100_0818Writers need nurturing. They need time, space, sunlight, and fresh air. They need quiet. And, once in a while, they even need to eat.

Writer’s retreats provide an opportunity to develop your skills, receive feedback if desired, make progress on a particular project, or recharge creative energies. There are many varieties of retreats; natural settings, rustic cabins or artistic colonies, instructional, or isolated.

If you are planning a retreat, here is some advice on how to make best use of your writing retreat.

  1. Use this time to experiment with your writing and indulge yourself in your ideal writing environment.
  2. Identify your goal. Hit a certain mark or deadline? Finish a draft, edit a manuscript, reach a target word count? Or, perhaps your goal is to take a break from distractions and daily grind that limit your writing progress. Maybe you are looking to experience quiet and peacefulness while experiencing a supportive artistic community. Any of these goals are fine, but it is important to identify your goal in advance and let your other life commitments recede during the retreat.
  3. Enrich yourself: use this time to read, listen to music, go for walks, or whatever you think might be a part of your ideal writing lifestyle. A retreat can restore your energy or renew enthusiasm towards writing endeavors.
  4. Give yourself permission: sometimes people find themselves staring out the window at the rolling hills or a tranquil pond, catching up on sleep or making progress on their ‘to-read’ lists. Any of these things are okay. Give yourself permission to do whatever you need. If others want to socialize and be together, but you prefer solitude—do that. Do whatever is right for your own personal needs/goals.

Here is a  list of writing retreats and residencies. Many more are listed at the Poets & Writers website through their Conferences and Residencies Database. They also list upcoming deadlines for conferences, retreats, residencies and competitions at the back of each magazine as well as a special writer’s conference section in their March/April issue annually.

Djerassi – Deadline 3/15/15. Djerassi Resident Artists Program, 2325 Bear Gulch Road, Woodside, CA 94062. (650) 747-1250. Judy Freeland, Residency Coordinator. judy@djerassi.org (Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Month long residencies, mid-April through mid-Nov. Includes lodging, meals, and studio space.)

Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts – Deadline 3/1/15. Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, 801 Third Corso, Nebraska City, NE 68410. (402) 874-9600. Pat Friedli, Assistant Director. info@khncenterforthearts.org (Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction. 2-8 week residencies from July 6 through Dec 18. Includes lodging, studio space, and $100 weekly stipend.)

MacDowell Colony-Deadline 4/15/15. MacDowell Colony, 100 High Street, Peterborough, NH 03458. (603) 924-3886. admissions@macdowellcolony.org (Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Up to 2 months residency Oct 1 through Jan31. Includes a private room, workspace, all meals. Travel aid and personal expense grants available based on need.)

Norman Mailer Writers Colony – Deadline-4/18/15. Norman Mailer Writers Colony, Administrative Offices, 1841 Broadway, Suite 812, New York, NY 10023. (646) 374-3939, ext. 1 (Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Three week residencies, mid-July through mid-August. Includes lodging and workspace.)

Voices of the Wilderness Residency – Deadline 3/1/15. Voices of the Wilderness Residency, P.O. Box 129, Girdwood, AK 99587. (907) 754-2318. Barbara Lydon, Coordinator. blydon@fs.fed.us (Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Retreats 7-9 days from June through August. Residents paired with a US Forest Service Ranger and assist with research, fieldwork, and other light ranger duties. Camping equipment, food, and travel to and from the fieldwork site is provided. Transportation to and from Alaska is not included. Residents are expected to donate one piece of creative work and provide one presentation related to the project.)

Doe Branch Ink – Rolling Admissions. Doe Branch Ink, 2221 Doe Branch Road, Marshall, NC 28753. (919) 490-1558. doebranchink@gmail.com (Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. July through Sept, Nov through May. Includes lodging but not meals or transportation. Ranges from $400-$1,000 per week.)

Edward F. Albee Foundation “The Barn” – Deadline 3/2/2015. Edward F. Albee Foundation, 14 Harrison Street, New York, NY 10013. (212) 226-2020. Jakob Holder, Executive Director. (Visual Art, Plays/Screenplays, Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Memoir, and Journalism. Residencies 4-6 weeks, mid-May through mid-Oct. Room and studio space for visual artists provided, does not include travel, meals, or other expenses.)

Elsewhere Studios – Rolling Admissions. Elsewhere Studios, P.O. Box 926, Paonia, CO 81428. (970) 527-3249. info@elsewherestudios.com (Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Residencies 1-6 months, cost between $500-700 per month. Housing and workspace provided.)

Hambidge Artist Residency Program – Deadline 4/15/15. Hambidge Artist Residency Program, P.O. Box 339, Rabun Gap, GA 30568. (706) 746-7324. Debra Sanders, Office Manager. center@hambidge.org (Residencies 2 weeks-2 months, $200 per week, includes lodging and some meals. Scholarships available.)

Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency – Deadline 45 days prior to the desired residency dates. Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency, P.O. Box 1041, West Tisbury, MA 02575. noepecenter@gmail.com  (Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Residencies 2-6 weeks, $300 per week. Includes lodging; residents responsible for transportation and meals.)

Millay Colony for the Arts – Deadline 3/1/15. Millay Colony for the Arts, 454 East Hill Road, P.O. Box 3, Austerlitz, NY, 12017. (518) 392-3103. Calliope Nicholas, Residency Director. apply@millaycolony.org (Poetry, Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction. Includes room, studio, and meals.)

Ragdale – Deadline 5/15/15. Ragdale, 1260 North Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045. (847) 234-1063, ext. 206. Regin Igloria, Director. r.igloria@ragdale.org (Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-Fiction. Retreats 18-25 days. Private rooms and meals provided. $35 per day. Financial aid available.)


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