When you’re thinking of the most brilliant writers of all times, who are you thinking of? Is it grey-headed Ernest Hemingway working on his masterpiece somewhere on Cuba? Or Scott Fitzgerald lounging from bar to bar in a pursuit of a muse? Or maybe it’s Stephen King whose stories are so extraordinary you can hardly believe they’ve been produced in a head of one man? It can be Ayn Rand with her unshakable faith in the idea of living by purpose or even Carrie Bradshaw who is not even real yet one-of-a-kind. Wonder what do these people have in common? All of them have been drawing their inspiration from the spirit of American cities.
As you can guess from the title, this time the spotlight is on best US cities for writers. After all, who if not writers are adventurous enough to move to relocate just because it feels right? To compile this list, we’ve made a thorough research and analyzed major factors that are likely to make a certain city good for writers. We’ve paid attention to salaries, local publishing houses and established writing communities, as well as rental prices.
It might be true that no place on Earth can make you a writer, but it’s just as true that some places are way more inspiring than others. So let’s see what city deserves to be called the best city for writers in the US.
Median rental price: $3,109/mo
Average writer’s salary: $50,593
Top publishers: Writers House, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons
Writing communities: Gotham Writers Workshops, The Center for Fiction, The Writers Room
The global capital of everything, New York City is an amazing place to be either for a writer or any other creative person. Local writing traditions run high, which can be explained by many reasons. Unique vibes you won’t find in any other city, a large number of world-renowned publishing houses, and a burst of writing clubs and established communities – these all help NYC top the list of best cities for writers in the US.
Median rental price: $1,787/mo
Average writer’s salary: $40,640
Top publishers: Sourcebooks, Brittany Publications, Lindenmeyr Book Publishing
Writing communities: Story Studio Chicago, Chicago Women in Publishing, Carlinville Writers Guild
Once home to genius Theodore Dreiser and Ernest Hemingway, Chicago keeps inspiring writers of all genres up to this day. The Windy City is famous for drawing huge crowds for writing conventions, workshops, and festivals. BookExpo America and Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo and Evanston Literary Festival are just a few of events any aspiring writer would kill for. And it goes without saying that Chicago is the best spot to be in case your next book has something to do with gangs and mafia.
Median rental price: $2,304/mo
Average writer’s salary: $70,330
Top publishers: C&C Publishing Company, Mage Publishers, Copper Canyon Press
Writing communities: Split This Rock, The Inner Loop, Story District
In nearly all cases, people are flocking to Washington to pursue a career of politician or lobbyist. But the truth is that the city has way more to offer. Apart from being the capital and administrative center of the US, it’s also the ‘most literate’ city nationwide. Washington, DC, is truly special. As the city has nothing to do with manufacturing business, its cultural strengths can hardly go unnoticed. Since all the competition happens in a political arena, all the other spheres are filled with a spirit of synergy and collaboration.
Median rental price: $2,210/mo
Average writer’s salary: $60,560
Top publishers: Amazon Publishing, Pagan Publishing, Cune Press
Writing communities: Richard Hugo House, Bureau of Fearless Ideas, Capitol Hill Writing Meetup
Compared to NYC or Chicago, Seattle might lack in urban vibes and endless dynamics, but it surely makes up in comfort and pace of life. The city boasts plenty of writing communities and clubs, and, what’s important, locals have time and energy to attend them on a regular basis. Waiting for a final flourish? Salaries of writers in Seattle are among the highest in the country, which is a mercenary yet valuable reason to consider moving here.
Median rental price: $1,250/mo
Average writer’s salary: $43,302
Top publishers: Autumn House Press, Dorrance Publishing Company, Pearhouse Press, Inc.
Writing communities: Shut Up & Write Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Writers Project, The Writing Studio
Commonly referred to as the City of Steel or the City of Bridges, Pittsburgh is also the city of opportunities. They say that writers should seek stories, and the truth is that Pittsburgh is a story itself. As diverse and dynamic as it is, Pittsburgh shows its different colors and edges depending on who’s looking. Now add to that affordable rental prices (it is the cheapest city on the list), and you’ll see why aspiring writers are coming here for inspiration and stay for good.
Median rental price: $1,632/mo
Average writer’s salary: $46,219
Top publishers: Old City Publishing, Running Press Books, Lime Publishing
Writing communities: Spells Writing Lab, Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, Philadelphia Writing Project
Those who’ve been to Philadelphia at least once tend to use the memories of this city to keep warm on cold winter nights. Despite being one of the symbols of America, Philadelphia is usually compared to a European city with its classic architecture and cozy streets lined with trees. In case you and your writing muse are both foodies, you’re going to love Philadelphia even more. They say it’s by far the most ‘delicious’ city in the entire country.
Median rental price: $2,489/mo
Average writer’s salary: $48,874
Top publishers: Waterton Publishing Company, Amber-Allen Publishing, Bridge Publications
Writing communities: Independent Writers of Southern California, Write Away Tuesdays, Greater Los Angeles Writers Society
This list would be incomplete without Los Angeles. This place is a haven for all things creative. Writing is not an exception. LA should be your one and only choice if you’re specifically focused on songwriting or screenplay writing, as people of both professions are of a great demand in the area. But it’s also one of the best cities for technical writers (after all, there’s Silicon Valley just around the corner) and creative writers. Los Angeles is where the art is center stage, and you should come here to take the most out of this fact.
Scientists claim the universe is made of atoms, philosophers believe it’s made of stories. If the latter group is right, then being a writer means contributing to the expansion and mere existence of our reality. If you think writing is your calling, the best you can do is to dedicate your whole life to searching for stories and sharing them with the world. Choose one of the cities from the list and make a major move in your writing career.