Every September I go to a writer’s colony.
Not because I planned it that way. I just realized this while preparing for my first residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, known among artists as VCCA. My two weeks there start today. Yup, today.
In September 2009, I spent five weeks at The Hambidge Center, my first artists’ colony experience. (That’s when I fell in love.) I returned there for two weeks in September 2010, at a time when I was feeling lost. And now I’m about to spend much of this September at VCCA.
Two weeks is the minimum stay at VCCA. But when I applied months ago, I still had a day job, and two weeks away was all I could manage.
Each time I go to a writer’s colony, I go out of my way to blog about it. Partly because a lot of you seem to be seeking similar experiences, and partly because there’s really not all that much online about what it’s really like at an artists’ residency. My theory is that’s because the writer, artist and musician types that frequent these colonies don’t spend a lot of time online.
Several writers I met at Hambidge and others I’ve connected with online have spoken highly of VCCA. But despite reading their page on what to expect, I don’t really know what to expect. I do, however, know what to hope for:
- To make significant progress on Book 2, a how-to guide to taking a career break to travel. Maybe I’ll even finish it. I’m leaning toward releasing this book on my own in a digital format, rather than seeking a traditional publisher.
- To connect with creative spirits who can teach me about writing, creating and living. Colonies have proved to be fabulous places to find these people.
- To enjoy some much-needed time away from the Internet and replenish myself spiritually. I’ll still be servicing my clients, but I’ve done as much work as possible ahead of time so I can focus on my book. And since my Internet time will be limited, this is a great excuse to escape the vicious circle of email for a while.
I’ll still be blogging — because that helps me process what I experience — so you can still have a dose of me several times a week if you want it.
Finally, a note about how I’m feeling: excited, but also nervous. It’s always nerve-wracking to go to a new place where you don’t know anyone (for me, anyhow). But each writer’s colony I’ve attended so far has helped me grow significantly as a writer and a person while facilitating an awesome bout of productivity, and I have no doubt that this experience will do the same.