Tracy C. Gold


7 Creative Gifts for Creative Writers

on November 27, 2023

It is the season of shopping! Er…I mean, giving. If you’re looking for a gift for a writer in your life, or if you’re looking for a gift for yourself (coming from someone who absolutely fills her own stocking), I’ve got some great ideas for you. These ideas are focused on writers, but many of them apply to any creative.

Most creative fields are rife with self-doubt. I speak for myself and for many writers and artists when I say that we can feel a great sense of guilt when we take time to work on our craft instead of doing more pressing tasks. Most writers I know have nagging questions in the back of their minds: “Am I good enough?” “Should I really be spending time on doing this?”

Here’s the thing: having someone in your life who supports you as a writer or creative can make the difference between giving up and persevering. Giving someone support for their dreams is more meaningful than any gadget or soft sweater.

And I joke about filling my own stocking, but the truth is that someone’s gotta do it. No one else is going to buy me socks, hair ties, chapstick, and candy. I enjoy all of those things, so I do it for myself. So if no one else is giving you the gift of encouragement to pursue your dreams? Do it yourself.

So, while a post like this may seem commercial, there is a layer of meaning here about believing in your loved ones, and believing in yourself. You deserve it!

Ok, enough sappiness. On to the gifts.

Yes, my own classes on writing or a coaching session make great gifts…but I also have ideas that don’t cost a cent. Full disclosure, all Amazon links are affiliate links (help me fill that stocking?).

Here we go! 
1. The gift of time. Especially for parents like me, there is never enough time! Think about what you can take off someone’s plate (or what you can take off of your own plate) to give the gift of time to write. If you want to make this into a cute physical object, you can make an IOU gift card which is good for, say, one night a week of dishes or laundry duty if that’s normally their chore, or a few hours of watching the kids when it’s normally your spouse’s time (or a few hours of babysitting for a non-spouse loved one). If you’re trying to clear your own plate, is there something you can say no to that’s filling up a lot of your time? A chore you can let wait? A dinner you can order instead of make?

The key is to then use that free time to actually be creative, or to help your loved one do so. This is where having a physical object or card can be a helpful reminder. Personally, I make a calendar event to block out time for myself to write. 

2. A class on writing. Here is where my self-promo kicks in, but this doesn’t have to be a class with me. Over my years as a writer and illustrator, I have gained so much knowledge from taking classes outside of my formal education. One of the first writing classes I took outside of formal school was via Johns Hopkins’ Continuing Education program. During Covid, a lot of these classes became virtual so you can now take them from anywhere in the world, though it’s also worth checking for in-person options at a school near you. I’m taking a break from teaching there while I have intense launches for my picture books, but there are several writing courses on offer.

Of course, I do have on-demand classes available. My classes with Thinkific now even have a special gifting feature. My “Beginner’s Guide to Writing Picture Books” class is great for those new to writing picture books. My “How to Write Rhyming Picture Books” is for those who want to become experts at rhyme and rhythm.

While I’d love for you to take one of those and fund my own holiday shopping, they also serve as examples of how, with a little searching, you can find an online class on just about any topic.

3. A Skillshare membership. One place to find those classes is on Skillshare. This is a bit self-promotional, as I upload my courses onto Skillshare, but a subscription is also a great gift for someone creative. I also have a referral link that will give you one free month at any time (at least as of 12/27/23).

Skillshare is a great gift for busy people because the classes are all broken up into short videos. There are classes on writing, illustrating, designing–so many creative topics. I often listen to their classes while walking and doing laundry. I can go back and watch what I need to later. 

4. A writing group. This is another option that’s often free or very low cost. I cherish my writer friends and over the years we’ve had regular meetings…or less regular meetings. I met a lot of them through The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (a membership is a great gift!) and through continuing education classes like the ones described above. There are associations for other types of writing as well, though I can’t vouch for them–it’s worth seeing what might be in your state or region. Local libraries and bookstores also often have free writing groups, or will know about groups that do. Do some research for yourself or a loved one–and make sure you’re helping to clear the calendar so they actually have time to go!

5. Gift card to a local bookstore. Okay, this one is not so creative, but if you know that your loved one is trying to learn to write in a new genre or category, reading in that category is so key to learning. Libraries are great but when you’re studying a book to learn how to write a similar one, you may need it on hand to look again and again. A note to go with a gift like this to let your loved one know that you support them as a creative can go a long way to encourage them on their journey.

Storytime at Park Books
You never know what you’ll find at a local bookstore!

6. Books on the craft of writing. Here are books that say “I support your journey as a writer.” Remember: it is just as important to say this to yourself as to say it to someone else. 
Picture Books
The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books
Writing Picture Books
Why take a class in addition to reading one of these books? My beginner’s guide class goes way deeper into the modern publishing landscape; my rhyme class is a much more intensive guide to rhyme than you’ll find in any book I know of. Plus the community and video format! However these books are an excellent resource and I would highly recommend them in addition to any class. 

Novels and Memoirs 
Save the Cat Writes a Novel–This one is obviously for fiction but applying some of the tactics here can also be very helpful for memoir. I vouch for this audiobook but I also have a print version for reference.
The Writers Helping Writers Emotional Thesaurus Series
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
The Art of Memoir

7. Editing or a coaching session with an expert. Ok, ending on self-promo here, too, but finding an editor who specializes in the kind of writing your loved one does and dedicating some funds to hire them can be a huge step up for their writing journey. I would suggest starting with something small to make sure they’re excited about working with the editor before shelling out for a whole novel or memoir. An edit on a picture book or the first ten pages should be about right. If your loved one is the type of person who likes talking on the phone, you can also book them a phone call. Other than hiring me (hehe), you can look up editors for just about any type of writing on Reedsy, or even book a short consult with a literary agent via Manuscript Wishlist.

That’s it! If you end up using one of these ideas, I’d love to hear how it goes!

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