Saturday, April 21, 2012

How I Prepare for a Weeklong Writing Residency...

My Writing Space in my Room - Frida, fingerless gloves, sweetpeas...

I am getting ready to spend eight days writing.

I have a writing residency coming up where I'll be focusing on my third poetry manuscript.  I am so excited to go and oddly, I hope the weather turns ugly, so I can sit inside and write without feeling guilty for not getting my sunshine.

For me, getting ready means this--

1) Print out manuscript and all poems I want to include in it

2)  Pack a bag of poetry books that inspire me

3)  Research info I may want to have on hand when I'm revising my collection

4)  Do something outside --walk, hike, kayak, garden-- where I can consider my manuscript as a whole:

   a.  What shape does this manuscript want?
   b.  What are the themes of this manuscript?
   c.  If I were to have a sentence about this manuscript what would it be?  And do I really want to be able to say my manuscript in a sentence?
   d.  What did I leave out and what was I afraid to share or write about?
   e.  Where did I repeat myself?
   f.  What poems do I still have to write?
   g.  What title would bring this mss to another level?

My manuscript is also untitled right now, so I'm thinking a lot about that.

Also, we will be in a different apartment, so I'm hoping that works out.  My hope is that the new space will inspire new thoughts and new poems.

Here are some photos from my last writing residency--

Food & Drink for the week... Thank you Trader Joe's

Always good to know.

View from our Writing Studio



  1. I'm just a bit jealous of both your week and the stage of work you are at. I need to take a few days for myself, but I can't seem to get away from work these past few months. I am currently creating poems for my next "Springville" book. I have about 35 pages of poetry, plus a few stragglers, and I am feeling about halfway finished. I'd say I am a few months off from needing to start working on the manuscript itself, but I can't help but shaping as I go along. I can hardly wait until I have a solid manuscript base.

  2. Kelli -Do you choose the same place to go every year on your own? Or is this a residency you applied for? Sounds glorious!

  3. Justin--It hard to get away! hope you find time !

    Donna-- I've been here 2 other times with the same people so it feels comfortable. There is one other place I love, but it takes me awhile to get there (2 ferries). This place is 45 minutes from my house.

    I have applied here, and once you apply, it's easier to get in. There is usually good rooms or cabins available.

    I like how close it is to my home, yet, I feel very far away when I'm there.

  4. May you enjoy your residency and feel both productive and refreshed when you are home again! I have never done a residency, but it is something I would love to do. Unfortunately the ones I know about are too far from my home so the extra travel expense makes it very difficult. Do you have any suggestions for researching short-term residencies like the one you are doing?

  5. That's so exciting--good luck with your manuscript!


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