I’ve recently returned from my first ever writing residency and let me tell you, I’m hooked. I was awarded a residency by the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony (in Temecula, CA) who hosted me in the adorable little cabin pictured below. I was all by myself with nothing to do but work on my craft for nearly two weeks. Amazing!
Prior to this getaway I’d researched writing residencies and kept hearing the same productivity equation: Two Weeks in a Writing Residency = Two Months of Work in the Real World. I DID NOT BELIEVE THIS. But then I found myself at Dorland with no outside interruptions. No television, no internet, no humans or pets to care for, and no laundry waiting to be folded. I didn’t plan a meal around anyone else’s needs or tastes. I ate when I was hungry. I slept when I was tired. And I only cleaned up after one person–me!
The result: in those two weeks, I got AT LEAST two months worth of writing accomplished. I’d brought a very tangled novel draft with me and hoped to work through development issues. Not only did I complete that project, but I was able to move on to creating a new scene list and begin the second draft. I also read three novels, read several short stories, edited three of my own short stories and started working a new one (inspired by my beautiful cabin view). I hiked every day, meditated, napped, visited the nearby wine country, shopped for antique books in Old Town, and took myself out for ice cream. I returned home rested and refreshed, ready to work at a new pace for the rest of the year.
If you’ve got a writing project that needs uninterrupted attention, think about applying to one of the many writing residencies available across the US. I found Dorland through Poets & Writers magazine, but even a quick Google search will net you a long list of opportunities. Expect a lengthy application process, similar to applying for grant fund opportunities. You’ll need to submit a specific project plan and sample pages of your best work. Also, have at least two industry-related references and a statement about why the residency you’re applying for is a good match for your work. If yore interested in the darling little cabin pictured below, check out the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony’s Residency page here :)