A gift guide for the writers in your life

Here are the books I turn to again and again for writing support:

  • On Writing by Stephen King: the master at work!
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: the inventor of the “shitty first draft” and other truisms of the writing process.
  • Startle and Illuminate by Carol Shields, edited by Anne and Nicholas Giardini: insights on writing from the Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist.
  • Keep Going by Austin Kleon: a small book that’s big on lessons for the creative life, especially when the going’s rough.

A few books that inspire me and that I regularly re-read:

  • On the Move by Oliver Sacks: the legendary scientist’s memoir of writing and researching, and learning to love in later life.
  • The Night of the Gun by David Carr: a top journalist investigates his own life, and questions everything we know about truth in memoir.
  • The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant: the quintessential guide to the forestry industry in British Columbia, and what happens when industry meets culture.
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith: unadulterated love of NYC, friendship, art, and music.

+ anything by John McPhee, George Saunders, and John Irving

Writers always need supplies, and you don’t need to drop a bunch of dough. I like dollar store composition notebooks (with the black-and-white marbled covers) as much as Leuchtturm1917 hardcover notebooks and any stationery by Clairefontaine. My fave pen is the Pilot G2 (.7 mm, blue gel), and my fave pencil is by Blackwing.

But what writers need most from you is your support. If they have a book coming out, pre-order it for a friend and include a note under the tree to let them know it’s coming. Here are some other budget-friendly ideas for supporting writers.

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