I first went to Edinburgh in 1988, with an impro show, and was amazed at how much the Festival offers – the shows, the late nights, the later nights, the no-shows. Since then I've been up at least a dozen more times, as a theatre writer, as a novelist at the Book Festival, as a performer and last year for BBC2's The Review Show. So, in the spirit of don't do what I do, do what I tell you, here's my guide to surviving August in Edinburgh.
Do go to bed. Whether you're viewing or performing, sleeping, at least every second night, is useful. Go for walks – it's not all about the shows. Edinburgh has stunning Botanic Gardens, the view from Calton Hill is lovely and they say Arthur's Seat is even better (not done it, too many late nights). If you're a swimmer, get out to Musselburgh for a North Sea dip.
Eat. Food is good and, like sleep, will keep you well – Edinburgh is a very different place for eating than it was in 1988. I'm especially fond of the clutch of Middle Eastern places in Nicolson Square. And while you're being sensible, be a little excessive too – go to something like an exhibition or a dance piece or really push yourself and see a play. Contrary to popular belief, it's not all about comedy. Finally, when you've stayed up too late, stay up a little later. Edinburgh sunrise is a glorious thing.
Stella Duffy's 'Medea', Assembly George Square (0131 623 3030) to 29 August
Stella Duffy's must-see
Apart from Medea, Josh Howie's 'I Am a Dick' at The Stand Comedy Club V and Michael Legge's 'Curse Sir Walter Raleigh' at Just the Tonic at The Store