Eight Incredible Writers Residencies


Residencies are the ultimate dream for a writer. To spend weeks, sometimes months, away from society and technology to focus solely on the work – that’s the stuff of fantasy. Given time to reflect, decompress, be alone with your thoughts, and connect to nature, what could you accomplish?

Here are 8 of the most dreamy retreats out there.  Be prepared for private cabins, elaborate mansions, the South of France, endless hiking trials, chef prepared meals – and almost all at no cost to the writer. Enjoy.

Caldera Residencies

CalderaWhere: The foothills of the Cascade Mountains!!! (Oregon).

How Long: Site says January-March. Unclear if residents stay this entire time.

How Much: A $35 application fee. Residents pay for their own travel, meals, and additional expenses (i.e. materials they’ll need to complete their work). Caldera may give stipends to residents, depending on funding.

About: Writers provided with private cabins complete with sleeping loft, work area, kitchenette, bathroom and porch. An incredible space called the Hearth Building is available as a communal work environment.

Willipa Bay AiR Residencyimg_no_name_1

Where: Sixteen acres in coastal Southwest Washington State.

How Long: A month.

How Much: No cost – excluding travel.

About: This is a self-directed residency for established artists (writers included). There’s a communal lodge, as well as work spaces and residential cottages. Everything’s provided: meals, the beautiful lodging, and more nature than you’ll know what to do with.

Marthas Vineyard Writers Residencyre_writers_group

Where: Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard (Massachsetts), in a cozy former inn.

How Long: two-six weeks, writers choose length of stay

How Much: $300 per week, $10 application fee, participants must provide their own meals.

About: Nine writers at a time. There are “informal gatherings” like weekly potlucks, readings, and events. The rest of the time, you’re free to write on your own. Each writer has their own room which doubles as a writing studio, but everyone is welcome to work in common areas, too.

Writers OMI at Ledig Housecafbd719-fc2e-4491-a15b-9fd01a9c19b0.1

Where: on ten acres of land in Ghent, NY (Hudson River Valley region) overlooking the Catskill Mountians.

How Long: one week – two months (writers choose)

How Much: No cost – excluding travel. All meals provided by a local chef. Omg.

About: Daytime is for writing – quiet, independent time. Nighttime is communal, guest speakers are invited up, usually professionals from the New York publishing community. Ten writers at a time. There’s a Federal period farm house which acts as the main “gathering center”, a two story barn used as studios, and contemporary residence buildings.

I-Park Foundation Artists-in-Residence ProgramStudio

Where: Eastern Connecticut.

How Long: A month.

How Much: No cost – excluding travel.

About: This residency has a strong focus on providing a fulfilling nature retreat, too. They offer hiking trials, ponds, vegetable gardens, bonfires, outdoor showers. Chefs prepare the meals, and there are communal working/living spaces, as well as private bedrooms and studios for each artist. (Plus the studios are really cute lil’ houses.)

Brown Foundation Fellows Program at the Dora Maar House470119_330403963677808_45530611_o

Where: Just an 18th Century townhouse in the South of France.

How Long: Doesn’t specifically say, but it looks like about a month.

How Much: $10 application fee. Then, everything is paid for, including travel. Meals aren’t provided, but you are given a stipend of $50 a day.

About: Not a ton of info about day-to-day life during the residency. Which leads me to believe that they give you money, pay for you to get there, give you an amazing place to stay (private studio, bathroom, and bedroom) change your sheets, and in return, you write as much as humanly possible.

Hedgebrook Writers in Residence Programimgres

Where: Whidbey Island, 35 mi NW of Seattle.

How Long: 2-6 weeks.

How Much: No cost.

About: Women only!  Days are spent alone – each writer has their own private cottage. Nights are spent together at the Farmhouse, sharing a (chef prepared, local + organic) meal and discussing the day.

Yaddo Residencyimgres

Where: Saratoga Springs, NY

How Long: 2-8 weeks. Average stay is 5 weeks.

How Much: $30 application fee. No cost for residency, financial aid offered, based on need.

About: They provide residencies for almost 200 artists per year, up to 34 guests at a time. (They have the room – have you seen the mansion?) Each artist given a private bedroom, and all meals are provided. Yaddo is legendary, it’s been a community for artists for over 100 years.

What to Read This Week: Links for Writers


Here’s a roundup of articles relevant to writers.

A great interview with Jason Hall, the writer behind American Sniper. Turns out, he became friends with the film’s subject, Chris Kyle, and turned in his finished script the day before Kyle was killed.images

Woody Allen will be writing and directing a TV series for Amazon. Whoa. Story here.

Is Neil Gaiman sick of being asked, “How do you become a writer?” Maybe.

Here‘s a great blog post that works as an excellent pep talk. The writer talks about dealing with pain, failure, and how to stay positive.

Awards Stuff:

imgresWhiplash is an original screenplay by Damien Chazelle. So why is it nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars this year?

Selma was snubbed in a lot of key categories of the Oscar noms this year. Was racism a factor? Yes, this article says, but it wasn’t the only factor.

If you missed the Golden Globes, here are the high points – Tina and Amy’s opening monologue, and some of the most moving speeches of the night.

The Best Actress Category rarely overlaps with the Best Picture category at the Oscars, while the Best Actor category nearly always does. Article here.

A Few Videos to Watch During a Break from Writing


This Creative Spark series from the Academy is so fun to watch. You get to see inside the homes and offices of some of the top screenwriters working today, and get a feel for their process and how they approach their writing each day.

It’s nice to see these pros struggle with the same stuff we all do – most commonly, procrastination.

Michael Ardnt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) breaks down how to start you story off on the right foot, based on what he’s learned working for Pixar. With it’s cute animation, use of examples, and concise language, this video makes writing a screenplay seem just a tad less daunting.

If you’re feeling restless or uncomfortable at your desk, but don’t have the time or desire to walk around the block, try this quick yoga routine. You don’t even have to get up from your seat.

The Dialogue is a series of in depth discussions with Hollywood screenwriters. They’re long, informative, and available in full on Youtube. The writers involved are behind some the biggest hits of the past few years (X Men Day of Future Past, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hunger Games, Captain Phillips).

An encouraging quote directly to writers from Ira Glass.

If you can get through a Youtube meditation video without giggling/feeling silly, it can be a nice way to reset before your next writing sprint.

What to Read this Week: Links for Writers


Here’s a roundup of articles relevant to writers.

1. The Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship‘s submission period just opened. Here‘s an imagesinterview with the Executive Director answering every question you could ever have about it. Plus, she’s incredibly encouraging about the whole process.

2. Awards season scripts are available online now


3. Chuck Palahniuk implores writers to delete “thought” verbs from their writing. It’s a lazy short cut that stops better writing from happening. Check out this essay. It’ll make you rethink everything you’ve ever written. Yay. (Thanks to Scriptnotes for this link.)

4. Here‘s a list of movies directed by women in 2014. It’s worth glancing over – many of these are unfamiliar to me, but a few are in my favorite movies of the year (Obvious Child, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me).


5. Joan Didion’s favorite books – from a list she handwrote in her notebook. Fascinating to see the writers that influenced her.

6. A writer finds a roll a film from his teenage years while avoiding writing his novel (and the anxiety it brings him). He talks about his New York City upbringing, his first desires to be a writer, then uncovers what was on that roll of film. A great read from the New Yorker.

When Are Screenwriting Contest and Fellowship Winners Announced?


There are tons of resources out there detailing which screenwriting competitions you should enter and when the deadlines are, but I often find myself hunting down the answer to, “When will I know if I’ve won?!”

Here’s a comprehensive list of when screenwriting contests announce their semi finalists, finalists and winners. Their deadlines are here, too. Let me know if I’ve left any out.


The Fellowships.May-the-odds-be-ever-in-your-favor

Academy Nicholl Fellowships – deadline May 1

Quarterfinalists – August 1st

Semi-finalists – early September

Winners – Early October

CBS Mentoring Program – deadline May 1

Finalists Notified Mid-September

Disney ABC Writing Program – deadline May (exact date not specified)

On Facebook:

Finalists Announced in November

Selected Writers Announced in December

NBC Writers on the Verge – deadline May 31

Early September – Finalists Interviews

Writers selected by the end of September

Nickelodeon Writing Fellowship – deadline February 28

Semi-finalists – August 31

Finalists – September 15

WB Writers Workshop

All applicants notified of their status – mid September

The Contests.

The contests tend to have a lot of deadlines, where the entry fee increases the later you submit.

Blue Cat  – tons of deadlines. See link. 

Top 10% – February 15th

Quarter Finalists – March 1

Semi Finalists – March 15

Shorts Finalists – April 4

Feature Finalists – April 6

Joplin Award -  April 7

Cordelia Award – April 8

Shorts Winner – April 9

Feature Winner – April 10

Austin Film Festival – deadline April 20, late May 20

Second Rounders and Semi Finalists – First Week of September

Finalists – Early October

Winners – October 26th at the Festival

Slamdance early deadline April 8, latest July 29

Quarter FInalists – September 3

Semi Finalists – September 10

Finalists – September 17

Winners – October 15 at the WGAw Party

Scriptapalooza – early deadline January 6, latest April 29

Semi Finalists – Last Week of July

Finalists – First week of August

Winners – End of August

Beverly Hills Screenplay Competition – early deadline April 30, latest December 31

Winners and Finalists – January 31

Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest – early deadline March 1, regular May 1

Quarter Finalists – early June

Semi Finalists – mid June

Finalists – July 1st

Runner up – August 2

Winner – August 2

American Zoetrope – early deadline August 1, latest September 1

Winners and Finalists – February 1

ScreenCraft Fellowship – deadline December 15

Winners – January 30

Final Draft Big Break – early deadline April 30, latest July 31

Quarter Finalists – late September

Semi Finalists – October

Finalists – early November

Winners – early December

Grand Prize Winners – Febuary at the Annual Awards Event

I hope this has been helpful. Try not to stare at this list too long while you’re desperately waiting for that phone call or email saying you’ve won!


“One of the things I try to work with people who are procrastinating, scriptnotes-1400particularly if they’re perfectionists, is to get into this sort of benign relationship with their writing, because otherwise they’re demanding their writing mirror back to them that they’re great.

They’re demanding their writing mirror back to them that they’re entitled to be a writer. You know, your words can’t take the weight of that. That’s way too much weight. You want your script to validate your leaving Dayton, Ohio to become a screenwriter instead of going into your dad’s pharmacy business. There’s no screenplay on earth that can do that for you.”

-Dennis Palumbo, former screenwriter, current psychotherapist

10 Things You Need To Know About Coworking

10 Things You Need To Know About Coworking

Originally posted on Thought Catalog:

All over the country spaces are launching with the subtext of being collaborative spaces tailored for startups, small businesses, and freelancers (of all varieties). Here’s why working at a coworking space is better than a coffee shop or your couch.


If you have ever worked out of a home office, you know it can get lonely or unproductive. Some people find having a routine or going to a coffee shop work really well but what if you need to take a long meeting or private call? Joining a coworking space gives you the professionalism of an office with meeting rooms and private spaces, but the comfort of a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.


Coworking is about community just as much as it is about space. Most coworking spaces are tailored to different personalities or businesses making it easy to work, learn, and…

View original 446 more words

Six Week Spec Update!


So, I’m right in the middle of this Six Week Spec thing. Actually, I’m well into the second half.

And it’s really interesting. I think Geoff put it in place to not only see if the ten writers he selected could complete this feat, but how we do it. What we learn from the experience. How we navigate the panic and stress that the deadline creates. And I don’t want to speak for him, but I feel like the main goal of this is not to write a masterpiece, but to just write and complete something. The process seems to be more valuable than the finished product. At least, it is for me.imgres

It’s been really nice to have a deadline. And it’s a strict one: I’ve told friends, family, and the internet that I’m doing this, giving me absolutely no choice but to finish. So I’ve been writing more than ever. And although I’ve heard this a million times, now I know it to be true, the great secret is: just get something on the page. If I’m stuck, or don’t feel particularly funny or creative – who cares. I just write the scene even it’s the worst version of it, because having something to edit and work with is leaps and bounds easier than staring at a blank page. And because of this accelerated writing period, I’ve had to KEEP GOING no matter what. A couple times, I reached a point where I know I would’ve gotten frustrated or discouraged and given up, had I just been working on this script in my own time. But I kept going. And what it’s allowed me to let go of, is that fear of the work being bad. I don’t mind if the first draft of this thing isn’t the best thing I’ve ever written, because once I have a draft done I have an eternity to refine it into something I am proud of – I plan on working on this well after the six weeks is over.Script-pile-160x300

I’ve learned what I need to do to get the writing going. It involves blocking the internet, putting on some non distracting tunes, and freewriting before I begin on 750words.com – this helps me get my thoughts together, and really hone in on what is going to happen in my upcoming scenes.

One thing that I feel almost… guilty about, is that I work in pretty much a haven for writers. theOffice is a shared quiet workspace with ergonomic chairs, coffee, wifi, and silence. It’s the most comfortable, least distracting place to write on the planet, and I would not be feeling as positive as I am without it. Okay, I don’t feel that guilty. Very, very lucky though!

Let me know if you’re doing the Six Week Spec, or if you’ve done anything similar. I’d love to hear your experiences. If you’d like to hear how the other writers are doing, Geoff’s blog has our weekly updates, and search #sixweekspec on Twitter to see progress and hear stories from tons of writers that are taking on this challenge.



Happy Monday, isn’t this quote nice?

tumblr_nc9xsomgDW1tg7z2bo1_500“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”

     -Agnes de Mille


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