Gifts For Writers, 2016


(Gifts for Writers 2014 here.)

(Gifts for Writers 2015 here.)

(Please check those out, too, for cool ideas.)

1. A Good-Ass Carafe

(Vital to note hyphen placement. Please do not buy a “good ass-carafe”) Here’s how my writing day goes — I stumble out of bed, I water the dogs, I kill whatever giant spiders have nestled in the eaves of my cathedral, I make eggs, I give my child his magical growth serum, then I brew coffee. I brew about twenty ounces of coffee, I stick it in a thermal carafe, and then I’m off to my day, and I bring a proper mug, and pour when I need it. That coffee is kept warm all damn day. So go buy this thermal carafe for your writer pal, and make them happy.

2. Customizable Notebook

Check out Wrights Notes notebooks. You tell them what you want your notebook to look like, and boo-bam, you get two of them off the bat. They are not the only game in town, mind you — Google “customizable notebooks” and you’ll get a veritable plethora.

3. Litreactor Courses

ALL Y’ALL’S WRITER PALS NEED SCHOOLING ON HOW TO DO THIS WRITEY-FLAVORED THANG. EVEN ME, BECAUSE I SAY THINGS LIKE ‘WRITEY-FLAVORED THANG,’ WHICH IS NOT HOW ANYONE SHOULD REFER TO ANYTHING, AND THEY SHOULD NOT DO IT IN ALL CAPS, YET HERE I AM, BLITHERBLATHERING IN ALL CAPS. But seriously, hey look, these LitReactor courses are cool as hell. And I know a lot of the people giving them (Delilah Dawson! Melissa Olson! Ania Ahlborn! Weston Ochse! Brad Beaulieu!), which is nice because it’s clear these people and these courses are legit. Lots coming in the new year. The writer pal in your life will appreciate it.

4. Comixology Unlimited

I read differently now that I’m a writer — and I also try to read more diversely and outside of my own format. Bonus: I write comics now, sometimes, when I am able to steal the key and escape my cage. Sometimes writers only have a few moments here and there, and comics make for snappy, zippy reading on any mobile device. Get them a Comixology gift card which can be applied to their new Netflixian service, Comixology Unlimited.

5. Audible Subscription

Related: get them an Audible Subscription for maximum audiobook goodness.

6. Tequila Mockingbird

This is a book about literary-themed cocktails. And given the ever-burning septic system fire that was 2016 — and given what’s likely to come in the smoldering fuckstack that will be 2017! — I expect we’re all gonna be doing some drinking. So, for your writer pal: Tequila Mockingbird. Or just buy them booze, I guess. I’ll take a VW bug full of gin, please and thank you.

7. Spa Day, Motherfucker

Being a writer means crumpling up your body like a dented soda can and hunching over your creative brilliance until your spine bows and your shoulders melt into a crooked pile and all your bones are like twisted vines. It’s great. But sometimes that means you need some help just… y’know, working that out. Throw in stress from our various creative industries compressing our body and mind and I dunno about you, but I could use someone to massage all that out of me. I could use a manicure, a pedicure, one of them fancy face-wraps, a foot massage, a nipple shellacking, a tummy tickle, a chin scrub, a butthole buffing, everything. I’d love a spa day. But if you won’t buy me one, maybe buy one for the writer pal in your life.

8. I’m Just Saying, Jeni’s Now Has Flat-Rate Shipping

Listen, in my earlier GIFTS FOR WRITERS posts, I advocate the gift of ice cream, and that’s because ice cream is amazing. And Jeni’s ice cream is the best of them all. Thing is, Jeni’s used to be hella ‘spensive to ship to most of the country. Ah! Not so anymore, my dubious friends. Now, flat-rate shipping to the states (well, 48 of them). Just $13. So go get some ice cream for your writer pal. I can make recommendations if you need it.

9. Dark Chocolate Subscription

Dark chocolate is magical and mysterious. I’m sure it’s not actually healthy, but we can pretend it is, can’t we? Look, I’ll even spin it and say that “dark chocolate is brain food.” Is it? Who fucking cares? We live in a post-truth age, dontchaknow? Ha ha ha! Behold the Cocoa Runners giftbox. Give your writer pal some, ahem, cough cough, brain food.

10. A Manuscript Consult

A writer of a novel is writing blind, and may need some guidance or editing from another capable writer. Kat Howard, for instance, will do a developmental edit of a novel. As does Laura Anne Gilman! (Actually, I asked about this on Facebook, and you’d be surprised how many of your favorite authors may offer editing. Feel free to drop into comments and note yourself if you are one such author who offers consults and edits!) Here’s a pretty good list via Eric Smith.

11. Superfight!

I like games that work your creative muscles (not a genital euphemism, you pervhead) and that tease out stories. RPGs are good for this, obviously, and you know, if you ever wanted to do something cool for me, just run a session of D&D for me because it’s been too fucking long. But! Also consider for your writer pals: Superfight! Rad card game. Not so, erm, controversial as CAH. If you want something more officially RPG-ey, then Fiasco will be your jam. Bonus: short play sessions make this easy to hop in, tell a story, and then go do something else. Like watch porn. Or rob a bank. Or masturbate while watching a bank being robbed. Weirdo.

12. Haikubes

Kinda like magnetic poetry except, uhh, cubes? Yeah. Poke your poetry buttons with Haikubes.

13. Mix-And-Match Profanity Generator

I feel like the title says it all.

14. Profanity Dictionary

Don’t want to make up your own profanity? Well, here’s a book: Jibber Jabber and Giffle Gaffle. It goes through a history of so-called ‘salacious slang’ through the ages.

15. An Experience

Story is an engine. We must feed it with information, ideas, and experiences. Give your writer pal an experience. I don’t mean to put winky air-quotes around that (“Give your writer pal an ‘experience,’ by which I mean, a prostate massage with a bumpy cucumber! Merry Peggingsday!”) — I mean, y’know, give them a trip. Or hiking shoes. Or SCUBA lessons. Whatever you put into that engine will make the story go. Help them make the story go.

16. Couple of Handweights

Writing is not the healthiest job. Our bodies atrophy under the onslaught of words — our fingers are muscley from typing, but the rest of us is sludgey like dashi-plumped udon noodles. Get your writer pal a set of small handweights. It helps, I promise.

17. Under Desk Foot Massager

Do not stick this thing up your ass. (Or you’ll end up on one of those websites of embarrassing X-Rays.) Sitting at a desk is not ideal for your posture, and foot cramps and plantar fasciitis is not uncommon. So, go get the thing that is definitely not a hedghoggy butt plug (no flared base!) and bring your under-desk feet some sweet, sweet relief.

18. A Brother Laser Printer

Why am I recommending a laser printer? And a Brother, no less? I have a Brother H-2070N and it is a workhorse of a printer. And InkJets are total scams. Every page takes a thimble of ink, and then you have to buy another $700 cartridge (which explains why the printer came free in a fucking cereal box). But my laser prints endlessly. I’ve had it for just shy of ten years now and I’ve replaced the toner cartridge once. And I’ve printed out endless contracts and manuscripts — as your writer pal is also likely to do. This model is old, but newer ones exist (like the HL-2300D), and everybody I know tells the same workhorse story for their Brother printers. (Just avoid the all-in-ones, as more will break. Plus with cell phones, you don’t need scanners much anymore. I also skip color as I find it an unnecessary frill.)

19. QwerkyWriter!

Okay, I kinda love this keyboard for your iPad. Actually, I do a lot more writing on my iPad than I used to, thanks to it now having a fully-functional MS WORD suite — super-stable, totally accessible app. A cool mechanical keyboard like this would be a nice complement.

20. Great Headphones

I have Sennheiser Momentum headphones. I’m sure there are ones you like better — point isn’t to get mine (though they’re comfy and lovely!), point is that sometimes, a writer needs to drown out the world and a pair of quality headphones can help them do exactly that.

Self-Aggrandizing Promo 1: Terribleminds Merch

MugsCertified PenmonkeyArt Harder (NSFW)Art Harder (SFW)The Secret of Writing (NSFW)Writer Juice, and the newest addition: CAFFEINE, MOTHERFUCKER. DO YOU SPEAK IT? Er that one is pretty obviously NSFW.

T-Shirts: Certified Penmonkey, Art Harder (NSFW).

Self-Aggrandizing Promo 2: Writer Books By Yours Truly

Like howzabout The Kick-Ass Writer, or the Writing E-Book Bundle?

If you got cool writer gift ideas, drop ’em in the comments.

Merry Peggingsday, one and all.

26 responses to “Gifts For Writers, 2016”

  1. Chuck, regarding your spiders in your cathedral, we live on the lake. For the two years we’ve been here, I’ve been fighting spiders. I spray. I powder. I swat. I vacuum up the webs and little sacks full of baby spiders…every few days. I didn’t feel safe even taking a shower. AND THEN I heard of something that actually worked! Years and years ago, here in the South, people used to paint their windowsills and ceilings blue. They did this to keep away ‘haints.’ (ghosts). Much later, they realized the blue paint also kept insects and birds from building their nests/webs as well. The theory is they think it’s the sky and want to find better shelter. So I have this a try a few months ago, and it was miraculous! No More Spiders!! No more bugs of any sorts on my back porch ceiling. A crapload less bugs in the house. No more birds building nests on top of our columns.

    I went with a Sherwin Williams “Haint Blue.” It’s a beautiful color, and I promise you, it really works. Give it a try!

  2. Might take you up on the brother printer although sadly I do need a scanner as I do illustrations for my covers and then send them to proper artists who turn them into the real thing, I would also second sennheiser headphones as they pack massive amounts of excellence into a cheaper price.

    I really, really want a caffeine, motherfucker mug but sadly I have the kind of eight year old who would carry it gleefully to school to show his friends how bad arse his mother was and I’d probably end up under investigation from social services.



  3. I second your Brother printer recommendation. I have one that just spits out pages like there’s no tomorrow, and it does envelopes easily too! Cost per impression is pretty low, less and a nickel for sure, probably considerably less than that. (I used it when I was in real estate, so I’ve stressed it considerably. It never failed.)

  4. Chuck, love your list. I need that Brother Printer. Like you, I think ink jets are junk but I do need a scanner. My fax is also on the blink. What I really want first is the Qwerty Keyboard. AWESOME! Someone else mentioned your mug and tshirt. Dying to order them. Trying to figure out if my husband would divorce me. 🙂 Definitely think I’m going with the laser printer and Qwerty.Oh, and your book!

    • Ah, but modern cell phones operate as a scanner — I mean, provided you don’t need to do like, 50 pages in fast succession, I just snap the photos with my scanner app, then can print as many times as needed!

  5. Totally agree on the Brother. Workhorse and powerful awesome. Black and white or color you can buy the kind you want depending on how many pages a day you think you print. Last forever and work awesome.

  6. I’d heard of the Qwerky Keyboard long ago and forgotten it until you brought it up here. Now I’m very tempted to buy one…or ask for it as a gift! 🙂

    That said, I think Litreactor courses are the most likely to go on my list. I keep wanting to take Delilah S. Dawson’s Worldbuilding class, but it’s hard to justify the expense within my personal budget. I’d love to get a chance to learn from her, though.

  7. Jesus, Chuck. These were two very long weeks. I hadn’t realized how much I missed you, man. Welcome back!

    Oh, and I think I’m going to buy one of those useful “good ass-carafes.”

  8. This is perfect. I am sending this to anyone who may be considering gifting me this Christmas. And in return I’ll give them a framed copy of our photo taken. at the Decatur Book Festival. But not your signed book. NOT THAT.

  9. I can’t believe I clicked a link reading “Do not stick this thing up your ass.” That said, the foot massager does look useful for my plantar fasciitis-afflicted feet. So thanks!

  10. There are lots of literary items at The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild (. As a huge fan of Edgar Allan Poe, imagine my joy to find an EAP doll to sit under my painting of the gent. There are all sorts of mugs and finger puppets (when you need a break, it would be fun to have s battle between Shakespeare and Jane Austen. There’s a ton of weird and obscure things, well worth a visit.

  11. Great list.

    I would like to sing the praises of the Brother Machine (like a Mother Box, but not), if I may. I’ve got a Brother MFC-7460DN (wired network enabled) and I love the hell out of it. With a kid on the autism spectrum and a bookkeeper for a wife it scans as much as it prints and it doesn’t do shitty things like break down or quit working for no reason. I’ve had this bad boy for about 6 years and it’s been inexpensive to maintain and it doesn’t bitch unless there is something actually wrong; like when I forget to put paper in or kill an ink cartridges (cartridges are smaller, but not nearly as expensive as a standalone printer, so it averages out). Get just a printer if that’s all you need, but if you need a multi-machine that a) won’t cost the GNP of Ecuador and b) won’t crap out 30 seconds after the warranty expires (I’m looking at you HP, you asshole!) then this is definitely the way to go. Plus, like Chuck said; workhorse.

  12. um, please quit murdering the spiders – they eat mosquitoes. if you absolutely have to get rid of them get a siberian forest cat to live in the top walking along the beams and struts. they are as companianable as dogs and keep the house spider, mosquito, bug, mouse, and lizard free. the only thing, if one of these cats decides you are the big boss it may begin to bring you all it’s hunting trophies (for your approval).

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