Henry James's work schedule in Venice:
After an early breakfast at Florian’s he would go — weather permitting — to the Stabilimento Chitarin for a salt-water bath, then spend the morning strolling through the city until it was time for lunch, usually at Quadri. Afterwards he would return to his rooms and work through the afternoon, occasionally wandering to the window to see whether ‘out in the blue channel, the ship of some right subject, the next true touch for my canvas, mightn’t come into sight’. How often such a vessel appeared he does not say, but the trips to the window seem to have been fairly frequent: as he himself was later to point out in Italian Hours, ‘Venice isn’t in fair weather a place for concentration of mind. The effort required for sitting down at a writing table is heroic, and the brightest page of MS looks dull beside the brilliancy of your milieu.’ The day’s work done, he would spend a couple of hours drifting gently in a gondola before taking another stroll, sitting at Florian’s listening to the music in the Piazza or, two or three times a week, calling on his friend Mrs Katherine de Kay Bronson…
For two sustained examples of a writer constantly tempted by new cities and places as the ideal milieux for writing, and being terminally distracted from writing once there, see Geoff Dyer's Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It and his Out of Sheer Rage.
More How we work.