Good news to start your Tuesday: The Hambidge Artist Residency Program has accepted me for a fellowship this fall!
That means I’ll spend five weeks writing in a cabin in the mountains of northern Georgia, part of a small community of creative thinkers.
The Hambidge Center was one of five writers’ colonies I applied to. Four rejected me. So I was happy as a dog eating an ice cube when a congratulations e-mail popped into my inbox on Friday.
Here’s the kicker: The program chose me for one of their emerging artist scholarships, which covers the cost of the program. (Some artist residencies are free, but this one costs $150/week.) That’s a big deal for me, since I’m living off savings and occasional freelance income while writing my first book.
As I explained in a previous post, a colony is a place where writers retreat to produce and inspire one another. Hambidge hosts not only writers, but also painters, composers, sculptors — a whole range of creative types. About 10 artists live there at any given time, rotating for two- to six-week stays. My five-week residency begins Sept. 1.
In this distraction-free environment, I’m hoping my productivity will soar. I’ll spend days writing in my studio — with breaks to enjoy trails on the Center’s 600 wooded acres — and join other residents for vegetarian (yippee!) dinners prepared by the program’s chef. Not too shabby, huh?
My only reservation: the private cabins don’t have Internet access. There’s wireless in the common area, but I won’t have a connection during the day while I’m writing. Normally I use the Internet to research; reference an online thesaurus; pull details from my online photos; and review my travel blog, which is serving as a skeleton for my book. Of course, I’m also distracted by e-mail and Twitter. So this might be a good experiment: Will I be more productive without the Internet? (Update: And no cell phone service. What have I gotten myself into?!)
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I was planning to finish a draft of the manuscript by the end of August and solicit feedback in September. This acceptance means I’ll need to revise my schedule. I’m planning now to focus on finishing Part I and II by Aug. 1, and hand those over to readers while I work on the final section of the book. I’ll spend my time at Hambidge completing Part III and revising. By the time I leave the Georgia mountains, I’ll have a finished book.