Lists of Christmas presents for writers often give the impression that all the wordsmith in your life wants is a:
- fancy pen
- mug or tote bag with a picture of a typewriter on it
- mug or tote bag with a literary quote on it
- mug or tote bag that demands you leave them alone because they’re doing important writerly stuff
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure all these items would be appreciated and cherished. But if you fancy broadening your gift-buying horizons, here are a few ideas.
Pricewise they range from ‘woohoo, check me. I bagged a bargain!’ to ‘budget? What budget?’
Things To Make Them Go ‘Mmm’
Discomfort’s an unwelcome distraction. So sitting at your desk when your feet are frozen tends to get in the way of penning a masterpiece. This bit of kit will keep your writer’s tootsies toasty.
How much better than a sad, saggy cushion is this? As well as being an anti-slouching-in-your-chair device, it can be heated up in the microwave, or chilled in the freezer, to help soothe away aches and pains.
Oh So Handy
Rowdy neighbours, or colleagues whose voice settings are stuck on bellow, mean there are times when turning down the volume on the outside world’s a must. When that’s what’s needed, these headphones should do the trick.
A pen that lights up! Genius! Ideal for jotting down those pesky, random ideas that make an appearance in the middle of the night. And for film, theatre or comedy reviewers who want to see what they’re scribbling.
All the Listography fill-in journals will let them document their life through the medium of weird, wonderful, and sometimes cheeky, lists. They’re beautifully illustrated and, as well as literature, focus on themes like music, film and travel.
As every writer knows, a well-chosen and funny quote can add some sparkle to your work. This compendium of quips, puns and one-liners means they’ll never have to rack their brains for a humourous aside, or witty retort again.
This pretty coffee table book is a collection of some of those lovely words from other languages, that don’t have English equivalents. You know the ones. The kind that perfectly capture a particular situation, feeling, or state of mind.
Having a copy of this weighty tome will make sure they’ll always have clever, wise (and correctly attributed) quotations at hand. It contains over 20,000 of them, so something for every occasion.
Teach Them A (Nice) Lesson
Arvon’s week-long writing courses are the spendiest option on the list. They’re held in secluded and picturesque locations, and are led by established authors. Past tutors have included A.L. Kennedy, Christopher Brookmyre and Jackie Kay.
Skillshare’s library of over 12,000 online courses has plenty of writing options. But if something completely different is in order, there are classes on topics like cocktail making, portrait photography and bookbinding too.
Gifts That Keep On Giving
Give the gift of access to millions of songs. Whatever your recipient likes to listen to while they’re tapping away at their keyboard, whether it’s punk, classical or a spot of stand-up comedy, Spotify’s probably got something for them.
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (a proudly quirky independent bookshop in Bath) takes the pain out of choosing what book to read next. After a quick consultation to figure out what your lucky giftee’s up for reading-wise, they’ll be sent a book a month for 3, 6 or 11 months.
Research has linked meditation to creativity. So, as well as giving our poor brains a well-earned rest from all that endless thinking, drafting and tweaking, a subscription to the Headspace app could help keep those all-important writing ideas coming too.
According to Audible, ‘listening’s the new reading’. Not quite sure about that. But, to be fair, ‘you can listen to books while you’re washing up, at the gym or driving’ isn’t quite as snappy. However you sell it, audiobooks are a great way for your writer friend to get their book fix while they’re on the go.
Dawn is an ace wordsmith with a background in arts journalism – writing features and book, food, film, TV, theatre and stand-up comedy reviews. She has also written speeches for politicians, and is a skilled business writer who’s drafted and edited content for the Scottish Government’s website.