I do my best work on planes in economy seats. I do my best thinking waiting in the line at the post office. We all Get More Done in unexpected places, where the contrast flicks us into inspired action.
Which is why it was pretty cool to be in New York for two weeks finishing my next book. Which, by the way, is a follow-up to I Quit Sugar – let’s call it IQS#2 for now. I was in New York, by the way, to sign a book deal with an American publisher – let’s say it will be coming out in May 2014 for now.
I didn’t shop, I didn’t sight-see. Most days – when I wasn’t shlepping between publishing houses with my agent Laurie – I was in my hotel writing. I kind of loved that right outside there was so much going on that I was missing out on. The contrast spurred me on. It’s like being in Paris when all your belongings have been stolen. Or in the best croissant bakery in the world with a gluten intolerance. (I’ve done both.)
I found the rhythms of the hotel comforting. I felt like The Major in Faulty Towers. And I got work done, happily and calmly.
New York – in fact, most big cities – are places where working solo in public places is a really comforting and comfortable thing to do. Paris has a legacy of it with the existentialist philosophers doing all their best work in cafes. Have you read JPS’s The Waiter? British writers went to Milan at various points in history and sat in the aperitivo bars to work. The focus can quieten the freneticness. The absorption can bring you in closer to yourself. For in big cities it’s very easy to lose yourself. Again, contrasts.
Anyway, I thought I’d share some of the places where I wrote and got close.
A Writer’s Guide to NYC
* The Highline. This is a great writing hotel. But also a great eco hotel. And a quiet hotel. Oh, and a great slow foodie hotel. Thus ticking off the four points I look for in a joint.
On my recent New York trip to do pre-publicity for the US edition of I Quit Sugar I stayed here for almost a week. The building is epic – taking up an entire block in a quiet pocket in the meat packing district…just under the High Line, which in Summer is one of the best places