*UPDATED December 15, 2018*
Looking for a list of unique gifts for writers that goes beyond the boring old composition notebook and fancy pen? You’re in the right place, my friend! I curated this list from my own perspective as both a freelance writer and lover of words.
These are unique bookish gift ideas I’ve come across over the past year and thought, “I’m adding that to my very long list of things I want to buy!” #TreatYoself Each gift idea had to pass the test of “Would I buy this for myself?” And I can honestly say that I would cherish every gift on this list.
Without further ado, here are 18 items that make great gifts for aspiring writers and experienced wordsmiths alike.
*This post has affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase through a link I provide (at no extra cost to you!).
#1 Bathtub Book Holder for That Writer Who Likes to Read in the Bath
It tickles me that this actually exists. I have a friend who loves to read while in the bathtub, so much so that almost all her books have wrinkled pages from her soaked fingers.
This nifty bamboo book holder tray has extending sides so it stays put right in the bathtub, so your writer can soak, sip, and read. You can see why I had to add this to the list of unique gifts for writers. I think your loved one will be thoroughly surprised (and pleased) to get one of these under the tree!
#2 Writer’s Market 2019
If your writer friend is interested in selling their writing, THIS is the book to get them. It’s the most comprehensive guide for contact information of magazines, publishers, and literary agents.
#3 Elements of Style (Illustrated)
This is every grammar geek’s favorite book. I used to own two different editions of it (one was a gift from a friend, the other was a gift to myself) until I became a minimalist and gave away most of my books. I regret giving this particular one away. I loved the illustrated version; it’s quirky and humorous.
#4 Journals Recycled From Old Book Covers
I just got my latest treasure from @bookjournals and I’m once again smitten. There is something magical about having an old book in your hands and having it remade into something functional for creativity. A smattering of original pages are left inside, but the majority of the interior pages are smooth high quality art paper. Jacob, the shop owner, is a positive force in the world and I love what he does. #exlibrisanonymous #recycledbookjournals #booktreasure
You know that feeling when you walk into a bookstore and the smell of books fills your nostrils? *Sigh* That’s why these handmade book cover journals make the perfect unique gift for a writer. I mean, just read the opening lines of the About page of Ex Libris Anonymous (the makers of the journals):
not unlike a snowflake, a soft puppy, or a slice of warm pie, every journal we make here at ex libris anonymous is one-of-a-kind, unique, and completely unrepeatable experience.
If you DON’T want these book journals, you don’t like snowflakes, puppies, pie, or any good thing. ;)
What’s more, Ex Libris Anonymous always offers FREE shipping anywhere in the U.S. They even have a Buy 5, Get 1 Free special going on right now!
Ex Libris Anonymous seems to be a very grassroots effort, so you may not be able to receive fast shipping and since it’s handmade, it will likely take some time for them to create it. An alternative would be these book cover journals from Manuscript Shop.
#5 Writer’s Digest Critiques & Workshops
Writer’s Digest is well-known and respected in the writer world, and they offer a suite of products from books to magazines to critiques. Personally, I’m eyeing the Personal Essays critique because I’d like an expert to pick apart my essays (I’ve never been formally trained in that area of writing). If your writer wants to improve their craft, give them a gift from Writer’s Digest.
#6 Amazon Kindle Unlimited
Every prolific writer is an avid reader. Reading good writing is the best way to improve one’s own, so I highly recommend purchasing a Kindle Unlimited subscription so your writer will be able to read over 1 million ebooks each month!
#7 On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
This book, as its subtitle states, is a classic. I own it, and I still am moved by the introductory chapter in which the author explains why using precise language is vital to protecting truth in society. This would make a great gift for nonfiction writers.
#8 The Associated Press Stylebook (Journalism)
As a former journalist, I was trained to use AP style. If your writer friend is interested in writing for newspapers or magazines, the AP Stylebook is a must-have.
#9 The Chicago Manual of Style (Book Publishing)
The Chicago Manual of Style is typically used in book publishing (fiction and nonfiction). So if your writer is interested in being published, this is the book for them!
#10 MLA Handbook
Yet another style guide is MLA. This one is most commonly used in academic settings, so if your writer is studying English, Literature, or Creative Writing, this is likely the guide they’ll need.
#11 Grammarly Premium
Grammarly is an app that’s like Spell Check on steroids. It does so much more, and I run all my articles through it before sending them off to my clients—and yes, Grammarly catches things that I didn’t. The Grammarly Premium subscription is the perfect gift for a writer because it unlocks so many features that will uplevel their writing, such as style suggestions and sentence structure checks.
Want proof that getting Grammarly will help your writer improve? Here ya go:
#12 A Writer’s Retreat
Of all the unique gifts for writers, this is the most valuable. Every writer dreams of a place where they get to do nothing but focus on their writing and get expert insight from more advanced writers. I have longed to go on a writer’s retreat for two years now but have yet to go because they tend to be pricey.
Alexis Grant of The Write Life recommends The Porches writer’s retreat in the Virginian countryside because it’s high quality and inexpensive. Rates are about $390/week, though it’s not nearly as guided as more expensive writer’s retreats.
As for me? I’ve been longing for the Write Away Europe France Writer’s Retreat held in the French countryside in June. They also have other inspiring locales for their retreats.
#13 Handmade Leather Books Scented Candle
This has got to be one of the most unique gifts for writers I’ve seen. We all know scent is a powerful catalyst for imagination and memory, and this handmade soy candle smells like leather-bound books—perfect for transporting your bibliophile back to their favorite library, even if they’re just writing in their PJs at home.
#14 Handmade Leather Journal
I bought a handmade leather journal in college, and I used it as my writing journal, where I sketched out characters, wrote notes of inspiration, and jotted down details of what was happening around me. It was pure joy, and I soon filled all of its pages. I can definitely recommend ordering one for your writer friend. Plus, unlined pages are the BEST for creativity (who needs those lines to restrict you??).
#15 Real Artists Don’t Starve
This book by bestselling author Jeff Goins turns the writer/artist stereotype on its head by pointing out that Michelangelo was not a starving artist; in fact, if he lived in this day and age, he’d be a millionaire. The book explores the ways writers (and other creatives) can make a good living in this new era. This makes the perfect gift for aspiring writers or writers who are ready to “go pro” and treat their craft as a real business.
#16 Compliment Your Loved One’s Writing (Or, If Possible, Buy Their Books!)
Honestly, as a writer, I can tell you the greatest gift is to hear someone say that something I wrote moved or inspired them in some way. That’s it. A simple email or Facebook comment will do. So if there is a writer in your life whose work you appreciate—let them know! Many of us do it for the love of writing; we don’t always get monetary compensation, nor do we always want it. I have a folder in my Gmail inbox called “Memorable Emails” in which I place those sweet notes from my readers.
#17 The Authors Guild Membership
This is one of the best writer gifts I’ve given myself this year! I can’t believe it took me this long to join. As you may know, being a writer can be lonely work. The Authors Guild is a powerful force for advocacy in the writing world. They lobby for writers’ rights by protecting freedom of speech and standing up for freedom of speech and copyrights.
A membership with The Authors Guild imparts many benefits, including discounted liability insurance rates, free contract reviews, and access to a community of like-minded writers.
You can give a gift of membership to The Authors Guild very easily. While the membership gift starts at the Emerging Writers level (for beginners), your friend can easily upgrade to Professional membership if they qualify.
Click here to gift a membership to The Authors Guild (instant gift—no shipping!)
#18 Word Magnets
So much more than just a fun little pastime, word magnets actually do something very refreshing for the brain. In a strategy known as combinatorial play (coined by Einstein), playing around with seemingly unrelated things (such as random words) can spark creativity in the brain and enable you to discover new ideas.
When your writer friend hits writer’s block, they’ll be glad to have these around.
There you have it! Eighteen unique gifts for writers. I know that when I was putting this list together, I had to keep my credit card in my wallet so I didn’t buy ALL THE THINGS.