'Tis the season, and if you've got writers on your list, I've got some gift ideas for you. (These are my personal views -- I'm not being compensated by anybody.)

Journals: a great gift idea for writers

I love a good journal. They're useful in so many ways. For meeting notes (I have a journal for business activities, one for my environmental education work and another for my South Orange Rescue Squad board work). Of course, a journal is also a great place to process your thoughts and feelings or to jot ideas for that memoir or novel you're going to write.

Team member Carolyn Evans wrote this piece on business journaling for Staples.

4 tips for buying a journal

Here are four things to consider when buying a journal:

  1. Paper: Some folks chafe at a lined page. Others feels lost without the guides. Can you really go wrong? Probably not, but if you can see what kind of journal they're already using, you can go with their preference. Rite in the Rain's water-proof journals and notebooks are terrific for folks working in the field or doing a lot of nature journaling.
  2. Binding: Any binding that lays flat is going to be the easiest to use, but there's a certain gravitas and specialness to a bound journal. Again, though, hard to go too far wrong either way. That said, a stiff, heavy back cover makes the journal easier to use when you don't have a table or desk.
  3. Size: Pocket journals are great for some folks -- especially those who do a lot of jotting and want to travel light. (I keep a pocket journal in my car and another in my backpack so I always have something to capture my thoughts.) Larger formats make more sense for people who want more real estate. Not sure? Pick something in the middle.
  4. Design: Your favorite local gift or bookstore probably has a slew of nice journals in stock. (My friend and bookstore owner Keebe Fitch shares my love of journals and had a lot of great ones in the McIntyre's brick-and-mortar and online store.) You can also design your own. Denik's DIY journals are the best on the market, but you can get a decent one from your favorite photo app (I use Shutterfly).
some of the journals that caught my eye at McIntyre's

Writing utensils: useful holiday gifts for writing

I've got a friend one friend who writes exclusively with a fancy antique fountain pen. Another uses only Sharpies. Whether the writers on your list scribble on paper or a screen, writing instruments are always a welcome gift.

The classics: My decades-long go-tos are Sharpie fine point permanent markers and uni-ball rollers in all the colors. I have them everywhere. Truly a practical gift, but admittedly, it doesn't have much wow-factor. Pair these with a nice journal, though, and....you see where I'm going.

The innovators: I just got my first Rite in the Rain all-weather pocket pen (at right) for taking notes in the field. It writes at all angles (including upside down!). It's small enough to fit easily in pants and jacket pockets but not so tiny that you have to be a contortionist to use it.

Stress less: the thought does count

We know from our own experience that even if the gift isn't perfect for us, when we feel the person tried (even just a little), it really does make a difference. Trust your gut and act with good intention and you'll have a better chance of conveying that you care.

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