What Writers Want: 6 Holiday Gift Ideas for Writers

I'm a writer, and I'm notoriously hard to buy gifts for. That goes double for holiday gifts. I'm pretty sure it comes with the writer lifestyle.

Every writer is different, our processes are different, and what we need to practice our craft is different. So what do you get one of us for the holidays?

As a professional writer who has received all kinds of well-meant writer gifts, (and even designed a few myself), I thought I'd share 10 gift ideas that are good picks for writers.

The Story Engine Deck of Writing Prompts

The Story Engine Deck of writing prompts

Tip: This gift idea is best for creative writers!

I took all the inspiration and lessons I gathered in my career writing for books, magazines, comics tabletop RPGs and video games, and I condensed them into a deck of cards that lets writers create their own customized writing prompts, story ideas, and D&D campaign ideas.

What really makes this deck powerful is the fact that it doesn't just contain a set of premade prompts. (Those types of prompts tend to get stale quickly.)

Instead, writers actively get to craft their own open-ended prompts, complete with beautiful visuals, to inspire their next story. The deck contains over 30 billion possible combinations. You can see it in action below and learn how it works in our tutorial.

A Notebook or Journal

Tip: Different writers have different notebook needs!

Fair warning: receiving a notebook or journal can be a double-edged sword for some writers.

Some of us love the blank page and will start filling it right away. Some of us still have piles of blank notebooks we’re afraid to open until we have a world-shatteringly brilliant book idea.

For the notebook users, a nice, durable notebook is a good pick. Moleskine is considered the gold standard of notebooks. I'm personally a huge fan of Merchant & Mills' Observations Notebook, which has an oilskin cover and can be refilled with new blank notebook interiors.

Observations Notebook interior

For the notebook hoarders, maybe consider getting them a Keel’s Simple Diary to help inspire them to journal and write more often.

Any Book That You Enjoyed Reading (or Made You Think of Them)

Tip: When in doubt, going with a personal gift is a great idea.

When someone gives me a book and tells me that they enjoyed it, or that it made me think of them, I always pay attention.

As a writer, reading outside of my usual genres helps me expand my craft, and I love the personal touch of getting to learn what makes my friends and family tick as readers, especially if it’s not something I’d buy myself.

Another great idea is to pick out a book to read at the same time, and discuss later. I published Postcards From Impossible Worlds, a book of postcard-sized short stories that offer a variety of genres and are good inspiration for a writer who doesn't have a lot time to read.

Postcards From Impossible Worlds, a collection of postcard-sized short stories

It makes a good gift! You can hear a sample story narrated by Cecil Baldwin of the popular podcast and New York Times-bestseller Welcome to Night Vale below.

Or you can always check out your local indie bookstore on social media to see what they're recommending.

Fancy Tea or Coffee (aka Writer Fuel)

Tip: Yes, it’s a stereotype, but a lot of writers really do love tea and/or coffee.

Maybe I'm a cliché, but I started this morning with a homemade triple espresso before I wrote this.

Buy your writer some fancy tea or coffee to brew for inspiration the next time they get writer's block, or to reward themselves when they hit the halfway point on a project, or just because words are hard and bean juice make brain think good.

(Honorable mention goes to buying your writer a good mug, as well!)

"Read Fast, Die Old" Shirt & Pin

"Read Fast, Die Old" gifts for writers

Tip: A good gift for a writer with a sense of humor

Writers tend to be voracious bookworms. If you know the writer in your life has a sense of humor, I think this matching T-shirt and enamel pin are bound to please. I designed them myself, with writers, bookworms, and bibliophiles in mind. 

The T-shirt is printed on a soft, environmentally friendly, sustainably manufactured, sweatshop-free fabric. The pin is pressed in enamel and fastened with with two rubber back clasps to hold it in place.

The Story Engine Deck Expansions

The Story Engine fantasy, since fiction, and horror expansions

Tip: A great gift idea for writers of fantasy, scifi, or horror

In addition to The Story Engine Deck, I designed a series of expansions and boosters to help writers who work in specialized genres like fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

Here are some sample cards from the fantasy set, which has been the most popular so far.

You can pick them up in a set with the main deck, and there's even a set that includes 6 subgenre booster sets featuring fun genres like eldritch horror, steampunk, and cyberpunk.

The Story Engine Deck boosters

You can browse all the expansions on this page.

Did I miss anything?

Have you found a go-to writer gift? Are you a writer with recommendations of your own? Sound off in the comments!