Writers love to talk about the details that other people tend to ignore or simply have no time for, especially nowadays. We give the universe an intimate look into their own individual worlds, and it helps everyone better their own stories too. And if you’re going to share your world, it may as well be a nice one!
So where should you pick geographically, if you’re starting to tell your story? Here are the five best cities for writers in the world, that have proven their value for writing, both in fact and fiction:
Five Top Cities for Writers
Seattle, Washington, US
Seattle is ever famous for its beautiful, drizzly days and coastal vibe, providing an ideal backdrop for writing a literary masterpiece. Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, the city is home to a long list of writer’s groups and clubs. This includes the Richard Hugo House and the Capitol Hill Writing Meetup, not to mention top publishers such as Amazon Publishing, Pagan and Cune Press.
Of course, we all know that Seattle is also where many great writers built their careers, from best-selling, serio-comic author Hollywood Tom Robbins to journalist-turned novelist Steve Martini to local children’s book author Bonny Becker and more. This isn’t really surprising as art and creativity have clearly become life for this city, where finding quiet and inspiring places is becoming easier by the day. Just to name a few, there’s Café Argento on Capitol Hill, Bauhaus in Ballard and The Riveter in Fremont. As a metropolis that thrives on coffee, Seattle is truly one of the best places for writers to bring their work.
When it comes to practicality, Seattle is also one of the best options there is, especially for travel writers, medical copywriters, and, more recently, online writers. With almost a hundred thousand businesses around the Puget Sound area and the burgeoning digital marketing industry, opportunities abound for content creators, from full-time to part-time. The city’s digital writers are earning a base pay of $64,000 yearly, and with reasonable living expenses – in fact, the cheapest on this list – that’s just another reason to find home in this city.
London, United Kingdom
Among the most legendary literary hubs of the world, London has been home to countless prolific writers for generations. Today, it couldn’t be more beautiful and ripe for building a new career, whether inspiration comes from the metro’s rich cafes or reading about lives and stories of the city’s literary icons. Plus, there’s no running out of marvelous stories and people who can provide inspiration.
After all, the city is a nerve center for brilliant artists, researchers and other people who do story-worthy things. That means opportunities for local interviews and events are huge and endless, including conferences on anything under the sun. From women to pollution to global epidemics, there’s plenty of ideas to explore. To boot, most of such opportunities are free.
When it comes to writer spaces in London, the possibilities are huge and almost endless. For example, Aiferblat is a giant living room bursting with books and an overlooking view of the stunning Church of St. Leonard. There’s the series of artistic restaurant spaces called Sketch, where it’s always breathtaking and quiet, and Telegraph Hill Park with its heartwarming willow trees and exuberant greenery. Truly, for any writer looking for a spark of inspiration, London never disappoints.
Prague, Czech Republic
There’s no question about it – Prague is simply one of the most beautiful and literary cities the world over. No less than a UNESCO City of Literature, it is where the famous author, Franz Kafka, was born and built his career. And of course, it has a boatload of museums as well as cultural attractions to offer.
Just as other enthralling cities, Prague is famous for its power over those who discover it, thanks mostly to its rich history. It was the center of some of the most crucial and memorable times of European and world history for one. Here, there’s also a cathedral constructed by miners, a crypt built from human bones, and windows blessed to appreciate Mozart’s genius.
On Wenceslas Square, thousands congregate to express opposition to communism in a bid to take their nation back. And, of course, there is Kafka’s father’s bookshop to indulge in. Prague is simply a place for writers to let all their guards down and just dive into the experience with their literary prowess, each day discovering a new treasure to write about.
It’s just undeniable – something about Prague makes it some kind of a fairy tale experience that people have, a place that tattoos itself in their memory and keeps them aching to come back, if not to never leave. For writers, the sheer beauty of the city is one to take them down to their deepest souls – which is where they need to be.
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Whether to draw inspiration from its majestic architecture and historical buildings or to revel in the literary supremacy of the world’s first-ever UNESCO City of Literature, countless writers have come and stayed in Edinburgh, including Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, who finished the last installment of her masterwork at the luxurious Balmoral Hotel (and left a graffiti there too). And then of course, there are the native legends like Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Edinburgh can also be a haven for aspiring writers, with writers’ retreats being held regularly throughout there year, plus spoken word events. What could be more beautiful than writers inspiring one another? For those who need some book therapy, the city also teems with independent bookshops, including 2019 Best Independent Bookshop from The Bookseller. Without a doubt, Edinburgh is the complete package. With culture and history, art, creativity, it’s a world full of inspiration.
New York City, New York, United States
America’s most iconic city sparkles in all the ways and places, from magazine covers to skyscrapers to how their writers nail success in the head. It’s a generally expensive city to live in, but more affordable housing is always available, especially for writers who are not known for cheap pay. As they say, New York is the city that never sleeps, and there’s a lot of logic packed in that. Opportunities are flooding, for one – especially for writers. Or maybe it never sleeps because everyone’s been up all night reading.
Of course, NYC is still the publishing center of the world, but there’s a lot more going on here that makes its writers call it home. There are literary wonders happening in every corner of the metro. Think New York Public Library, Strand Book Store, Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, the Algonquin Hotel, the famed meeting place of the renowned Algonquin Round Table (otherwise known as the Vicious Circle) of the Roaring ’20s — a group of writers, editors, and critics in the likes of Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Harold Ross. And let’s not forget the colorful and storied Brooklyn Book Festival.
Writers in New York City today make around $59,454 per year, says Glassdoor, and that is about 10% higher than the national average. In terms of educational opportunities, there is hardly a shortage, with options ranging from free courses or workshops to graduate degree programs at the world-famous Journalism School at Columbia University. Of course, there’s the almost never-ending list of New York writer meet-up groups, from generalists, like the the New York Writing Club, to specialists, like Content Strategy NYC groups.
Needless to say, the world has witnessed how NYC has captured the dreams of writers over the centuries. After all, the city is an exciting mix of people from all parts of the world, globally competitive cultural events, professional enrichment and networking opportunities, and the possibility of just about anything happening in the next corner that’s worth writing about.
Need we say more? It’s simply a must, for every writer.
Which City Fills Your Senses the Most as a Writer?
It’s just one of the best things about being a writer – the freedom to write wherever. And you’ve probably experienced the reality that not all places are the same when it comes to bringing out your best. Another part of the freedom of being a writer is defining what works for you – our best cities for writers might not be yours, and that’s fine. Are you more inspired by the rustic, old-world charms of a city like Prague or the glitzy, glamorous pull of NYC? You (always) decide.
Photo by Dmitry Goykolov on Unsplash