Glasgow writers! We’re a’coming for you! Our procrastination-busting, productivity-boosting writing retreats have officially arrived in your awesome – albeit a little rainy – city. And in case you don’t know already, here are five reasons why Glasgow is the bee’s knees if you’re a writer:
1. There are excellent people-watching opportunities
Glasgow offers so many opportunities to indulge in that most pleasurable of writerly activities: people-watching (a.k.a. justified nosiness). To be a writer is to be naturally nosy. Indeed, we actively encourage (polite, non-creepy) nosiness. How else are we going to find those ‘telling details’ eh? So here are three of the best Glasgow-vantage-points:
- Tinderbox, inside Paperchase on Buchanan Street: If you sit at a table by the window, you get a good view of the street below and you’re high enough up that you can take notes without looking like a weirdo. (Also, you’re literally sitting in a shop full of STATIONARY. Huzzah!)
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery: If you go up the big staircase (past the stuffed elephant and giraffe, and the tribal masks, and the sculptures), and then walk along past all the mini-galleries till you come to the balcony overlooking the main hall, you can lean against the stone ledge and watch all the people moving around below: perfect.
- Glasgow Central: If art galleries aren’t your jam, Glasgow’s main train-station is another great place for inconspicuously observing people from all walks of life – especially good for noting down details about how people walk and also the funny things people do with their faces when they’re bored.
2. There are coffee-shops a’plenty…
…which are great for reading books in, meeting friends to chat about things in, and – crucially, for us – getting away from the busy-ness of everyday life to write for a few hours.
In the city centre there’s The Project Café, Wild Olive Tree (a social enterprise café with amazing soup and savoury scones, and lots of twinkle lights), and the Waterstones café on Sauchiehall Street. In the West End, there’s S’Mug (they make a wonderful London Fog), Artisan Roast, and Papercup. And in Merchant City, Tinderbox on Ingram Street is always nice, as is Picnic (which also happens to be a lovely vegan café).
3. There are some great places to ‘walk it off’…
Writing is amazing – it’s great (no really it is). But yes, okay, let’s be honest: it can also be HARD. (‘Well hello there, horrible inner-critic-voice that always decides to show up whenever I put pen to paper – or fingers to keys – to try convince me that everything I have ever written, am writing, and might have been about to write is absolute tripe. Thanks for your continued input.’)
Sometimes we just need to push through the difficulty and keep showing up and trust that eventually – please, Lord – something half-way-decent will come out onto the page. (‘Hey, that book ain’t gonna write itself…’) But there are also times, when you’re in the middle of a writing-funk, that you need to stop for a bit – phewft, drop those shoulders – take a deep breath and maybe go for a wee walk to get out your own head. Breathe in the fresh-air. Pay attention to the rhythm of your footsteps. Take a break, and often a wee gem of an idea will come to you when you stop trying so hard.
Two good places to have walk in Glasgow are:
- The Botanic Gardens. (For the nature loving writer. There are greenhouses, trees, flowers, goldfish, the occasional squirrel…)
- The Necropolis. (For the gloomy, gothic, Heathcliffy writer. Here you’ll find cool Victorian tombstones, and a cracking view of the city.)
4. There are plenty of arty places to find inspiration…
Sometimes, if a walk won’t cut it, going to do something ‘cultured’ can be helpful for sparking your own ideas, and Glasgow has a lot of that. Culture I mean. You could go see an indie or international film at the Glasgow Film Theatre (the GFT – home to the Glasgow Film Festival). You could go to ‘A Play, A Pie, and A Pint’ in the Oran Mor (the play changes week to week, and it’s at lunchtime so excellent for still getting some writing done in the afternoon). You could go hear some comedy at The Stand. Or you could just go eat some pizza at Paesano (’cause sometimes you do just need to eat pizza).
5. …and even the landmarks are funny
Humour is essential to writing. Humans are funny, you guys. Life can be funny too (even though sometimes it’s more of a cruel, ‘ouch, haha, you got me there, Life!’ sort of thing). Obviously not all writing needs to be hilarious but it’s good to remember to lighten up sometimes. The Duke of Wellington statue – one of Glasgow’s most famous landmarks – is a great reminder of this. It’s a fairly average-looking statue (no offence, sculptor from the past) of a military guy on a horse… but it’s one of the most photographed statues in the city because Wellington almost always has a traffic cone on his head. It’s a thing. Glaswegians like to laugh. They don’t take themselves too seriously. And maybe we shouldn’t either…
P.S. BONUS: Yet another excellent thing about Glasgow – our arse-kicking writing retreats, which’ll be running on the last Sunday of every month from June. Tell your friends! Sign up here.