This quick, fun list of gifts for writers zero in on every writer’s need: tools to help capture ideas.
Ideas are a writer’s raw material. They’re the starting point for any piece of writing or any step in the process.
Ask a writer, “Where are you when you get ideas?” and you’ll get answers like ....
So when it comes to gifts for writers, forget the usual notebook or kvetchy coffee mug with Hemingway’s face.
If you help a writer jot down an amazing idea before it slips away, you’ll be a hero. Give the writer in your life a helpful tool or gadget that helps him gather up inspiration when it strikes.
Pilots use them. So do health care professionals, police, and military – anyone who needs to take notes when light is low. That includes writers who wake up in the middle of the night with an idea but don’t want to turn on the lights.
Click it and the pen lights up. You write down your idea, click it off, and go back to sleep. Some lighted pens even have a body that lights up. Plus, the LED lights and batteries are usually replaceable. (Browse lighted pens.)
Speaking of pens, plenty of writers are going all-out digital. That makes digital pens one of the most useful (and fun) gifts for writers. Digital pens contain software. That makes them different from a stylus, which simply works by pressure on the touch screen of a phone, tablet, or other digital device. A digital pen allows the writer to "write" on the device. T
he handwriting or drawing can then be loaded to a computer and displayed on the screen. Some digital pans have additional features. They can erase handwriting or record audio. While some digital pens require a special tablet or device, technology has made it possible for newer digital pens to be used on most electronic surfaces.
Naturally, you can use the voice function on your cell phone or even a free online app to record verbal notes and ideas. But what about when you’re jogging in the park and the muse strikes? Writers cite their favorite features in a handheld voice recorder: clear audio, voice activation recording, easy file transfer to computer, and plenty of recording time. (Check out different kinds of handheld voice recorders.)
Ideas pop into a writer’s brain in inconvenient places. The shower is one of those places. A variety of sympathetic manufacturers have come up with an answer: waterproof notepads that include water-resistant pencils and suction cups or hang holes for mounting. The paper is waterproof and recyclable too. These pads are also helpful if you’re taking notes in the rain … or if you simply want to leave a note for a family member or roommate in the shower. (Check out the different kinds of waterproof notepads.)
Evernote is my fave note-taking app. I use it to jot down ideas in my phone when I’m away from my computer. And to be honest, I use it while sitting at my laptop, too. Evernote has become my “idea depository.” It’s with me wherever my phone is and whenever inspiration strikes or I want to store a receipt, an article to read, a to-do list, or a photo. And I only use the free version.
The paid version offers plenty of additional features (in different levels) that a writer might appreciate but not want to pay for himself, such as syncing content across multiple devices, using custom templates, and accessing content offline. The business plan allows you to work with a team in the single application. If you give a subscription as a gift and you’ll give a writer the chance to check out Evernote’s extra features.
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Award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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