12 gifts for writers

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When buying a gift for the writer in your life (and it is 100% okay if this is actually yourself), you can’t go wrong with a notebook or pen. But if you’re looking to go beyond the basics, we’ve rounded up 12 great gift ideas for writers.

A whiteboard

A writer simply can't have enough surfaces to write on. Notebooks, notepads, scraps of paper, bus tickets, the top of a bank statement, the back of your hand… So why not a whiteboard?

A whiteboard is super handy. You can use it for something as basic as a to-do list or to track your word count. Or you can sketch out your major points so that you remember to include them in your story. You can use it as a place to write down the projects you want to do next – with a big circle around the project you're working on NOW!

Bestselling author R. A. Spratt keeps a whiteboard in her office for just that reason. “It's got a list of projects that I want to develop that I wrote about 15 years ago,” she says. “I always have a list of projects I want to develop.”

Hot tip: if you are a fan of Post-it notes to help sketch out your scenes, it is much easier to stick them to a whiteboard than a regular wall. Which brings us to…

Post-it notes

We don't usually obsess over brands here at the Australian Writers' Centre. But for the stickiest of sticky notes, it definitely pays to use the original Post-it note.

Help your writer out by getting them an enormous stack of good quality Post-it notes. They are handy for making notes in a manuscript, sketching out scenes, sticking reminders on your wall, rearranging book structure, and so much more.

Creative Journals

If you’re going to get your writer a journal, it can’t be just any journal. You want a journal that is beautifully designed and inspirational, a journal that has been created especially with the writer in mind.

That’s exactly what Valerie Khoo has created with her line of Creative Journals. You may know Valerie from the podcasts So you want to be a writer and So you want to be a photographer, and she’s the CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre. But did you know she is also a talented artist? 

Each notebook features one of her artworks on the cover and a message on each page to inspire or make you think.

Valerie is an ardent supporter of writers and artists in Australia. “I believe that with the right tools, knowledge, and perseverance, anyone can achieve their creative dream,” Valerie says.

Valerie's Creative Journals were crafted especially to help writers and artists every day.

Journal subscription

One of the best gifts you can get your writer is a subscription to a literary journal. 

There are several benefits. One, your writer will be able to read short stories, features and editorials all about the world of writing. They are a great way to explore new genres, discover new writers, and make connections within the community. 

And two, you get to support the writing community. Journals are often the primordial soup from which future great authors emerge. They do a great service for the writing community but get very little funding. Taking out a subscription helps to keep these small presses going.

In Australia, there are journals like Meanjin, Overland, and The Griffith Review. Internationally, there are powerhouses like The White Review, The New Yorker, and Granta.

Keep in mind that some of these journals also feature political content – so make sure it aligns with your writer's leanings before buying a subscription!

Australian Writers' Centre gift voucher

At the Australian Writers' Centre we have a course for every stage and type of writer, ideal for giving someone the nudge they need to pursue their creative dream. Our gift vouchers allow writers to choose from over 50 courses including freelance writing, business writing, creative writing, writing for kids, and the nuts and bolts of getting published.

Here's what Rachel Nickless, a recent graduate of Creative Writing Stage 1, had to say about her course: “I definitely improved my writing by doing this course. Thank you. It's made me want to be a creative writer even more, and start to narrow down what I want to write about.”

(Check out more reviews of our courses.)

With over 50 quality courses to choose from, a gift voucher to use at the Australian Writers' Centre is a great way to treat someone special with the gift of writing. Plus, vouchers are instantly delivered to your inbox, making them an easy last-minute gift.

Writing Maps

Writing Maps are beautifully illustrated maps that guide writers through a series of exercises. Each map comes printed on an A3 page which folds up neatly to fit in your pocket so you can take them and use them for inspiration anywhere.

Maps include: Writing Around the House, Writing Up Your Street, Writing the Body, Writing the Family Album, and Write Around the Bookshop.

They are created by the A3 Press in the UK, so you do need to factor in shipping times.

Wrist warmers

No, we’re not talking about the 80s athletic fashion accessory (although by all means, use that as your inspiration). But when you’re working at your computer or scribbling with a pen, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your wrists. They’re working hard to keep your hands and fingers going. Give them a little love with wrist warmers. They provide warmth on a cold day, but they also provide cushioning even on a hot day.

You can find handcrafted wrist warmers on sites like Etsy or at your local craft market. Or you could whip up a pair yourself, if you're yarn-inclined.

Bluetooth keyboard

Writers tend to be a little bit traditional. They are unlikely to have a sleek ultralight laptop but rather prefer to hunker down on the family computer surrounded by chaos. If this sounds like you, ahem, your writer, then a Bluetooth keyboard will set them free.

Connecting a Bluetooth keyboard to your phone means you can write anywhere. If you haven’t tried it, you’ll be amazed. Of course, you can write anywhere with a notepad and pen, but if you’re the typing type of writer, a Bluetooth keyboard means you can tap out a few pages while having a coffee or on your commute.

So You Want To Be A Writer book

Do you have a budding writer in your life who knows they want to write, but isn't quite sure where to start? They need the So You Want To Be A Writer book.

Authors Allison Tait and Valerie Khoo – yes, the intrepid co-hosts of the popular So You Want To Be A Writer podcast – have pooled their knowledge to bring you everything you need to know to start out writing, either as a creative writer or as a freelance writer. 

This book lays out a blueprint to help you get started and thrive in the world of words. With advice from over 120 writers, you’ll tap into proven wisdom and find the path that will lead YOU to success! It's the ideal gift for anyone with big writing dreams.

Scrivener

If a notebook is like a horse, and Microsoft Word is like a family station wagon, then Scrivener is like a jet plane. If you only need a simple way to get from A to B, then Microsoft Word is fine. But if you really want to give your story wings, then Scrivener – a powerful program specifically designed for authors – will help you take off.

Basically, it’s a computer program that allows you to write your story, novel or memoir in any way you like. You can break it down into scenes and rearrange them easily. You can sketch out story arcs, character profiles, and even do your research, all within the one program.

Unlike a lot of software these days, it’s a one off fee. You don't have to pay an annual subscription, so you know that if you give Scrivener to your writer, they’ll have it forever. 

For an essential guide on how to make the most of the program, check out our amazing 2 Hours to Scrivener Power course. Here's what Jodi Gibson, a graduate of the course, has to say about it: “I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner! It was fantastic. Although I've used Scrivener for a couple of projects, I knew I wasn't using it to its full potential. Now, after just two hours, I am blown away at how many useful features it has, and how it's going to be an absolute game changer for my writing process.”

A mock book cover

In order to succeed as a writer, it helps to have a clear goal to work towards. If your writer is in the throes of writing a novel, you can help them to visualise their goal by creating a book cover. This can be as simple as a printed A4 page to pin on the wall by their computer, or you can create a beautiful framed print. Either way, they'll be able to literally see their goal every day.

If you have an artistic flair, you can do this yourself for free in programs like Canva and SmartMockups. But if you’re not design-inclined, you can hire someone to create a book cover for you on a task site like Fiverr

There’s no greater inspiration than hanging your book cover on your wall – if you can see it, you can believe it!

A writing retreat

If money is no object, treat your writer to a week in Tuscany to work on their novel! 

Okay, so nobody really has that kind of dough. But a writing retreat doesn't need to be exotic. A writing retreat simply means having dedicated time and space to actually write. 

If you want to send your writer away for a few days, you can DIY your own writer's retreat. But you can also offer to babysit the kids or dogs for a few days, leaving your writer alone in the house – whatever it takes to give your writer the space they need to work on their manuscript.

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