It’s that special time of year again: the frost is descending, the stores are blasting out their annual holiday songs, and the sweet, steady influx of commercialism is upon us. And while you may be looking for perfect gifts for friends and loved ones, we’re (selfishly, perhaps), thinking about the perfect gifts for aspiring authors: those of us who are committed to our publishing goals and author career, and deserve to be treated for being good all year! As we began researching gift ideas, we realized that there were SO MANY good ones (and a few strange and tacky ones, too). We’ve collated a whopping 101 perfect gifts for aspiring authors, many of them personally recommended by the team here at Aspiring Author, without a single mug or t-shirt with cheesy slogan. OK. Maybe there’s one mug in there (we couldn’t resist). We hope you enjoy our recommendations, and we wish you all the most joyful – and productive – holiday season.
1. Arggh Glitter Stress Ball
We scoured the internet for the most fun stress reliever and came across this glittery, festive beauty. The name “Arggh!” say it all: squeeze at will when you’re slaving over your manuscript and let all your writerly worries and frustrations melt away.
2. Dead Writers Perfume
Become immortal by smelling like one of your favorite dead writers with this strong, rich scent, described by its creators as “old libraries and the ghosts of words past”.
3. Gothic Bookends
Make Edgar Allan Poe proud with these gothic “Nevermore” bookends. They’re certain to terrify your cat.
4. Everlasting Comfort Desk Chair Cushion
Made from pure memory foam, this desk chair cushion’s handprint is screaming out for you to position your posterior and get comfortable as you knuckle down for today’s word count goals.
5. Green Glass Banker’s Lamp
This vintage, Art Deco-style table lamp will add a sophisticated warm emerald glow to your writing desk – plus, it’s giving us serious Gringotts vibes.
6. Homesick Premium Scented Candle: Book Club
We are obsessed with Homesick: candles that smell like home. Don’t be deceived by the plain packaging; the natural soy blend conjures the most evocative and nostalgic scents of warm nutmeg, amber, and sandalwood – perfect for snuggling up with a good book.
7. New Yorker Tote Bag
Yes, it’s a cliché that every writer should carry a tote bag, but if you’re going to have a tote, why not have the ultimate tote? The New Yorker tote bag is timeless, practical, and a great gift for an aspiring author with dreams of landing their work in this prestigious magazine.
8. Pen Nib Earrings
These crafty, quirky, handmade earrings are made from real pen nibs! A great stocking stuffer for that special creative writer in your life.
9. Personalized Christmas Tree Ornament
Nothing beats a personalized gift, and this Christmas tree ornament would look great hanging on any aspiring author’s tree. Besides, what’s better than seeing your name next to the phrase “Future best-selling author”?
10. Personalized Writers Pillow
Continuing the personalization theme, why not put the start of a story or a quote from your favorite author on a pillow? Another great writing room accessory.
11. Retro Wireless Typewriter
This one is a personal favorite. A classic, vintage, retro keyboard, but with all the mod-cons. There’s even a tablet and phone holder. The typewriter toggle is the cutest. And it’s baby pink, you say? WANT.
Books and reading
12. Amazon Gift Card
Okay, so perhaps a gift card is a little boring, but at least this way you’re giving the gift of flexibility – particularly useful if you haven’t quite gleaned their literary tastes.
13. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
By Anne Lamott
You can widely ignore the instructions on writing (taking it bird by bird, day by day), and instead focus on the motivational “life” instructions that Lamott provides. TL;DR we’re all just faking it until we make it. A great kick up the ass for aspiring authors everywhere.
14. Cat Bookmark
If you’re going to use a bookmark, make it cat-shaped. This brass, vintage clip-over bookmark is sure to sharpen up the pages of your tomes.
15. Folding Book Lamp
So dreamy! We absolutely love the light filtering through these flipped pages. This folding book lamp would look great in a library or reading room, or even next to your bed as you read by the glow of a book.
16. Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition (32 GB)
While the Kindle v. real book debate still rages, you can’t argue with the ease and portability of fitting thousands of books in your suitcase. The Paperwhite Signature Edition offers wireless charging and a screen that’s easy to read, even in bright sunlight.
17. Glocusent LED Neck Reading Light
With its adjustable brightness settings and long battery life, what better way to read while standing, on-the-go, or even in bed without disturbing your partner?
18. Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing
By Margaret Atwood
This was one of the first craft books I read, and it’s stuck with me all these years. Although known for her dystopian fiction, Atwood reckons with the imagined, or dead, audiences in this superb book that transcends traditional craft advice.
19. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
By Stephen King
While primarily an (excellent) craft book, memoir, and account of how writing saved Stephen King from the brink of a near-fatal accident, my absolute favorite part of this book is the story of how King broke out from obscurity and achieved dizzying publishing heights. If that doesn’t give you faith as an aspiring author, nothing will.
20. Personal Library Kit
Revive old-fashioned library circulation techniques with this classic kit that will ensure you never forget to return a book to your local library.
21. The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction
By Brian Kiteley
Ever been struck by a brilliant idea for a story in the middle of the night? Us too. This book offers over 200 writing exercises that will have you getting over that 3 a.m. itch and writing all hours of the day without waiting for the muse to strike.
Boozy gifts for aspiring authors
22. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margarita: More Cocktails with a Literary Twist
By Tim Federle
Discover 49 all-new, all-delicious drink recipes paired with clever commentary on literature through the ages, as well as bar bites, drinking games, and whimsical, literary illustrations throughout.
23. Cocktail Smoker Kit
Add that old fashioned smoke to your Old Fashioned drink with this classic cocktail smoker kit. Notes of oak, apple, and cherry.
24. Do Your Vodka: DIY Vodka Infusion Kit
Infuse your vodka with these fragrant botanicals, herbs, and spices. A must for lovers of the harder stuff.
25. How to Drink Like a Writer
By Apollo Publishers
Find recipes for the cocktails and libations that inspired 100 literary greats, including Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, and Truman Capote.
26. Jane Austen Wine Tumbler
What better way to transport your wine than in a tumbler with your favorite literary heroine’s silhouette on it? This fun tumbler is available in multiple colors.
27. Literary Libations: What to Drink with What You Read
by Amira K. Makansi
A bubbly, boozy French 75 with The Great Gatsby. A luscious Chocolatini with Bridget Jones’s Diary. Old vine California Zinfandel with The Grapes of Wrath. Lager (by the pitcher, from your local dive) with Fight Club. Refreshing citrus shandy with Their Eyes Were Watching God. And don’t you dare open Dracula without a Bloody Mary near at hand!
28. Read between the Wines: 15oz Stemless Wine Glass
Love a pun? So do we. This Read Between the Wines stemless wine glass works on multiple levels – read, drink, read. A wonderful Sunday afternoon accessory.
29. Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist
By Tim Federle
Before Are You There God? It’s Me, Margarita: More Cocktails with a Literary Twist came this original edition: the world’s bestselling cocktail book for the literary obsessed. Drinks include “Romeo and Julep” and “A Rum of One’s Own.
30. Write Drunk Edit Sober Dictionary Print
This old adage couldn’t be more true (believe us, we’ve tried). Printed on a dictionary page, this fun wall art would look great in a writing room or by a bar.
31. Writers’ Tears Double Oak Irish Whiskey
CRYING. What more can we say? Made from real writers’ tears (or not), drown all your sorrows with this mournful libation.
Caffeine and teatime
32. Be Careful or You’ll End Up in My Book Coffee Mug
There are many writer-themed mugs out there, but there’s something a little uncanny about this message. Warn your family, friends, and loved ones with this very valid threat as you sip.
33. Bookshelf Tumbler
This super adorable wood and stainless steel coffee tumbler features a heartbeat bookshelf and your very own personal library.
34. Bridgerton Honey Breakfast Tea
Enjoy Daphne and Simon burning for each other as you sip this delightfully sweet morning tea, based on the hit novels (and Netflix series) by author Julia Quinn.
35. LiteraTea Gift Box
Drink flavored loose leaf tea (the gift box includes a stainless-steel tea infuser) designed to match your favorite works of literature, including Wuthering Heights, Anne of Green Gables, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and more. Mix and match your favorites.
36. Lucky Cat Ceramic Teacup
Cats are considered lucky in many Eastern cultures, so why not test that luck with this emerald ceramic teacup with filter hole? It also comes with its own cute cat team mug travel case.
37. Novel Teas Book Lover’s Tea
Novel Teas Book Lover’s Tea contains 25 teabags that come individually tagged with literary quotes from around the world so that you can gain inspiration from literary greats while you brew.
38. Starbucks Gift Card
Look, we know a gift card can be considered a little boring. But have you ever been disappointed to receive a Starbucks gift card? Free money to spend on your favorite chai tea latte? Thought not.
39. The Edit: Coffee and Hazelnut Candle
The one thing better than drinking coffee? Smelling it. Coffee and hazelnut deliver the ideal sensory combination. Burn when writing for an extra surge of energy (without actually having to consume any caffeine).
40. Writer’s Block Coffee®
Unblock your creative spirit with this curated roasted coffee experience. Its makers claim it is “made from top 5% of coffee beans on Earth” which sounds good enough for us!
41. Yorkshire Tea Toast & Jam Brew
A personal favorite, Yorkshire Tea makes a delectable range of teas designed to taste like things that go well with tea. It even smells like strawberry jam. Delicious.
Courses, classes, and conferences
The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) is replete with useful resources, and has a dedicated directory of writing conferences and centers for writers. It also hosts its own annual conference for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers of contemporary creative writing: The AWP Conference & Bookfair in Seattle, Washington.
In addition to offering online degrees and certifications, Coursera offers a wealth of online creative writing courses, with a special focus on craft.
44. Gotham Writers’ Workshop
Founded in 1993 in New York City, the Gotham Writers Workshop is “a creative home where writers develop their craft and come together in the spirit of discovery and fellowship”. These days, its virtual courses are available worldwide.
MasterClass is just how it sounds: virtual education and learning content taught by the Masters. Featuring James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Shonda Rhimes, and so many more celebrity household names.
46. Ticket to a Summer Writing Conference
Writing conferences are a lot like writing residencies, except for the fact that they tend to run for a far shorter time period than a residency – usually two weeks or less. Read our run-down on the best summer writing conferences and how you can apply.
47. The Novelry
The Novelry offers a variety of gift packages for writers, with online content, videos, coaching, and community. Courses focus on drafting, refining, and finishing a novel.
48. The Writers Studio
Founded and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Philip Schultz, The Writers Studio uses a unique method of what they term “persona writing” to help writers achieve their literary goals.
While Udemy is a little broader in its scope, there’s a huge range of courses on offer here for writers at all levels, and across all subjects, from proper punctuation to writing Hollywood magic.
50. Writer’s Digest University
While Writer’s Digest University (WDU) offers fewer courses than some of its competitors, the classes are very comprehensive and structured, with a lean on the submissions side of things: impressing a literary agent, becoming a professional copywriter, and getting published. I have taken their Advanced Novel Writing course and found it to be incredibly useful and good value for money.
51. Writing Residencies
For many aspiring authors, one of our biggest literary dreams is to attend writing residencies. Residencies provide time and space for authors to focus solely on our creative work and often take place in idyllic, gorgeous settings sure to break through even the most stubborn writer’s block. But there are so many writing residencies out there—how do you begin to narrow down the one that’s right for you? We have curated, by region, some of the most unique and inspiring writing residencies. Read more.
This portable game is Scrabble on speed. Shout silly, banana-related words like, “peel,” “split,” and “bananas” at your family and friends while you build lightning-fast crossword grids with multiple tiles. Great for Scrabble-lovers who don’t have the time or space for a full game.
53. Cards Against Humanity
The tagline really sums it up. Do you like party games? Are you a horrible person? Cool. This R-rated game is for you. Daring, rude, and hilarious, be careful who you play with. You might find out something dark and disturbing about the way their brain works.
54. Magnetic Poetry Tiles
Use your refrigerator to get creative. Write a sonnet. Create a haiku. Tell a story. The possibilities are endless with these nifty little magnets.
55. Plot Thickener Card Game
Write a great story from 110 stimulating writing prompts, featuring a choice of characters, places, situators, and twists.
56. Scrabble Deluxe Edition
The OG word game, this deluxe edition includes a wheeled gameboard so that you can actually see what you’re doing as you lay down your tiles, and a carry case.
Race against the clock to get your teammates to guess a word without saying any of the related words on the card. It’s so much tougher than it sounds! A party classic, and a surefire hit with writers, whose literal job it is to come up with unique ways to explain things.
58. The Storymatic
This game is more of an educational tool, although still a great prompt for writer’s block. It includes 540 storytelling cards and prompts, and six trillion story combinations (allegedly).
59. The World of Agatha Christie: 1,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
If you’re planning on wiling away the hours solving a jigsaw puzzle, please let it be this one. An homage to the great author’s stories, you can also unearth crime-solving clues from the Queen of Crime herself.
60. Wordle: The Party Game
Inspired by the hugely popular digital version, Wordle: The Party Game allows players to compete in real life to solve the Wordle in the fewest possible attempts.
61. Writing Dice
Luck be a writing lady! Let the dice tell your story as they reveal the who, what, when, where, and why. Another fun writing prompt to help ease writer’s block.
Gifts for aspiring authors with writer’s block
62. 5,000 Writing Prompts
By Bryn Donovan
For when 4,999 writing prompts are simply not enough. This book supplies you with plot ideas, dialogue, character, and setting prompts, poetry exercises, personal essay and journaling ideas, blog post inspiration, and more.
63. A Year of Creative Writing Prompts
By Love in Ink
Three prompts a day, every day, in all genres, with over nine-hundred prompts in total spread out across the year. A great gift for those writers in your life determined to keep their New Year’s resolutions.
64. Better Than Gin: A Coloring Book for Writers
By Jessica Lourey
I’m not 100% convinced that a coloring book is better than gin, but anywho. It’s creative stimulation.
65. Creating Character: A Workbook for Writers
This classy journal contains worksheets for you to develop, make notes on, and doodle up to 20 characters, plenty for multiple scripts, novels, and short stories.
66. Improv for Writers
By Jorjeana Marie
Using improv tools traditionally reserved for actors, this book introduces fun games, activities, and improvisation exercises that will help unblock your creativity.
67. Just Write: Creating Unforgettable Fiction and a Rewarding Writing Life
By James Scott Bell
This book claims to help you “fall in love with writing every day”. Big talk. Definitely one for writers who are serious about dedicating themselves to their writing career.
68. The End of Writer’s Block
By Ramses Rodriguez
Insider secrets from the world’s best book coaching program for how to overcome perfectionism, end procrastination, and free your inner author. The neuroscience element behind writer’s block explored in this book is fascinating.
69. The Genre Writer’s Book of Writing Prompts & Story Ideas
By The Mayday Writing Collective
Write your next killer story with these 540 writing prompts in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, mystery & thriller, horror & supernatural, and memoir writing.
70. The Writer’s Toolbox
This fun kit includes games, exercises, cards, sticks, and spinners to ignite ideas and get you putting pen to paper in no time.
71. Writer Emergency Pack
Emergency! These beautifully illustrated cards are filled with prompts, questions, and suggestions that will get you thinking about your characters in new ways.
72. Antique Quill Pen Set
Do your best Shakespearean work with this artist grade calligraphy pen set, including feather quill dip fountain pen, bottle with black ink, pen holder, nibs, and even wax and seal stamp for all those antique letters that must be sent to your enemies and lovers.
73. Aqua Notes Waterproof Notepad
Have you ever been struck by the muse while in the shower and lamented not having a notepad to hand? Me too. Now you can scribble away as you scrub with these fabulous Aqua Notes.
74. My Next Bestseller
This jumbo 500-paged notebook is really just a notebook, but with a cheery, motivational cover that you can show off to your friends. If this doesn’t inspire you to write, nothing will.
75. Ernest Hemingway Inspirational Quote Pen
Ernest Hemingway once said: “In Order to Write About Life, First You Must Live it.” Remind yourself of living life with this sleek pen, also engraved with Hemingway’s signature.
76. Hemingway Pencil Cup
Man, that Hemingway is popular with writers. This typewriter-themed design is the perfect little pot for your writing desk.
77. Personalized Writer Notebook
This 120 page spiral notebook with ruled line paper is ideal for scribbling novel ideas, poems, character sketches, and more. And it has your name on it.
78. The Five-Minute Journal
Journaling is popular among writers and meditators alike. Take five minutes a day to journal, reflect, write affirmations, and express gratitude.
79. The Ultimate Writer Boxed Gift Set for Authors
This handcrafted gift box comes with a medley of pencils, a bookmark, candle, notebooks, stickers and more. An ideal holiday gift.
80. The Writer Tarot Sticker
You aren’t truly a writer until tarot pronounces it so. Display this vinyl sticker proudly on your laptop, writing notebooks, or in your writing room.
81. Writer’s Block Pen Holder
A literal writer’s block. We lol’d.
Wrap your ears around Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts including exclusive series.
83. AWP Membership
A membership to AWP gets you a discounted rate to the annual AWP Conference (listed above), a digital magazine subscription to The Writer’s Chronicle, access to writerly jobs, a profile in their Directory of Members, and reduced Award Series entry fees.
84. Kindle Unlimited
Kindle Unlimited offers unlimited access to over 3 million digital titles. I love my Kindle for quick reads, summer reads, cheaper reads, and embarrassing reads.
85. Library Card
The simplest gifts are the best. Free books! Forever!
86. Poets & Writers
America’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers, a subscription to Poets & Writers magazine (online and/or in print) will be greatly appreciated by the writer in your life.
Scribd offers full access to audiobooks, podcasts, magazines, and even sheet music. It keeps all your online reading organized in one place: a must for lovers of literature.
Scrivener is an extremely comprehensive novel writing software with a billion bells and whistles. Think scrapbook on steroids. If you enjoy color coding, intricate plotting using flashcards, character, and world building, then Scrivener is the tool for you. I used Scrivener to draft my first novel.
89. Spotify Premium
Many writers enjoy a soundtrack playing in the background as they work on their manuscript. Give the gift of ad-free music with Spotify Premium (there’s nothing more irritating that having your creative streak interrupted by ads).
Submittable is a submissions manager tool that enables aspiring authors to submit their work to literary magazines and journals. A must-have for writers looking to get published. Just avoid obsessively checking your Submittable status every hour, on the hour…
91. The New Yorker
Now that you have your New Yorker tote bag, why not accompany it with a subscription to the much-loved magazine? It’s jam-packed with editorials, thought pieces, fiction, and more.
92. Cadbury’s Chocolate
There is simply no contest: Cadbury trounces Hershey’s. This creamy, British delight is the milky crème de la crème of chocolate and pairs perfectly with a nice cup of tea.
What is cheese without wine? What is wine without a writer drinking it and/or crying? These are universal questions. We particularly enjoy a mellow Manchego cheese with our red.
Go nuts (not sorry) for these little brain foods. Jam-packed with good fats, nuts can curb your cravings while you figure out your main character’s next move. Enjoy in moderation.
An American classic, these sweet cookie sandwiches are not the most friendly for your writer waistline, but damn. They’re hard to beat.
Not just for movie or Netflix watching, popcorn is a great, light snack for writing.
Savory and salty, hard pretzels are a failsafe way to curb hunger and fill that bow-shaped hole while you write.
98. Reese’s Cups
Love them or hate them, Reese’s Pieces are a classic American chocolate snack. With just 5 million calories per sniff, you might want to go cautiously with this peanut buttery candy.
99. Roasted Chickpeas
Keep your writing snacking habits moderately healthy with these protein-packed, hummus-flavored crunchy chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
100. Sugarfina Champagne Gummy Bears
Why eat regular gummy bears when you can have champagne gummy bears? These sweet treats taste like the real thing, too.
101. Swedish Fish
One of our Aspiring Author editors, Darcie Abbene, swears by Swedish Fish to get those creative juicing pumping. Personally, these fruity fish are not my jam, but to each their own.
Here at Aspiring Author, we love recommending bestsellers and fawning over hot new releases. On this real time recommended reading list, you will find a list of top rated books on the publishing industry, craft, and other books to help you elevate your writing career.