious. This backpack is definitely a fun purchase, especially for writer friends who like to keep it stylish, without sacrificing comfort.
Literary Tote Bag
Tote bags are the original merch for artists, readers and writers from across the globe. They fare well as a sort of multitool, as they can be equally good at being used for bookstore raids, as well as carrying groceries. Totes are surprisingly sturdy and can carry more than they look like they can. These ones from the Literary Gift Company have an overwhelming choice of prints, colors and patterns, specifically tailored toward people who love reading and writing. Give your writer friend a tote with their favourite book cover on it, or with the head cutout of their favourite writer. They will appreciate it and you won’t see them carrying any other bag around for months, trust us.
Writers in this day and age are very lucky for the abundance of technology available, which makes their lives easier. Long gone are the days of having to scribble down notes in the dark – today there are laptops, Internet, electricity! What a glorious time to be alive! And even though some of the modern inventions aren’t that essential to the writing process, there still are plenty of goodies that writers would simply kill to have in their possession.
Here are some high (and not so high) tech examples that illustrate our point.
For better or worse, typewriters today are considered an invention of the past. They are slow, don’t connect to the Internet and aren’t particularly comfortable. Luckily, the typewriter aesthetics can still be transported onto any desk via a typewriter keyboard. The one we’ve chosen has an all metal construction and features beautiful vintage typewriter keycaps. It has wireless options and an integrated tablet stand, so any writer can feel like being back in the days of old – with a modern touch. The keyboard can be used together with either a computer, laptop, tablet or phone for that authentic, rustic and high-quality writing experience.
BOSE Noise Cancelling Headphones
Different writers appreciate different environments that stimulate their writing process. Some thrive in the buzzing coffee shop ambience, while others prefer to be left alone with their thoughts. If your writer friend craves zero distractions and finds it difficult to concentrate, no matter how hard they try, you can gift them a pair of nice noise cancelling headphones. Bose has a number of options that range in price but the ones we use most frequently in the office are the Bose QuietComfort 35. They isolate outside noises very nicely and eliminate any dangling and annoying cords, as they are entirely wireless.
Sunrise Simulator Alarm Clock
One of the most impossible tasks for most people is to get out of their beds in the morning. Morning people are an exception to this rule, but let’s face it – are they really people? Or are they well-oiled and overly cheerful robots? Jokes aside, leaving the comfort of our warm nest of blankets and pillows often takes a tremendous amount of willpower to pull off. Did you know that the most stimulating time of the day for writing and overall thinking is the morning, when our brains are at their freshest? This alarm clock gradually lights up, simulating a warm sunrise, which can gently nudge you to find the strength to take on this task of gargantuan proportions.
Everyone has encountered this scenario at least once in their lives – it’s late at night, you just woke up because you need to go to the toilet and suddenly you remember this really cool dream that you just snapped out of! You look around a bit drowsy, as dream and reality still blend together. Opening your phone to write down your thoughts or details of your dream would be suicide but alas there is no other way. Unless… Enter the LED pen, a device that allows you to write in the dark without any interference of harsh light sources. A gift worthy of any writer who has whacky dreams or interesting midnight thoughts.
The perfect gifts for writers don't have to be highly functional and practical – sometimes they can just look pretty on their wall or support the books in their bookcase. Trust that any book lover (that includes any respectable writer too) will still find joy in decor items that reference books or some other of their interests.
Here are a couple of suggestions that are likely to please them.
Literary Insults Chart
Sometimes one must throw out tactfulness and well-established literary tropes in favor of spicier and zestier language. This can prove to be a difficult task, which is why a writer must remember that they aren’t alone in this endeavor. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and come up with a unique and never-before-seen insult, they can tap into great authors for inspiration. In this interconnected map of insults, they can make their choice between sassy, yet sophisticated phrases (You had to stand in line to hate him.), anamorphic analogies (The more I see of men, the more I like dogs) and even witty wordplay (Some folks are wise, and some otherwise). Of course, the chart features the king of sass himself – William Shakespeare, who can get anyone out of a writer’s block with a snap of his fingers.
What writer can’t appreciate a good and witty bookend? Sooner or later every writer finds themselves in the need of something to support their books or divide them in some way – and this bookend suits perfectly either need. The meaning behind the bookend we chose is fluctuating – is the man about to be crushed by the falling books or does he actually support them through his telekinetic powers? The interpretation is left to the beholder to decide for themselves. Either way, we thought it’s a fun and interesting gift, which can bring a goodhearted giggle to any bookshelf.
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