A Writer, The Big Apple and the Great Escape

By: Guest Writer Natasha Guadalupe

The best place to write is in your head”, Ernest Hemingway succinctly once said.  As a writer living in New York City it’s a concept you practice by force.

Between the 400 square foot one bedroom apartments, if you’re lucky, multiple roommates, overcrowded trains, overpriced restaurants; full-time jobs or many small ones; you ultimately feel like all your laborious efforts are merely an attempt to not fall behind; not even taking into account the required time or energy for the development your true passion—writing.

One of the pitfalls on the road to becoming a committed and purposeful writer, I’ve often fell into the trap of feeling overwhelmed by the City with its wealth of opportunities. Knowing of their availability but not quite understanding how and where to attain them.

I did what a typical New Yorker would do in the event of having to engage with a stranger on a train, I stood my ground and made no actual eye contact; or better said, I remained typing away on my worn laptop, sipping my third cup of Starbucks tea wondering if I was alone in feeling this way.

It was only when I saw a random flyer advertising an open ‘mic’ night or spoke to a fellow writer about a free course at the Annex the truth pushed its ugly face forward. I was missing out on the things that are crucial to any writer’s life: connecting, learning and writing.

New York City is a hotbed continually producing world renown and influential writers; it is clear it’s the environment conducive to attaining resources to those who seek them out. So, over the last six months I decided to retool my artistic process strategy for better effectiveness. By doing so I’ve been able to meet inspirational people, find stimulating places write, share my work and participate in writing groups.  Wondering how I manged to completely overhaul my situation?It was exceedingly simple; I gave myself time to actually see what was right in front of me.

Once I started looking for opportunities finding them became easier. One of the basics was realizing how the city itself has responded and augmented internet availability. Also, the advent of public seating in traditional and non-traditional spaces is a huge plus and a carry over from our current boon of telecommuting.

Schools, writing annexes and even libraries are offering free or low-cost writing courses. While businesses such as coffee shops and even museums have adapted their services by offering free Wi-Fi and creating writing friendly lounges and communal seating for cafe patrons.

Below I have listed various resources and outlets for all types of writers to find conducive spaces to write, free/ low-cost writing courses and networking outlets for you to connect with other writers, be they unpublished (like me) or published writers.

From one writer to another I will leave you with my own personal tip when trying to find time to write within the hustle and bustle of New York. What’s consistent in most urban large scale cities is you will always find yourself waiting for one thing or another; be it the train, a bus or a cab; standing in a grocery line or Post Office; waiting at the Motor Vehicle or for a movie to start—those are all opportunities to write or revise your work.  Use a note pad, your smart phone writing application or voice recorder or even embed your words into an email, there is always time to write, even in New York.

General Resources

Who Needs an MFA When You Have Free or Inexpensive Workshops

New York Book & Literature Festivals

Places to Jam & Listen

Yes, I said Meet In-Person! NYC Writers

When Membership Pays

  • Author’s Guild (sliding scale based on your writing salary)  Note: Once you are a member you receive invitations to panels and programs throughout the year. NETWORKING!!
  • Writing Rooms (Rent 24hour accesses spaces to write by yourself or with others)

Ok, Maybe You Do Want To Get Your MFA

Need a Space to Write

Most of us have no choice but to write wherever and whenever we can. And should we be lucky enough to find a little free time and a secluded spot, life still has a habit of interfering. Now I’ve seen it all, desktop computers with full 22 inch monitors in a busy Starbucks, to textbooks, bags and papers laid out across small spaces alienating both customers and café owners. In the end, finding a good spot to write takes exploration, consideration, good etiquette and thinking outside of the box.

You should be looking for:

  1. Location (Near transportation)
  2. Service (Laid back with inexpensive but good food)
  3. Atmosphere (Ample lighting and good seating)
  4. Wi-Fi & Electrical Outlets
  5. Extended hours of operation
  6. Amount of Traffic: (You don’t want to take up space and potential revenue for long periods of time, so find the best places and times to go to a particular café to avoid these kinds of issues)

FREE (Wi-Fi & Seating)

SPENDING $4-$6 For the Space, Outlet, and Wi-Fi

SPENDING $10-$25

$400 and Up

General Hot Spots

Natasha is an aspiring writer living in New York. You can follow Natasha’s writing adventures on Twitter @GirlWriter and on her blog.


3 thoughts on “A Writer, The Big Apple and the Great Escape

Add yours

  1. Great post! I’ll be bookmarking this and I’ve already tweeted it. And I’ll continue to tweet it over time.

    Heads up, though: under Who Needs an MFA, the Free Programs doesn’t link to any free programs, but to the Gotham Writer’s Workshop.

  2. Hi Jeremy!!

    Thanks for bookmarking it. I hope people find it helpful. Thanks for point out about the link.. I think I got them jumbled up, that section will be updated but until then here are the links


    * The link for Free Programs :

    * Within Gotham Writers Workshop under their NYC tab they have listed free workshops in the city. Heres the direct link http://www.writingclasses.com/CommunityEvents/index.php

    For some of the websites it may take a bit of exploring within the organization as they change up their services often.

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