The author, getting in the holiday spirit.

The author, getting in the holiday spirit.

I know, I know, you’ve been wracking your brain, trying to figure out gifts for the writers in your life.

Believe me, it’s a problem. Even if you ask a writer what they’d like for a gift, they’ll probably answer with, “Huh?” It’s an old story, getting lost in the world of a book that’s being written. So in case you’re stuck at the “Huh?” stage, here are some suggestions:

  • One million dollars, cash. Hint: this is also good for non-writers.
  • If the writer is published, buy some copies of their book(s) for giving.
  • Buy a copy for yourself, too.
  • IMPORTANT: Read the book(s)! I know, I know, if you’re like me you have a high stack of pending reads alongside your favorite chair or on your bedside table, maybe both. Do you have any idea how long Uncle Tom’s Cabin has languished at the bottom of my to-be-read pile? Harriett Beecher Stowe is likely beyond caring when I read her book, but, hey, your friend’s book is a priority. At least, they will think so.
  • After you’ve read your friend’s book, if you loved it tell everyone you know about it, up to and including posting a review at one or more book review websites.
  • If your writer friend has their own website, give it a look. You might learn something you never knew about them when you read the bio page. If your friend regularly posts blogs and events at their website, you can likely subscribe to receive notification of new posts. Believe me, your writer friend pays attention to this kind of thing.
  • If you live near your writer friend, go to their readings and book signings. Trust me, there is nothing lonelier than an author in an empty room, not even the Maytag Repair Man.

Whether published or not, the writer on your list would likely appreciate a ream or two of printer paper. If you know the model and make of their printer, replacement ink cartridges also make a nice gift (though these can be expensive). Not sure? A gift card or certificate for an office supply store is a thoughtful way to play it safe. Gift certificates for book stores are also a wonderful gift.

You’ll notice some of my gift suggestions require you to do something in addition to (or instead of) buying something. There is something on my list for every budget, and many of these gifts can be given throughout the year.

If you have friends in the performing or visual arts, many of these ideas apply. GO SEE WHAT YOUR ARTIST FRIENDS CAN DO! I’ve grown increasingly suspicious that people in general have fallen away from going out to enjoy local cultural offerings. Performances and exhibits in your community are an important part of what makes your town a great place to live. The best gift of all? Take a friend or family member to share the experience.

Aren’t you glad you decided to seek my advice on gifts for writers? Oh, and by the way, I’ll be signing books at Book & Game on 1st and Main, Walla Walla, WA, December 2, 11 AM-3 PM. Come see me and you can cross that item off your holiday list.

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