Based in Chicago, Illinois, The Freelance Beat is a blog exploring the triumphs and challenges that freelance journalists encounter in their early and mid-careers.

5 Holiday Gifts for Writers

5 Holiday Gifts for Writers

During my week in Michigan for Thanksgiving, I spent the entire week recovering from a terrible cold. So, except for seeing my family, my dog, and eating mac and cheese, I wanted to throw the whole week away. I can’t wait for the holidays, another chance to enjoy food, family and fun.

In the meantime, I’ve wrapped up a few stories and am in the process of completing several more. And several times over the last few weeks, I’ve been asked what I want for Christmas.

I have little room for much else in my apartment; in fact, I’ve resolved to clean out my closet by January 2018. And the things I have requested have nothing to do with my work, all pleasure.

But I thought it might be fun to round up a few gifts that journalists will love. So here are a few suggestions for my fellow members of the fourth estate:

Olympus Telephone Recorder

I recently heard about this device from one of my freelance group members. And I have to say that it’s one of the best business purchases I’ve made this year. The device, a combination of an earbud and microphone, plugs into the microphone jack of my digital H1 Zoom recorder. The microphone picks up both ends of the conversation and the earbud lets me listen to my interview subject fairly clearly. Now that my iRig app on my iPod (Yes, I still have an iPod) has become less reliable, I’ve used this to record source interviews without a problem.

Writer’s Market 2018

Okay, I’m a little late on this one. This, too, is a resource I heard about via one of my freelancer groups. (Another reason why you have to network!) But it has invaluable information, contact and payment information, for freelancing and book publishing.

Reporter’s Notebooks

We’re always using them. They’re an invaluable part of what we do. But that doesn’t mean they have to look dull. There are many cool notebooks to choose from on Etsy.

Writing utensils

I’m always on a hunt for a good pen, and I’m always annoyed when my favorite pens go missing. Thankfully, working from home means my favorite pens don’t disappear unless I misplace them. But nevertheless, great pens are hard to come by. I like the Uni-Ball pens for everyday writing, but why not give some fancier pens to the journalist in your life? Or for more fun, why not add an assortment of colored markers that are perfect for editing?


For me, calendars are essential to me. I need digital and hand-written reminders to keep me on track. However, they don’t have to be boring. Consider buying a fun planner or calendar for the writer in your life who desperately needs to get stuff done.

What gifts are you giving the writers in your life? Tell me in the comments or email me at


So, I have a few questions...

So, I have a few questions...

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