Wondering what gift to buy the writer in your life? Look no further! THIS is the definitive Best Gifts for Writers 2021 Edition. There are over fifty gifts for writers that you can choose from and there is a gift for all budgets.
New this year, I’ve broken it into five categories:
And I’ve also gone deep to REALLY vet as many of the products and services as I possibly can. You’re getting MY personal recommendations here!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for products that I personally use and believe have value to my readers. When you purchase using my affiliate link, I earn a small commission. (It doesn’t cost you anything extra.) High-five for your support!
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To make your gift shopping a bit easier, just click on the name of the gift to be taken directly to where you can purchase it! At the time of publishing these gift ideas for writers, all the links work. But as the Internet changes, I can’t guarantee that they’ll all continue to work.
Best Gifts for Writers 2021
Technology Gifts Authors Need
Ahhhh, tech. In certain circles, it’s rather sexy. And while most authors have a deep love for the computer where they do most of their writing, most technology is looked at as a necessary evil. Here are the top tech tools that every writer needs.
Backup Service – Carbonite
When I was in college, long before cloud-based ANYTHING, I spent Thanksgiving weekend away from my family, working on my Honors Thesis (so I could graduate!) Come Monday, the computer had a catastrophic systems failure and literally melted. All that work… almost gone. I had emailed a draft of it to my professor – and she was able to send it back to me. (I still lost serval hours of work that I had to redo.)
So I’m serious about having a back up service! It’s not practical to save EVERYTHING to the cloud, and I often find that those systems are a bit complicated, one more thing for me to remember, and not quite as stable as I’d like. (That COULD be because I live in a rural area and my internet isn’t always stable itself.)
Carbonite has long been the gold-standard in automatic, offsite, cloud-based backup software. My annual subscription is 100% a no-brainer.
Domain Name Registration – Namecheap
As an author, you should own YourName.com (or YourPenName.com) at the very least! There’s something very professional about giving your email address as Name@YourName.com that makes your writing career feel real.
Other options include BookTitle.com – but know that this can get expensive quickly if you have a habit of buying domain names “just in case.” (A-hem! Me!)
My favorite domain name registrar is Namecheap.
Website Hosting – Siteground
But in order to make your email address work, you do need a webhost. And I’m all about SiteGround.
Much like switching off a too-expensive email list provider, in 2021, I also dumped my past hosting company and went to SiteGround. They have both phone and email support (ahhh), really fast load times for my website, and are all-around easy to use.
Email Mailing List – ConvertKit
Let’s face it, I’m a Beast-Mode Marketer. And I believe that EVERY author and entrepreneur needs an email newsletter list. You need to be able to talk to your readers, fans, and clients – and social media is NOT where that’s done! You need to be able to control where and how you talk to them.
There are dozens of smaller email marketing providers out there – and then there is one that is PRICED like a little guy buy FUNCTIONS like an industry leader. Oh, and it’s easy to use to boot!
That’s ConvertKit. In 2021, I made the switch from the overpriced and bloated Keap to ConvertKit and it was the BEST thing I’ve ever done. I cut my monthly costs by 2/3 AND still get all the functionality. Plus, ConvertKit has a GREAT free level!
Freelance work like typing, graphics, book covers – Fiverr
If you want inexpensive and relatively good, then you’re looking at Fiverr! I say “relatively” good because for every top-notch designer, transcription, or typist on the platform, there are others who are crap. Be sure to read it carefully!
Still, Fiverr is MY go-to for artwork, typing up handwritten documents, and more!
AND here’s the direct link to MY amazing cover designer
Now what about video… Vimeo
Now, there’s some fine print that is so fine it’s REALLY hard to find. And that is that IF you’re using Vimeo for commercial content, i.e. training videos, you MUST have a paid account.
(And yes, I do recommend Vimeo’s paid service over YouTube’s free. It’s a better platform and you have more control!)
Food and Drink Gifts to Fuel Your Writing
Let’s talk yummies! This list are the food, drinks, and culinary accessories that I think every author should invest in. (Or be gifted!)
You know we authors drink a LOT of hot beverages. Okay we MAKE hot beverages and then drink them cold!
So you need to have a collection of fun mugs! I personally love handmade, heavy-duty pottery mugs. I get all mine from Made In Jerome Pottery in Jerome, Arizona. They do not, however, have an e-commerce website.
But if I HAD to pick another one, I want this one!
When I was pregnant with Little Bean in 2020, I had a whole HOST of weird, uncomfortable, scary symptoms. Blood pressure, blood sugar, and all labs came back fine so my midwife was understandably puzzled and concerned. She sent me to a perinatologist (specialist) who chatted with me for 15 minutes and declared me massively dehydrated, ordered me to drink 120 ounces of water a day (a gallon), and sent me on my way.
I was MASSIVELY dehydrated.
So I’ve been on a quest to hydrate OTHERS as well. Here are my top three picks for getting in the water:
These are insulated (yay), have a lid and a straw so are pretty much spill-proof (yay), dishwasher safe (although they do better hand washed), and are big enough to hold 20 ounces PLUS ice.
Not gonna lie, these have a pretty mild flavor so I usually double up. They offer the salt, sugar, and magnesium a body needs WITHOUT artificial sweeteners or stevia, artificial colors, or a ton of other crap.
My favorite flavors are fruit punch, blood orange, and lime. (Two of the lime packages in 16 ounces of water KINDA tastes like a margarita!)
So I wrote a book on the subject! I provide you 100 TESTED combinations of things you can diffuse in your water to give it a little extra flavor without any extra calories, sugar, caffeine, etc.
You know I love coffee…
But I also love tea!
For years, I loved the IDEA of coffee buy couldn’t really drink the stuff, until I got pregnant with Small Thing. Then it was coffee and I couldn’t stand my tea. Which is an awful thing to do to a pregnant lady who can’t have caffeine!
Still, authors typically run on caffeine.
A GREAT gift would be a coffee or tea subscription. While I haven’t personally tried these, I’ll happily accept a gift of one of them. (Hint! Hint!)
Years I go I hired an amazing coach, Kristen Nolan, who got me back on track with food – what could I eat for actual energy. (She’s since retired but I STILL use her snacking system!) Kristen was big on snacks that had a carb, fat, and a protein.
Examples would be like dried fruit and a cheese stick. Apple sauce with a protein powder and a dab of peanut butter.
Healthy but easy to get. Nothing crazy fancy.
When I’m deep into writing, here are some of the things I always have on hand!
Vegans, keep on scrolling.
This is tasteless and dissolves almost instantly in any liquid. I have been known to pop it in my coffee early in the morning. I also love it mixed into a little cup of applesauce. I buy the individual serving packets and keep one in my purse to mix into a McDonald’s smoothie for Small Thing on the days when he refuses to eat breakfast before a stomp.
All around, this is the BEST powder I’ve found that doesn’t need me to whip out the blender and make a smoothie. (Behind the Scenes Info: I don’t even LIKE smoothies!)
They offer really great almost-daily deals that include free snacks or free shipping. A healthy variety of dried fruit AND a bunch of “dried fruit” that is heavily sugared (so read the descriptions!)
Favorites in my house are:
- Dried apricots
- Dried orange slices (float them in your water)
- Dried strawberries (LOTS of sugar but the kid loves them)
- Dried blueberries (some sugar but great in trail mix)
- Banana chips
- Dried apple rings (chewy, not crunchy!)
I’m pretty sure that ALL writers got the idea from Hemingway that we also need to love booze.
Sorry, I’m pretty much guilty as charged. BUT as a mom, I’m also a total lightweight so make half drinks and then toddle of to bed!
My two favorites are a dark beer – the blacker the better! And whiskey, any type of whiskey.
When you’re looking to give a gift to your (drinking age!) author, find out what type of liquor they like. Then get the GOOD stuff.
So skip the cheap stuff and buy a more expensive bottle. And yes, it’s totally okay to give it JUST because you like the label! THAT, my friends, is marketing in action.
BTW: THIS chocolate whiskey is amazing. Just saying.
Creativity Gifts for Authors Beyond JUST Writing
Yes, I work exclusively with non-fiction authors. That doesn’t mean that we’re boring, dry-as-dust, and all right angles. (That was mostly in my past life when I worked with accountants!)
My authors are highly creative people. Who sometimes get into a creative rut. So here are some fun gifts to boost creativity, passion, and fun.
This is my personal go-to to take classes in drawing, painting, and photography. Do I DO all the classes (as in do the exercises)? Nope. But I also believe in filling my brain and heart with LOTS of passion.
Here are really well-done classes I highly recommend:
I’m going to brag on a client here for a moment and say:
Rochelle wrote an amazing book. Then she worked tirelessly with her fabulous designer to create a BEAUTIFUL experience to READ the book.
Everything about Live Big just says YES! Be Creative!
Art Box Subscription
I’ve had my eye on this idea for a while now… I love the idea that EVERYTHING you need just arrives on your doorstep and you’re ready to create.
I also think that stepping OUT of our words-only comfort zone is key to juicing up the creative centers of the brain.
I would personally love a subscription to EITHER of these:
I’ve heard REALLY GOOD things about this one from my watercolor artist friends. I think it would be fun!
And if you’re looking for something that can REALLY tie into their tastes, then here is CrateJoy.
They offer TONS of different subscription boxes. I love the idea of a craft box that comes with EVERYTHING I need but they also offer boxes, teas, and other gifts.
REALLY nice notebook and pen
The type you just love to use, can’t wait to pick up, and fully enjoy.
For me, I like these Bic Atlantis pens. I love the slim body, the weight of the ink, and the fact that they are ball-point, not gel. (I REALLY hate gel pens unless they are THESE ones, in white, that I use on my watercolor paintings.)
I have my black ones I use in my Important Business Writing Work and the colored ones I use in my annual Leonie Dawson Goal Workbook and for my to-do list.
As for a notebook, it all depends on what I’m using it FOR. I typically prefer spiral, MUST be college ruled (or unlined), and have a pretty cover.
See? It’s really hard to buy these things for someone else – we all have personal preferences. And while all authors (and entrepreneurs) love getting office supplies, we often want to purchase it ourselves.
Authors want beautiful AND function. Some authors love a notebook that is spiral bound and others prefer a saddle stitch or perfect bound. Lined? Grid? Unlined? College-rule or wide-rule?
While we PREFER a certain style, authors always LOVE getting a beautiful notebook or journal as a gift. It’s a sign that you support our writing.
This year, I’ve found a great collection from Lang. They have all types of stationary in all types of binding!
The Writer’s Goal Setting Workbook: A Step-By-Step Process to Getting Your Writing Done is a tool I wrote just for you. This workbook allows you to take stock of where you’re at in your writing, where you want to get to, and make a plan to do that.
And it has a YEAR’s worth of tracking for your mini-goals! While this is a perfect-bound paperback, I designed it to take to your local copy shop to have them trim off the biding and add a spiral. (Offering it with a spiral makes it REALLY expensive; cheaper to have it done yourself. My local place charges me about $5!)
When I was stuck in the La-Z-Boy chair during my recovery, I watched a LOT of HGTV. It is the one channel that Small Thing and I can both agree on (and it’s pretty kid-friendly with no cussing and a minimum of TV invented drama.)
And every so often a commercial would come up for Calm. I don’t even think it had a voice-over! Just the sound of rain and the words to take a deep breath. After a few times seeing this ad, I went searching.
When my doctor PRESCRIBED daily meditation, I knew I was onto something.
The app has a lovely selection of background music and soundscapes – perfect for SOME noise while writing but not anything too distracting. Plus lots of different guided meditations on all types of topics. My personal favorite is “The Daily Trip” because I like his voice.
What I love the most is that when you’re in the flow, this doesn’t interrupt you when it runs out. And when you’re really struggling, you don’t have the ability to stare at numbers counting down – it quietly encourages you to get back to work.
And yes, I get it from Amazon! I have one of the cheapy plastic ones because KIDS. But you can spring for a lovely glass and metal version as well. I’d love this one AND I’m very happy with my plastic version too.
This was gifted to me by my bestie (hi Jess!) and I promptly fell in love. Gilbert shares a lot of the ideas I had always held as truth about the power (and responsibility) of having an idea, being creative, and bringing forth amazing beauty in the world.
Yes, this is BACK again. Why? Because this is my personal go-to for when I need a feel-good movie about two authors who keep following their dreams – and make it. It’s feel good, funny, and has ZERO dark parts.
Now, someone had the AUDACITY to point out to me that the real-life Julia went on to become kinda a jerk in her real life. Seriously! Don’t ruin the Hollywood magic for me.
I reach for this movie whenever I feel like I need a boost of “you can do this!” that is specifically around writing, being an author, sharing a message, having a passion – AND having a loving romantic relationship. Julia Child’s husband, Paul, is just a delightful character in the movie!
While this story SEEMS to be about cooking, this movie is really about the writing journeys of two women – separated by years but brought together by supportive husbands and a love of butter. (Seriously, what could be better!)
Or get the book! (Yes, I’ve read it!)
It’s like being creatively constipated. And it’s absolutely no fun.
So here are a few fun options to get the ideas flowing again.
Thoughtful Gifts for Authors (that they may buy themselves)
We’ve moved beyond the Highly Practical gifts for writers and into the things that are fun, frivolous, and going to bring a smile to the face of the authors in your life. These are just FUN! Many of these were ALSO requested by YOU — through my 2021 survey!
Available in a variety of literary patterns, these gloves just look so cool! And they are soft, don’t bunch, and BEYOND fun. (Yes, I have them!) My office gets chilly for a pair of fingerless gloves is a MUST so I can keep typing away – without having to turn on the furnace for the whole house!
And if you must wear fingerless gloves… Then THESE are the gloves to wear!
(Because literacy is a superpower!)
Archie McPhee (retailer) made the Librarian Action Figure, based on Nancy Pearl, to honor the heroic librarian. Talk about underappreciated! In a world where information swirls around us like a tornado, librarians are there to keep it all organized for us and let us know about the best of it. The Librarian Action Figure is an homage to those warriors of the printed (and electronic) word that keep fighting for literacy in the face of dwindling budgets and the decline of the printed word.
Get the 4 oz can so you have plenty to play with. This is a great gift for the author who is suffering from tired, aching hands! Give those fingers something else to do and a different way to move and work. Available in soft or firm.
(Recommended by Teresa Taylor)
The perfect writer’s tool when you have a water-induced brainstorm. Because let’s be real: jumping out of the hot water to write a note on the steamed-up mirror isn’t practical! The Aqua Notes notepad is the perfect solution to capture your next great water-induced idea.
I got one of these back in 2019! And it’s been a lifesaver since then. I love to read in the tub and this holds my book and drink. Lately, I’ve been doing watercolor painting from the bathtub and this holds my paper and paints.
If you’ve got a bath lover on your list, THIS is the gift for them. This is especially nice because I don’t personally like smelly stuff so I wouldn’t use a bath bomb or anything but natural bath salts.
A request from SEVERAL authors has been for aroma therapy supplies. I think THIS diffuser looks like a good deal. It’s small (so not a lot of desk space and WHEN you knock it over, less water to make a mess.) I like that it has both a continuous and intermittent setting AND an auto-shut off.
I KNOW there is a huge amount of discussion about the quality of essential oils. I’m 100% NOT getting into that! I will say that I have zero problem using the “cheap” ones if I’m just diffusing. I use the expensive if I’m having them touch me. And I NEVER take them orally because they are just way too concentrated for safety. (A past client was a naturopathic doctor who gave me that advice.)
- And do your research before diffusing any oils around kids or pets; some may SMELL nice but can be too harsh for smaller bodies.
- My favorite oils in my diffuser are lemon or mint – for brain power.
- Lavender to relax.
And if you’re looking for more expensive oils, here is a link to YoungLiving — that’s who *I* use for the better quality oils. Affiliate link through Holly Doherty.
Personally, I got a tub of air-dry clay and made little disks. Then I drizzle my essential oil on it and let it do its thing. I like this with lavender for the kids’ rooms – no water to knock over, no mess, no electricity.
You can totally DIY like I did OR you can grab this adorable sunflower diffuser.
Kind Actions to Do for Writers
MOST of these things are gift requests you can make for other people – perfect when someone asks you what you want to receive AND you don’t actually want or need any more things to dust. (Seriously, that is ONE of the criteria I use before I buy something: do I want to DUST this thing?!)
I’m a mom of two and I don’t trust my kids to just anybody. (Okay so almost NOBODY.) One of the best gifts I’ve given myself is two afternoons a week, just 12-3 on Mondays and Tuesdays, where the 17-year-old neighbor comes to hang out with my kids.
It’s a win-win-win for all of us. I get time to write, work, or just REST. She gets money for her car fund. My kids get to play with somebody who is NOT mom or dad. (And when Ben is home, he uses this time to work too!)
Recently I borrowed a friend’s kids for a Saturday afternoon. Did *I* get much done? Kinda! It was a blast watching the boys play (12, 7, 4) and Little Bean got to play with the toys WITHOUT her brother telling her what she could and could not touch. I got to do a few house projects and had a BREAK from kid TV and “Mom! I’m HUNGRY.”
My friend knew her kids were also off screens and playing outside.
Seriously, I put this on the gift guide every year. If you have a friend who is an author, BUY THEIR BOOK.
If it isn’t you cup of tea, then use your Amazon Prime benefits to send it directly to a friend as a gift. OR donate it to your local library, senior center, church, etc.
Authors work really hard. We love what we do. We WANT to help people and we WANT to sell books. Unfortunately, often times the people closest to us are the ones who SAY they’ll support us and then… don’t.
So buy that book!
Listen to Them
Authors love to talk about their book. But often the “usual” listening ears get tired – quickly! When I was in college, getting my degree in Creative Writing, all I wanted to talk about was… writing! My goals, my plans, my characters, my latest piece, contests I was submitting to, and my latest publication. (At the time I did think I wanted to write fiction and I did write a lot of poetry.)
I have a “friend” pull me aside and tell me that I needed to stop talking about writing all the time, that it was boring to listen to and made me seem immature. Basically, she told me I needed to grow up and stop talking about my dreams.
It gutted me. For an afternoon. Then I realized that a REAL friend would be supportive – even if I was obsessive! She might have been boy-crazy, I was writing-crazy.
However, this isn’t the only time this has happened to me OR an author I know – that someone with fewer life passions (or zero manners) has asked us to shut the f up!
Don’t be that person. Take your author friend out for coffee and LISTEN. Ask good questions. Share in their excitement.
Invite Them Out
Authors spend WAAAAAY too much time in their heads! And that can translate into too much time with computers, notebooks, and reading. All these solitary activities are great… until they aren’t!
In October, I took my kids to the pumpkin patch. I REALLY wanted to invite my best friend Holly and her family BUT I made up all these excuses about why they wouldn’t be able to come. Holly and her family were planning a trip to the same pumpkin patch and she really wanted to invite me and the kids… and she make up all these reasons why we couldn’t come.
Thankfully, God didn’t listen to either of us and arranged it so we were going on the same afternoon!
So, don’t assume that the author in your life DOESN’T want to go out and do something! Invite them.
Now, not all authors are introverted, shy, or socially awkward – so don’t hesitate to invite them to social gatherings, parties, or more intimate events like running errands together.
Holly and I learned (remembered) that we’re both adults: the other party can and WILL say yes or no depending on availability. We don’t need to make assumptions for the other party!
This account has daily doses of inspiration for why the world needs you – as a creative person – to continue to put stuff out into the world. I love that these hand-written messages also take the pressure OFF endlessly creating, and back into the hands of fun, play, imagination, and rest.
Now, I’ve never watched her Instagram lives so I have no clue what she shares there!
These reminders of what it’s like to be an artist were part of what inspired me to pick up paint brushes again – after twenty years – and to share my creativity with the world. This is especially important.
If your author isn’t on Instagram or doesn’t know how to find this account, help them out! It’s worth it.
Gift Card for Massage or Yoga
Okay, this isn’t an action that YOU are going to do – it’s one that you buy for your author.
Authors spend long hours in strange postures with words on paper – computer, phone, notebook, Kindle, paperback… And we get SORE and TIGHT. A massage or a yoga class is JUST what is needed to get the knots out, circulate the blood, and re-energize the brain.
And, most authors forget that massages or yoga (or their favorite brand of exercise) isn’t a luxury; it’s like an Olympic athlete training for their sport.
And you’re thinking, “Whoa! Big leap there, Kim!”
Author’s main “muscle” is the brain – but that can’t get out of the brain without using their shoulders, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers. Not to mention the upper back and core – just for sitting! To take care of the ideas, you’ve got to care for the body.
Bonus points if you’ll go WITH the author to the yoga class!
Does your author use a text-to-speech software instead of typing or writing? That puts strain on different body parts so they STILL need a massage or yoga classes.
Now, if you want to be the Hero of the Holidays – buy them a SET of massages or classes. One is great but something they can use weekly or monthly for a while is even better.
And if your author isn’t into massages (weird, but it happens!) then a Percussion massager is a decent substitute.
Donate in their name to a literacy organization
So take what you’d have spent on that gift, and make a donation in their name to a literacy organization. Dolly Parton has a great one that gets books into the hands of underprivileged kids.
And never hesitate to call the local library in your author’s hometown and ask if you can make a donation THERE, in the name of your author, to be used in the library. Authors LOVE libraries!
Ask Your Author What THEY Want as a Gift
Hollywood has made it seem like we’re bad friends, partners, family if we can’t guess what the PERFECT gift is for each and every person in our lives.
Give me a break!
I can love a friend (husband!) to death and STILL have no clue what they want as a gift. It’s okay to ask. In fact, this part of the Gift Guide was designed to be handed to you, the Friend-Of-An-Author to give you ideas of actions you can take.
There are other pages that give ideas for the author to either ask for or buy for themselves.
So don’t let your author give you the BS excuse…
“I don’t know. I don’t need anything.”
They want and need gifts – they may not actually articulate it.
Amazon gift cards, as cop-out as it can feel, are ALWAYS a good bet.
Me? I LOVE McDonald’s coffee and would love a gift card to McDonald’s. (I only drink Starbucks in airports, go figure!)
Authors love office supplies – just not journals and pens. We’re VERY particular there. But you can’t go wrong with novelty paperclips, notepads in fun shapes and colors, or…
Here are some really fun reading/writing related stickers on Amazon. PERFECT for a “gift” to go along with a gift card.
But trust me, the best gift for writers…
Buy their book!
P.S. No, there was no Gifts for Writers Guide for 2020. I was personally very sick and just couldn’t manage it!
And as always, you can always see past year’s Gift Guides Here:
2013 – 20 Great Gifts for Writers)
2014 – 20 Gifts for Writers Under $20
2015 – 25 Gifts for Writers
2016 – 20 Gifts for Writers 2016 Edition
2017 – 5th Annual Gift Guide for Writers
2018 – 17 Unique Gift Ideas for Writers
2019 – 20 Uncommon Gifts for Writers
P.P.S. Many of these links ARE affiliate links. If you purchase through that link, I may receive a small commission. (Or I may NOT. Some affiliate programs ARE a bit… sketchy.)
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