The stereotypical vision of the romanticized ‘writer’s life’ probably sounds something like this: a lone writer spends their days at a typewriter, tucked away in a cramped, dimly lit 95-square-foot shoebox apartment in the heart of Manhattan, or something like that.
Don’t most writers live in New York City, anyway? Stereotypes seem to claim that to be true.
Though New York City is still an attractive place for writers to live, thriving writing communities can be found far and wide nowadays in the United States.
So— where do writers in the United States live then?
Undoubtedly, New York City remains a desirable place for writers to relocate to. New York City is the biggest city in the United States, and statistics from a 2014 PwC report titled “Cities of Opportunity” crowned New York City as the world’s media capital, as the city spent $19.7 billion on entertainment and media for the year. This was projected to grow at an annual rate of 4.5% (Richter).
Thus, there are plenty of media outlets in New York City, including publishing companies. All of the “Big Five Publishers” — Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, MacMillan, and Hachette Book Group— have their main headquarters located there (Peterson).
Additionally, there are several mid-sized publishing companies and local, independent publishers in the city as well. New York City is also an ideal residence for writers attempting to self-publish, as the immense population of mentors, illustrators, and other writers is essential to any writer looking to brand themselves. For aspiring authors, the opportunities in “the city that never sleeps” are boundless.
New York City also houses several nooks and crannies like writing cafes, studios, and unconventional spaces that are guaranteed to spark any writer’s creativity. However, New York City is just one of the various large cities writers call home. Other cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami are booming locations for writers to reside in due to the presence of unique opportunities each area offers.
Los Angeles is also a major hub for entertainment and media in the United States, ranking sixth in the world for the highest media spending cities in the PwC “Cities of Opportunity” report (Richter). As a result, writers have an abundance of opportunities to succeed in the city, including delving into Los Angeles’s prominent film industry.
Agents, managers, studio executives, and people willing to work with aspiring authors can be found virtually anywhere in the city. Additionally, Los Angeles provides writers with exclusive ways to advance their careers such as attending film screenings, working with scriptwriters, and finding musical or acting talent to turn their words into action (Myers).
Chicago is another large city well-versed in the literary field. Chicago is home to many writers as well as large publishing companies, community writing groups, and workshops. The amount of writers living in Chicago has a projected growth of 3.4% over the next ten years (Randall C).
Many writers, especially freelancers, can also be found in Philadelphia. According to Brian Honigman, a prominent Philadelphia marketing consultant, the city is ideal for freelancers because of the “tight-knit community of independent contractors who are more than willing to help each other out” (Siemasko).
Philadelphia writers live comfortably; the average writing salary in Philadelphia is $40.00 an hour, 63% higher than the national average (Hutcheson). Additionally, the cost of living in Philadelphia is significantly lower than competing writing communities in New York City and Los Angeles.
Writers can also find success in Miami living amongst the other writers, surplus of bookstores, and mix of cultures the city boasts. Copywriters are especially prosperous in Miami, with a career job growth rate for the next five years of at least 3.4% (Kelly R).
Miami also hosts several conferences and workshops throughout the year, including the Miami Book Fair. The Miami Book Fair, organized by Miami Dade College, is an annual literary festival that brings hundreds of thousands of readers and writers together for readings, book exhibitions, and writing-related events (“About”). The festival also attracts a variety of publishers, and is an assured way for aspiring authors to network.
The cost of living for writers is even less in mid-sized to smaller cities, and these areas still offer writers many of the perks of larger cities. Therefore, writing scenes are gaining momentum in smaller cities, like Pittsburgh.
Aside from affordability, Pittsburgh appeals to aspiring authors because the city houses various literary journals, independent bookstores, and universities with acclaimed writing programs.
The opportunities in Pittsburgh allow writers to learn and collaborate with other respectable and diverse individuals in the field, making the city an optimal place for self-publishing writers. Pittsburgh is also ranked one of the most literate cities in the United States, so writers are ensured to have an audience (Yune).
Writers aren’t restricted to cities, however. Aspiring authors are finding inspiration in uncanny areas such as Livingston, Montana.
Livingston, a small-town literary epicenter, is home to more professional writers per capita than New York City or San Francisco. Many of the country’s top writers reside within a 100-mile radius of Livingston as well (Hoehn).
Small towns in the mountains like Livingston can be preferable places for writers to move to due to the nature scene. Some writers draw their inspiration from the outdoors, and their writing is heavily influenced by the external surroundings.
Overall, flourishing writing communities are all throughout the United States. There are writers opting for a less traditional, small-town route, and there are writers who continue to dream of the big city. Regardless of where a writer resides, the inspiration for the next greatest work can be found anywhere.
"About." Miami Book Fair, Miami Dade College, www.miamibookfair.com/about/.
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America." Livability, 2 Feb. 2018, livability.com/mt/love-where-you-
Hutcheson, Susannah. "The Best Cities for Writers." Hooked to Books, 16 Sept.
Myers, Scott. "Living and Writing in L.A." Go Into the Story,
Peterson, Valerie. "The Big 5 Trade Book Publishers." The Balance Careers, 30
R, Kelly. "Your Guide to the Miami Writing Scene." Writers Access,
Richter, Felix. "New York is the World's Media Capital." Statista, 11 Mar. 2015,
Siemasko, Emma. "5 Best Cities to Live for Freelance Writers in 2016."
Skyword, 11 July 2016, www.skyword.com/contentstandard/5-best-cities-
Yune, Robert. "22 Indisputable Reasons Pittsburgh is the Perfect City for
Writers." Thought Catalog, 5 Aug. 2015, thoughtcatalog.com/robert-