Every writer needs the gift of inspiration. Maybe it’s that perfect notebook or a long-coveted subscription to a favorite literary journal or a daily reminder to keep on writing. At the International Writers’ Collective, we believe that anyone with an imagination can learn to write with proper guidance, so what better present than a gift voucher for our classes?
We’ve gathered together our ten best gifts to encourage, inspire and delight newbies and seasoned pros alike. Unless otherwise noted, all the options on our list offer international shipping.
- A writing course, private coaching session or manuscript review – for someone with an interest in writing, this is an amazing gift. Some of our students tear up when talking about how their partner or friend encouraged them to follow their writing dreams by gifting them a course. Our gift vouchers can be used to purchase an 8-week core workshop, a one-day special course, a master class, the list goes on! You choose the amount and the recipient decides how and when to spend it.
- A subscription to a literary magazine – reading is fundamental to writing. A subscription to a literary journal will inspire the writer with emerging voices and new work from acclaimed authors. Great mainstream choices are Granta, Paris Review, and The Sun. Most of these subscriptions come with archive access, too, for inspiration-hungry writers. Or you could go for something more focused like Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern or Poetry. If your writer lives in the USA or Canada, the Journal of the Month service is an unbeatable option—you decide how many and how often, and they’ll send a sampler of highly regarded literary magazines.
- Notebooks and journals – Pretty much every writer can use a pocket-sized journal for jotting down notes and ideas. If your writer prefers long-hand over a laptop, then look for large, lined notebooks for their compositions. The Journal Shop has a dizzying array of options: Japanese paper, recycled paper, fountain-pen friendly, hard-bound, soft-bound, spiral, and refillable. They take journals very, very seriously. If you prefer a more comic approach, then Cafe Press may have what you’re looking for: notebooks with covers like ‘Writers have great climaxes’ and ‘The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.’
- Writing tools – Even better, you can pair that carefully chosen notebook with the best writing tool to fill the pages with great stories and breathtaking images. A fountain pen with ink for those candle-lit writing evenings is a lovely addition to any writer’s toolbox. A few top brands to spoil yourself or your writer friend are Parker, Pelikan, or Waterman. If ink-filled fingers are scary, you can go for a standard or not-so-standard No. 2 pencil, like the ones in this funny Writer’s Block set as a reminder of how fun writing can be, even when it’s not.
- Focus and creativity boosters – All writers get stuck sometimes, and get laughed at by their inner critic. Help a friend in need to shut that critic’s mouth with some creative games. Choose the Writer Emergency Pack for a set of illustrated cards filled with ideas and suggestions to help save the story or The Storymatic, for tons of writing prompts to inspire tons of stories in novel or poetry form. Or get the Forest app to help them stay focused and on track and avoid getting stuck altogether.
- Posters and art prints on writers and writing – For writers who respond to visual cues, Incidental Comics carries the inspiring and hilarious illustrations of Grant Snider, which includes favorites such as Haruki Murakami Bingo, the Story Coaster, and Understanding Poetry. The Marginalian offers links to illustrated quotations from favorite authors, for example, Susan Sontag on Art and Albert Camus on Happiness & Love, and unique data visualizations such as ‘Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits’ (no doubt the perfect gift for someone).
- Literature-themed T-shirts, mugs, and suchlike – What self-respecting book nerd wouldn’t want a Great Gatsby T-shirt, banned book heat reactive mug, or an Edgar Allen Poe coaster set—just to name a few of the fun literary offerings at Out of Print. And bonus: a portion of each purchase goes to fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need. UK-based Literary Emporium also has a fantastic selection. You can find everything from jewelry to journals. Our top pick: the Virginia Woolf gift set which includes a T-shirt, an attractive hardback copy of A Room of One’s Own, and an enamel pin.
- Books (of course) – It can be tricky to buy books for a writer—most read a lot and have strong opinions. Make it personal by going for a book that meant something to you. Just be sure to get a gift receipt in case they’ve already read it. Some of our favorite books at the moment: Violeta by Isabel Allende, Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, and Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro.
- Anthologies – If you can’t make up your mind about a single volume, why not an anthology? Writers end up turning to them again and again. We have taught from the international short story compilations The Art of the Story and The Art of the Tale (ed. Daniel Halpern). For poets, we use Into English ( Martha Collins and Kevin Prufer).
- Books on writing – Inspiring books on writing and creativity can also make a good gift. Some recommendations: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, and Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. Still looking? You can find more book recommendations here.
Prepared by: Ioana Miron