The Most Generic Gift Ideas for Writers (and Why we Still Love Them)

Are you looking for gift ideas for the writer in your life? Are you worried about getting them something too generic? Too overdone? Well, stop worrying. Actually, some of the most generic gifts for writers remain some of our favorites! Here's a collection of common gift ideas for writers, and why we still love them. Don't be afraid to go with the traditional. But just in case you still want to go above and beyond, I've given a few tips on personalizing these gifts for writers a bit more.


Why we still love them: What can I say? We love the written word. Books are usually a sure bet for gifts for writers. It could be books on writing, the newest edition of the Writer's Market, or simply the latest novel from their favorite author.

Step it up a notch: If the idea of giving the writer in your life a basic book seems too "blah" for you, consider shooting for an autographed copy or a first edition / rare version of one of their favorite books.

Bookstore Gift Cards

Why we still love them: Um, we love books. We love choices. It's pretty hard to go wrong with a bookstore gift card. If your writer tends to prefer online shopping, there's always gift cards. If they prefer a hands-on approach to book-shopping, get them a gift card to a major chain store nearby or their favorite independent bookstore.

Step it up a notch: Gift cards might be a good option still, but any kind of gift card can still be kind of generic because they don't take much thought. So to give it a personal touch, focus more on the delivery. Hint: having Amazon email them a gift card is about as impersonal as you can get. Unless the gift card is for a distant friend or colleague, go with a physical option when possible.

Journals and Notebooks

Why we still love them: We like taking notes. We like doodling. We like brainstorming, whether it's for client projects or that Great American Novel we're working on. You can personalize journals and notebooks to the writer's taste, and maybe give it to them with a nice pen so they can put it to use immediately.

Step it up a notch: If you really want to impress with your gift of a journal or notebook, make it one that will last. A nice leather-bound journal can make for a gorgeous gift for writers for example.

Coffee Mugs

Why we still love them: Okay, so this is a more casual gift, and a budget-friendly one at that. But we love our coffee (well, many of us do at least). On a cold morning there's just something comforting about waking up and getting into our writing with a warm cup of joe. Is the writer in your life more of a tea-drinker? Consider a tea cup and saucer set or even a teapot instead.

Step it up a notch: If giving someone a coffee mug alone doesn't suit you, consider using it as a base for a cute gift compilation -- put a nice pen in there, some of their favorite candy, or if you want to get more elaborate maybe something like a small digital voice recorder they can use for taking notes. Anything that can fit in the cup can work.

Looking for even more basic gift ideas for writers? How about a magazine subscription? Have a writer in your life who has a passion for the past? Consider an old fashioned typewriter (there's something classic about them many of us still love, even if just for decoration). Want to spend a bit more and go a bit more modern? See if they need a new laptop or other office equipment to help them complete their projects more efficiently.

Finding gift ideas for writers doesn't have to be difficult. And remember -- writers are just people. You don't need to feel limited to writing-related gifts at all!

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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16 thoughts on “The Most Generic Gift Ideas for Writers (and Why we Still Love Them)”

  1. Great stuff! And ditto fancy pens, gift cards from office supply stores and…here’s a thoughtful but strange gift: high capacity ink cartridges for their printer!

  2. I like things that make the writing process more comfortable – but you have to remember that I write at night after a long day in the classroom. I love smelly candles and lotions. Fuzzy socks are purely awesome, and I got a pink Snuggie last year that I LOVE – I can even wear when I work if I get cold. I like pretty decorative things like special lamps or cool bookends for all of those books I have – this reading teacher has tons. I’d love to get a few office plants for gifts as well.

    Overall, I like things that let me feel like writing until all hours of the night is just as good as snuggling up on the couch with a good book or a full season of shows. Speaking of which, the DVD of a full season of an awesome show I never have time to watch might be fun, too…LOL

    • Well you’re easy… just about anything makes you happy. 😉

      Seriously, a cozy work space is always a good thing. For you it’s late at night. For me it’s early in the morning. Either way it can be dark (and cold depending on the time of year), so being comfortable makes it that much easier to work. Fuzzy slipper, warm robes, candles, plants — all things I’d love. Although I tend to kill the plants — not enough natural light in my place. 🙁 The DVD season idea is a great one though, as is the book end idea. There’s never enough room for all the books!

  3. Oh, I love the fuzzy socks idea! I’m either barefoot or wearing socks, so that rocks.

    Besides the book gift cards, how about cards for places like Office Depot. And another favorite of mine, any soothing CD – think yoga.

    I like this game. What do we get for playing? 🙂

  4. If Jenn put some affiliate codes in this post she could make some bank from all the passing on this link is sure to endure 🙂

  5. I always enjoy a pack of pens and notebooks. When I graduated college many moons ago my brother asked me what I wanted as a gift. I said that I wanted a lifetime supply of notebooks. He bought me a lap top. It was a great gift, but if he’d gone with the lifetime supply of notebooks I’d still be using his gift!

    • lol Too true. We think of technology as a replacement for all things “old school,” but sometimes those older items still serve us better over the years. I know I’ll be able to pull out old notebooks years down the road. Not so sure about my current hard drive (or even backups).

  6. I have to add pens to the list. I act like someone bought me a $10,000 instrument that writes in genuine gold ink if I get a cutesy, artsy pen. I’m old-fashioned. I love a good pen.

    • I think I’d be excited for a good old pack of Bic blue ink ball point pens. I adore them. For a while they stopped putting out the traditional blue and white ones. They released ones that were clear-blue instead, saying they were the same pens. But they were lighter weight (maybe to conserve on plastic in an attempt to be more environmentally friendly?). I couldn’t use them. I was practically pulling my hair out looking for a usable pen after that until suddenly I saw the old models somewhere again. I bought more pens than most people need in 5 years. Expensive or simple, when you find a good pen you just shouldn’t mess with it.

      • That’s so funny! I hate those clear Bic pens. I get ink all over my hands from them, and I’m constantly trying to clean it off. But yep, a good pen is a wonderful thing.

  7. I couldn’t help it, I had to Facebook this. I have an addiction for pens, paper and journals. Different thoughts and ideas go in each, not to mention that my book wish list is growing. I’d be happy with any of these ideas!

    I have to Rebecca though that I love to be “comfy” too. A big cardigan sweater, my favorite pair of lounge pants, fuzzy socks and I’m all set. I think I’d throw in an iTunes card though too because I love to write to music and my music library is in need of some new tunes.


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