The things that make someone a writer can’t be bought. There’s no Black Friday sale on heartbreak, introversion, or an unhappy childhood. You can’t buy inspiration or a gift card redeemable by the muse. But you can buy the writer in your life a few material things to make his or her work more comfortable and pleasurable. Here are a few gift ideas, most of which I use or have used.

For more suggestions be sure to check out Kaleigh Moore’s 2018 Freelancer’s Gift guide (and if anyone wants to buy me that chair she recommends…)

Pens

An inexpensive fountain pen like the Kaweco Classic Sport or the Lamy Safari. These are cheap but they last forever and write like something much more expensive. Both are considered new classics, and any serious pen collector will appreciate them no matter what else they have in their collection. Either one is a perfect everyday jotter for someone who already has something more expensive they’re afraid to lose.

For a stocking stuffer, consider the disposable Pilot Varsity or the Platinum Preppy.

The world of high-end fountain pens can be hard to navigate, and there’s a lot of overpriced gilded bullshit out there. Here are my three favorites.

The Sailor 1911 (this is the pen, with a medium-fine nib, is the one I write with)

The Lamy 2000

The Pilot Heritage 92

Both the Lamy and the Pilot are piston fillers, meaning they require ink from a bottle. The Sailor takes cartridges, so it’s better for travel in my opinion.

If you live in New York, you can buy your pens in person at Goods for the Study or the Fountain Pen Hospital. In Boston, check out the Bromfield Pen Shop. In Montréal, go to Nota Benne where they also sell refurbished typewriters.

 

Paper

My favorite leather notebook is the Leuchtturm1917. It has numbered pages, a blank table of contents, two bookmark ribbons and way better paper than a Moleskine. Obviously, you can get 240 sheets of bound paper for less than $20, but the way I see it, journals are R.O.I positive. I get more than $20 worth of ideas out of mine, I get more than $20 worth of enjoyment out of writing on nice paper, and I get more than $20 of productivity out of it by using mine as a Bullet Journal.

Yellow legal pads are the best deal in paper. My entire outlining process is designed for a single sheet of yellow legal paper. I get mine in bulk from Amazon.

Everything I write that’s longer than a few pages starts on index cards, and I’ve recently started using them to take notes on what I read. I like Oxford 3x5s. I don’t have big enough ideas for 4×6.

Books

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield — A book about resistance (writer’s block) and how to defeat it one day at a time. I recommend this book to anyone who thinks they’re too tough for writerly self-help.

Show your Work and Steal Like an Artist and Keep Going (preorder) by Austin Kleon — Motivation and inspiration in the form of books that are works of art in their own right.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott — A holistic approach to the creative life. A good one for the writer who needs to learn self-kindness.

Mastery By Robert Greene — A doorstopper about how we master skills and what we can learn from past and current masters in areas from sculpture to boxing.

Pep Talks for Writers By Grant Faulker — Just What it sounds like from the founder of NaNoWriMo.

A Waterproof Kindle — I’ll probably get one when I inevitably destroy my old one in the water.

An Audible Membership – You get one free book every month (or three if you get the Platinum plan) and if you’re like me and you read 30-hour+ books like Robert Greene’s Laws of Human Nature or the new translation of Don Quixoteyou end up amassing a bunch of credits as they roll over month-to-month.


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