Welcome my native NYC guest blogger, Brookelyn Mosley, as she shares what it's like to be a writer in NYC.
You know the opening scene of almost every Sex and The City episode where the camera pans in front of Carrie, capturing her in action? Her fingers clicking away on her laptop as she sits at the window of her brownstone apartment.
How about the moment she reveals that she's a writer, only a writer, who has fabulous friends. They all eat at exclusive restaurants wearing expensive designer shoes. Meanwhile, she makes under a grand at the paper she writes for as a columnist. *Insert blank stare emoji here.*
Well, I'm here to tell you that not every writer is living like Carrie Bradshaw in New York City. In fact, she's kind of a unicorn. Rent is not cheap, newspaper columns are not paying enough for a writer to solely make a living off of them, and those designer shoes were purchased off the clearance rack at DSW. You are, however, surrounded by the beauty of a city that literally never sleeps with people so creative you wonder if they are even human.
There's a good, bad, and a real side to living in New York City as a writer. Want to read about it? Here it goes…
New York City is one of the best places to live as a writer. Well, any creative person, really! This city is full of inspiration from the street art to the subway entertainment. In the essence of this concrete jungle is fertile ground for creativity to flourish. No matter the hour, there's always something to see. There are thousands of restaurants making it impossible for you to get bored or run out of new places to eat. Everywhere you go, especially in Manhattan, is scenic. From tall architecture to tiny bistro's the variety is insane. Speaking of variety, this city is a major melting pot of nationalities.
You'll fall in love (or lust) with someone you never thought you would. There's at least one person from every part of the earth. It isn't odd to attend a free event or two. And seeing a celebrity walk the streets like everyone else is as common as the pigeons who fly from tree to tree. You can literally travel the world with just the swipe of a MetroCard. I've lived in New York City since birth, Brooklyn to be exact. I've visited practically all the US cities and traveled to a few other countries. And each time I leave New York, I can't wait to get back that's how in love with it I am. My city is poppin' and that's a fact. But even for me, there are some days I give New York an epic side eye. Which brings us to…
Hot summers and cold winters. More than likely if you are moving to New York as a writer, you're moving into an apartment. And unless you are moving here already paid, be prepared to live on a tight budget. I'm talking stretch-a-dollar-until-it-gets-stretch-marks tight budget. In 2017 things are even more expensive, especially if you want to live iconic in Manhattan. Oh, if you do decide to live in Manhattan or anywhere in the metro area, be prepared for honking horns at 1 a.m., wailing sirens at 3 a.m., and garbage trucks that roar at the crack of dawn. And that garbage, whew! That garbage will have your stomach flipping in the summer because it is capital F.U.N.K.Y.
So, we've got smelling and hearing covered. Let's talk sight.
New Yorkers love their dogs. And a lot of them hate to curb them. So, if you like to walk blissfully without looking down, don't wear your good shoes outside if you get what I'm dropping, pun intended. To pay for things here, you need money and unless you've saved enough before moving to the city of dreams, you must get a shitty job for a bit. And prepare to deal with New Yorkers with attitude. Although we really are not that bad, the rudeness is not a myth. But we're not rude, per se. A lot of us are just cranky because we’re sleepy. With the honking and sirens we have to hear in the middle of the night we get little rest. And when the train driver is late for work from being tired, too, guess who else is late everywhere they go? Speaking of trains and stations, brace yourself to see your first rat. And here’s a spoiler: they are nothing like ratatouille. Those dreams you have of being a big writer in New York City, you've better protect it like it's your baby. Because here, the city is full of dreams that have been stomped, kicked, then smooshed into the concrete. There are people who go crazy, broke, and jaded living here as a creative person. These streets can be unforgiving for the weak at heart.
Depending on how enthusiastic you are about living in NYC you'll either take this as being the ugly truth or just the real. Ready? Here's the real. If you are a person with a pulse, New York City will be what you make it. You can't come here with your mind in the clouds thinking that opportunity is being handed out on the corners like flyers. You've got to hit the ground running the moment you drop off your bags in your new apartment. There is no rest until your goal has been met. It's expensive here, but you're creative so you must extend that creativity to your everyday life. As a writer living in NYC, I advise you to question every purchase you make. Learn how to cook and acquaint yourself with local green markets to get your produce on the cheap.
Be open to new experiences and your day not going as planned but still having a plan set in place, just in case. Forget everything you think you know about New York. It's not always a Sex and The City episode but it's not always a Law and Order: SVU episode either. What you've seen on TV is fiction. You’ll need to work a little harder to move into that brownstone and you must juggle a few writing gigs to make rent and to have enough to put food on the table. Despite the misconception, New Yorkers are friendly so make friends out here. But pick your friends like how you pick your fruit, understand? And yes, we've got pests and rodents crawling around but take precautions like cleaning up and putting things away to keep them starved and out of the place you rest your head.
You'll have rough days, but use that as fuel. Imagine the amazing stories you’ll create inspired by your bad day. The reason I stay so inspired in this city is because I'm constantly looking at any situation I find myself in as a learning experience. I use my bad days as inspiration to keep pushing or as a vehicle for a short story or novella. A lot of my stories originate from “what if” questions and my “what if” questions are heavily influenced by something I see or the conversations I overhear. And people in this city love to talk about any and everything on their cell phones making it easy to overcome writer’s block.
I may be bias when I say this but New York City is one of the best places to live as a writer. With stores that are open all hours of the night and people who have high dreams as tall as the skyscrapers that shape our skyline, it's impossible not to be attracted to living here. If you take anything from this, remember that success starts in your mind where you'll visualize that win before you get it. But here in New York where the survival of the fittest takes reign, only goal diggers survive. Get serious and make things happen. It's like they say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. So, whether you see life in New York for the good, the bad, or the real, make sure you view it through the lens of a boss.