Think of a place where you can go and focus all your time on your own writing projects. Your meals are provided or easily accessible, your accommodations are probably in a picturesque place, and you can spend two weeks, six months, or a year in this place. Writing residencies sound pretty snazzy, right?
One of my goals as a writer is to attend a writing retreat or residency. There are different ways these are structured. Some are available by an application process only; require letters of recommendation, previous publication credits, etc. Some residencies allow you to work on whatever writing project you like, while others request a proposal and acquire ownership of whatever work you produce during the time there. Typically writers have to pay their own transportation to the residency, but each program is different. There are writing retreats that cover the costs of your meals, while others just provide free accommodations. I have not been able to find a retreat or a residency that will allow pets, so that would add to the “free” cost of a program since I would be paying to board my dog Ramsay while away. Also, some programs do not offer Internet access because they want writers to focus exclusively on their work. This would be a problem since I would lose income on my time away. (And we know I love to maximize my travel time by being able to work!)
I described the concept of writing residencies to my non-writer boyfriend last year after I received another rejection letter from another residency I had applied for. Wouldn’t it be great if I could have two weeks in this beautiful cottage out West where I could just write whatever poetry I felt inspired to write every day? I asked him.
Why don’t you just do it? Make your own and go. He responded.
Hm. The thought hadn’t occurred to me. But it’s great to get accepted to one and put it on my writer resume, I offered as a reason.
Who cares? Why don’t you just do it? And you could bring Ramsay. And pick a place with Internet.
Hmmmm. He’s right. Why not?
While I have yet to pick the place, I wanted to pose concepts to other writers: Why wait for a writing retreat or a residency? What would your ideal retreat be like?
For me, my ideal retreat would include Ramsay and Internet as mentioned above, so it would need to be within a comfortable driving distance of North Carolina not in too desolate an area. I would prefer a location in the mountains, like a cottage by a river—one with a kitchen so that I wouldn’t have to leave every day for meals. Pretty simple, right?
Really, why not?