Kate Walker on Gifts For Writers!

Gifts For Writers

There’s no denying it – Christmas is coming. In fact it’s getting way too close for my liking.  I still have a hundred and one things to do (not to mention finishing a book!)  but at least I have bought – or planned out – almost all my presents for family and friends.

 A lot of my friends are writers too - so when I was invited to write a guest post for today’s blog, I already had quite a few ideas – and had actually bought some already!
So let’s see: 15 ideas of gifts for writers

1.       Notebooks
A writer can never have enough notebooks. From the totally practical ‘reporters’ notebook’ that I scribble my ideas, snatches of dialogue, ideas of plot twists in as I work at my keyboard, to the neat little decorative pad that fits into my tiniest handbag – I carry one everywhere I go. I never know when inspiration is going to strike and I have to be sure I can note it down so I won’t forget it.  Notebooks are practical things but a really pretty one makes it a pleasure to use as well.

2.       Pens- or pencils
Another gift that can be practical – and pretty. To go with those useful notebooks, a writer needs a pen to scribble down the best ideas.  And  if you can find one that fits with her/his style of writing then so much the better. I have  a lovely pale purple pen with a heart on the barrel. I’m picky about my pens and I want them to write as neatly as possible, so I always try before I buy (I’m picky too about the pens I give away and never have one I wouldn’t use myself). And some people think better with a pencil to dash off their notes – so again some really pretty, sparkly, decorative pencils will be so  much more inspirational that a plain old HB pencil.

M&B Mug anyone?
 3.       A mug.
If other writers are like me, they almost always have a mug of coffee or tea sitting on the desk beside the keyboard. So here’s another chance to help along the inspiration by choosing a really lovely  one. Here in the UK we have an internet shop that sells a mug  that has printed on it ‘ Go away I'm writing’  so that would be perfect. Or others that have the cover of classic Penguin novels to inspire. You could add in some posh tea – rich coffe – or maybe even hot chocolate so they can fill it up.

4.       Books by favourite authors.
Need I say more ?  Is there an author  your writer friend really admires? Someone whose books they collect? Or someone  outside of their reading ‘comfort zone’ – that might just spark off a new idea.

5.       Notecards
I collect lovely or interesting notecards wherever I go. I have so many uses for them –  thank you letters, acknowledgements, replies to people who have been to workshops etc. Right now I have a set with characters from fiction on them – perfect.

6.       Stamps.
When I first started writing I had to send in my submissions, my revisions, the proof-corrected manuscript all by post – and the cost of postage mounted up.  Now I can send in a manuscript by email – but I still  have lots of uses for  stamps – see those notecards above -  and to have a supply ready at hand is just great.

7.       Music to inspire.
Many authors have a sound track to their latest book – has your writer friend  talked about a singer they want to hear more of – or do you know of a performer  you think would fit the mood and style of what they write?  In between books they need to relax and ‘fill up the imagination well’ Music can help with this.

8.       DVDs -
This – and the books – will  provide more to fill imagination well. Whether it’s a film starring a gorgeous hunk so that they can do some heavy-duty ‘research’, a romance, a thriller, a historical story – the sort of thing they write -   or, again something that takes them out of their comfort zone – all of these will feed that vital imagination

9.       Time vouchers
Does your writer friend have children – or need help to get some time in which to write? Why not make up some ‘time care vouchers ‘ on your computer and print them off?   They can say things like : I promise to  look after kids  for an hour/afternoon/ day while you write.   Of I promise to do the ironing so that you can write. Of course the writer must use the time to write – not  anything else.

10.   Trip to historical place a writer's house .
This is something that could help with research – or just add to their imagination banks again. Is there a stately home near you – or a castle – or some historical monument that they can find out more about? Or what about a trip to the home of some famous writer? I recently took a friend to Haworth,  the home of the Bronte sisters and we had great fun as well as her learning a lot.

11.   Q&A session.
You can make   vouchers for these too – a Q&A session can be on any subject,. If you have some special knowledge that your friend can use in a book – why not make afternoon tea and let her ask all she wants? Or you can reverse the process and you sit and ask her all about her plot, her characters. By telling you about them she can get to know then better – and if you have any doubts about them you can mention them and discuss them with her.

12.   A critique.
Be careful with this one – some critique partnerships are made in heaven, others can end up in real hell.  Only offer to critique a book if you know what you are doing – and you can be fair and objective about your comments.  You want to help her  with her writing – not lose the friendship. Or you could offer to pay for a professional critique if you can afford it.

13.   Membership of an association –
Membership of a professional association like the Romantic Novelists’  Association (UK) , The Romance Writers of America or The Romance Writers of Australia can be invaluable to a writer just starting out. The RNA has its New Writers’ Scheme  where an unpublished novelist can have her work critiqued by a professional  -  but you need to get in on January 1st because there are only 200+ places and they are snapped up very fast.  All associations have their regular magazines, meeting and conferences – which leads me to –

14.   A course – or a conference
Can you afford  to treat your friend to a day course on writing – or perhaps a weekend residential event? Perhaps you could pay  - or share the cost – for her to go to a conference run by one of the professional associations?  Meeting other writers is a valuable experience and they can learn so much from the workshops, talks and just plain chatting at such events. ( Every course/workshop I run is listed on the Events page on my web site.

15.    A kitchen timer
This small, practical gift can be used as a real incentive toil get your friend writer. Make them promise that they will write – and do nothing else – until the timer sounds – the set it for 15 minutes/30/an hour. It’s amazing what someone can do if they concentrate, focus – think of nothing else – and write.

So there you are -  suggestions for gifts, covering a whole range of prices. Some of them don’t cost you anything – some you need to be feeling pretty financially flush – and generous even to consider. I’ve given –  or been given – all of them – and I’d be happy to receive any of them over again.

Oh – and of course you can  buy books on writing  if you know the sort of novel  this writer is trying to create.  But  try to make sure they are books on writing by people who know what they are talking about and have some experience to draw on – there are a lot of ‘how to’ books by people with no qualifications at all.

And seeing as we are talking about ‘How To’ books – I’m  sure that Riya won’t mind if I do a little bit of personal advertising and mention my own Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance.  This award winning guide and workbook is now in its third edition  and is available on Amazon, Barnes& Noble – or take the details in to a good bookshop and they should be able to order it for you. Or if you’re in to ebooks, it’s now available on Kindle and can be downloaded to your reader in just a few seconds. If you want more details check out  http://www.kate-walker.com/books/12-point-guide.html  on my web site.

I hope this has given  you some good ideas. If you have any other suggestions, or as a writer, if there’s something you’d like to suggest that you’d really love – or that would really help you – why not post in the comments and tell me?

Kate has a new release out:
Standing high on the windswept moors, the lone figure of Heath Montanha vows vengeance on the woman who destroyed the last fragments of his heart...Lady Katherine Charlton has never forgotten the stablehand with dangerous fists and a troubled heart from her childhood. Now the rebel is back, his powerful anger concealed under a polished and commanding veneer. When ten years of scandal and secrets are unleashed, with a passionate, furious kiss, Heath's deepest, darkest wish crystallises...Revenge - and Kat - will be his!

 The Return of the Stranger        Amazon UK        Amazon 

Readers can find Kate on the web: 
Website         Blog        Facebook

Michelle Fayard is asking Kate questions on her 12 Point Guide on Bird's Eye View.

And for a chance to win Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance, go visit ROMANCE BOOK PARADISE!


  1. Great list. I completely agree with the ol' handy-dandy kitchen timer! I use it for cleaning the house in 15 minute sprints too :)

  2. Hi Raelyn,

    Thanks for coming by!


  3. I'd love an actual hourglass--like a 15 minute one. Less frightening than a timer alarm!

  4. Loveliest list around. Thank you Kate and Riya. The kitchen timer is a great idea. I'll tell hubby y'all said to buy me lots and lots of books too. *wink*

  5. Excellent list of gifts and Kate is right, I'd love to receive them all.

  6. Hi beautiful Romance Reader!! Awwww I am totally swooning over The Return of the Stranger! Oh wow!! What a blurb!! Hot!! Lovely! thank you!!

    Yes please I've been a very good writer all year and hope Santa bring me alllll these wonderful gifts!

    p.s. I see you've got lots of trophies and your future is looking ever brighter and more brilliant!! WELL DONE YOU!!!!

    Take care

  7. Excellent post on writer friendly gifts, Kate. You could also add a laptop, ereader, or iPad, writing software, file cabinet, desk organizer and/or new door locks for which you hold the only key. lol Less interruptions.

  8. Notebooks and pens are my favourites. Agree that a writer never has enough notebooks. I buy them just because.

  9. Thanks for the excellent list of suggestions, Kate. I'd certainly love to receive some of these things in my Christmas stocking.

    Lydia - an hour glass sounds like a great idea.

  10. Ha, these are great suggestions. No one in my family is willing to buy me any books because I've read so many, lol.

  11. Hello everyone. Sorry to be late arriving - it's those time zones! They mean I'm waking up when you're getting ready for bed - but I'm here now and I'll be able to chat with you for a while

  12. Hi Raelyn - I do exactly the same - I use a kitchen timer for making me do alittle bit of a job in a sprint too. It's a great incentive. After 15 minutes, you can take a break!

  13. Hello Riya! And thank you for inviting me on to your blog. Congratulations again on those greatexam results

  14. A real hourglass would be a lovely thing, Lydia- but the problem is that you'd have to keep glancing up to see how the sand was flowing through it. A timer might be a bit of a scare when it goes off but you know when you've done your stint! But an hour glass does look so much nicer

  15. Hi Robyn - I'm glad you liked the list. I try to find a fun kitchen timer so it looks cute as well and helping me work - and oh yes, tell your DH that it's vital to buy a writer (well - anyone really) lots and LOTS of books.

  16. Hello Nancy - I'm glad you liked the list too - and I hope that you can use it to drop some hints so that you receive some of the ideas on there, if not all of them!

  17. Hi Old Kitty - my Young Kitty Charlie sends purrs to his namesake on your blog. My Charlie is only just one year old . I'm happy that the blurb for Return Of The Stranger appealed to you - I'm also really happy that lots of readers have written to me to say how much they enjoyed this. So I hipe you might find it in your Christmas Stocking,seeing as you've been such a very good writer all year!

  18. Hi Lorraine and thank you for your extra suggestions - I think they're all great - some might be a bit expensive for some people but I love the idea of those door locks with only one key - that's clever!

  19. Good morning (well it it, here) JL - I've never met a writer who wsn't a notebook/pen addict. The trouble is that some pople have given me notebooks that are so lovely I don't want to spoil them with my scribbles in them!

  20. Hi Shelley - I have to admit that this was easy to write - all I had to do was to think of things that I would like for myself! The list sort of wrote itself. I hope you get something from here that you like under your christmas tree.

  21. Hello Lynda - no one is willing to buy you any books because you've read so many? Well that's just plain wrong! What about all the books you haven't read yet? You need to read them - even if yo've read lots in the past.

    I tell you what - and this is for everyone who's commented here too - over on my personal blog
    I'm starting a Countdown to Christmas - with a boo a day to give away - all you have to do is come over and join in the fun. So why not come along and make a comment and you might win a new book - never mind how many you've already read!

    Hope to see you there!

  22. Wonderful list of gifts! I like the timer idea too. :)

  23. Stamps! I'd love to get stamps! What great gift ideas.

  24. Hi lovely friends!

    *just coming in with some new info*

    Kate has launched 12 Days of Christmas with prizes and giveaways daily! Come and comment on:

    to win books and prizes!

  25. Hello Sharon - I hope you find something on the list that you would look forward to getting. The timer idea does work well - and if you're lucky, once you've started writing you get going and don't stop even when the timer bell rings.

  26. Stamps - you see, Talli is a writer and she would love to get stamps - it's true- writers always need stamps! And sadly people rarely think to give them. I reckon I use stamps just about every single day.

    Talli - leave the list lying around and I hope you get some stamps - and perhaps some other goodies.

  27. HI Nas - thanks for telling everyone - the Countdown to Christmas started on your Romance Book Paradise blog today and there will be more days leading up to Christmas (a total of the 12 Days of Christmas in all) over on my blog. All you have to do is to come over and chat - tell me a bit about yourself. The first prize book goes up tomorrow


    And once again - thank you to Riya for inviting me onto Romance Reader.

  28. Great compilation of gifts. Don't forget post-its and ink cartridges. :) Paper.

  29. I have a copy of the 12 Point Guide and Return of the Stranger. Both great reads.

    Kate, this was a great post and RR, thanks for visiting my blog and reading and commenting too.

  30. These are wonderful gift ideas. Some people in my life give these items to me, particularly stationery. :)

  31. What wonderful gift ideas! I may have to send my hubby over to read this. :)

  32. So many great present ideas on this list - now I want to go shopping for myself!! hehe

  33. Nice list. I'm all for books and conferences. There was a workshop I was dying to go to, but I can't afford 2 in 1 year. Now it's filled. : (

    I hope you both get great writer presents this year!


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