Write Here, Write There

Sign outside cafe in Edinburgh saying "J K Rowling never wrote here"

J. K. Rowling famously wrote Harry Potter in the cafés of Edinburgh (though not, apparently, at the one in the photo).

I was in Edinburgh too this weekend, with my days free while my wife was at a storytelling workshop, and I can recommend writing while pottering around the city. Awful pun aside, this is a really good way to get words down. I stumbled into it by accident, but I'll definitely do it again.

The key is not to spend too long in any one place. I found that the change in scenery helped. By moving on when I reached a natural lull in the typing, I didn't get bogged down or tired. Writing and exercise! Particularly in Edinburgh, which isn't the flattest of cities.

Walking's also great for thinking, of course, so it works beautifully: write, move on, have a think while walking, clear your head and get the kinks out of your body, find a new haunt, and settle down to write again.

It doesn't have to be just cafés, of course. That would involve far too much tea and shortbread. There are park benches, libraries, and museums.

The very best place I stopped was the Scottish National Gallery. Great art on the walls, a muted atmosphere, nice lighting, no background music, and very comfortable leather seats. I spent 45 minutes in front of Rubens' "The Feast Of Herod". Every time I flagged I could look up at the head of John the Baptist on a plate.

I think it helped.