What is a Writers Residency and How Do I Find One?

Article by Wendy McCance









Writing is hard work. Writing can be even more challenging when you are trying to work it around your everyday life. When you have kids to take care of, errands to run and a house to clean the distractions from sitting down and writing can add up quickly. This is when a residency could be an incredible solution.

Picture being in a beautiful, quiet environment, other creative people surrounding you with the same goal in mind – to write that book that has been long sitting in your head waiting to come out and tell its story. Residencies are retreat experiences where creative individuals can get away from their everyday life and focus on their work uninterrupted.

If this sounds too good to be true, you will be stunned to learn that many times these residencies are offered for free or at a very small cost to you (possibly just the plane ticket to get there). Even more exciting is that many residencies are set up in dream locations like Argentina, Italy, Martha’s Vineyard and Whidbey Island. Can you imagine the creativity that would be sparked as you look out over a mountain range, or take a walk down by the ocean?

How could a place that gives you the opportunity to focus on your work, in a beautiful location, with the ability to share ideas with other creative individuals be free? Well, many of these residencies are hosted by non-profit organizations.

Each residency is a little different. Some residencies are set up to give you the most solitude available. You might have your own small cabin or private room.  Some residencies offer writers the opportunity to rub elbows with well known authors, you might be expected to participate in a community experience with the other writers or you might get accepted into a residency where you are on your own throughout your stay. There might be a chef on staff serving you meals or you might stock up on groceries and do your own cooking. As you can see, there are a great variety of residencies and what they offer.

If you are interested in a residency, there is an extensive application process you will need to go through, but understandable considering what is being offered. Submissions may vary but generally you will need to submit a sample of your work, a resume, letters of recommendation and you will need to write a statement describing why the residency you are apply for is right for you. There is usually a small fee to apply, but if you are accepted, many residencies cover room and board. You will usually be responsible for travelling to and from the location though.

Where to look for residencies?

Here is a list of residencies to get you started:

27 Amazing Writing Residencies You Should Apply for This Year

Poets and Writers Conferences and Residencies Database

Alliance of Artists Communities Residencies

20 Writing Fellowships You Should Bookmark Now


More information on applying to a writers residency:

5 Tips for Applying to Writing Fellowships and Residencies

Applying to a Writers Residency: An Expert Breakdown of the Requirements

How to Get a Writers Residency

9 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Writing Residency

Applying for Residencies

Have you ever been lucky enough to be accepted for a residency? What was your experience like? What tips can you share with other writers looking to fill out an application?

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com
Wendy McCance

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