In the mind of a writer (and most of us are slightly twisted) the expectations of a writer’s residency can be anything from dreamily expecting full funding, private accommodations, gourmet cuisine daily, the perfect community of artists, famous authors facilitating workshops – wait, wait, stop! You still have to compete, and be accepted before you begin listing the expectations of a writer’s residency.
All of the above aforementioned perks sound wonderful, and many of them are offered in many of the annual writing residencies offered in the United States. Most applications for residencies require quite a bit of preparation. Some even require the applicant provide a copy of their income tax (A Room Of Her Own Foundation). The most important key is in following the guidelines down to the most finite dotted “I” and crossed “T.”
So you might be asking what should be the expectations of a writer’s residency. The most important thing obviously is the gift of uninterrupted time to write and work on your skills as a writer. Of course funding is great. Some residencies are fully funded for writers, though the number of writers accepted is limited, and others are not fully funded. Some residencies include all meals, and others require writers provide their own meals. You will simply have to do the research.
What should be one of the most important of the expectations of a writer’s residency should be to work amongst a community of respectful, professional, committed artists that are in attendance for the same reasons, to perfect their craft, and share ideas among colleagues.
It is best to research daily; almost monthly if this is an opportunity you seriously want to take advantage of. Yes it is competitive but the work involved in the preparation of the writing samples and other submission materials are worth it. One common thread I have among residencies is the question “what has the writer done for him or herself to advance his writing career?”
Obviously along with the writers expectations of a writing residency come the obvious advantages of attending. Most of the residencies are set in nature, away from noise. They are more of a retreat to put the writer in the best frame of mind possible to create.
Annually residencies are held in Washington State, Oregon, California, Florida, Maine, Vermont, Colorado, Arizona, and the list is endless. Some of the residencies are held at ranches, cottages, even colonies such as the Millay Residency. It is a glorious, glorious blessing for a writer to be selected for a residency. If this is your dream, aim high, prepare like you are preparing to receive a Nobel, and then await word of acceptance. You will fine as you begin to examine your thoughts on what you think the expectations of a writer’s residency will be, you will also find yourself in a place that includes the feelings of fearing competition, and hesitancy to share one’s work. You can’t be thin skinned in this business so cowboy or cowgirl up and get ready to apply. Your quiet spot in the woods to create your bestseller awaits you.