In March 2017, I was given the wonderful opportunity to stay a weekend as a writer-in-residence at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This visit was free, in exchange for sharing about my trip on social media, and blogging about it. Therefore, this could be considered a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
I started 2017 with several writing goals I wanted to accomplish, but tired and frustrated, and not sure how I was going to get the mental reset I needed to achieve those goals. My trip to the Writers’ Colony could not have come at a better time.
I’d learned about the Writers’ Colony several years before, I think at the first Ozark Creative Writer’s Conference I attended (back in… 2011, I think?) I’d always wanted the chance to visit, and while their non-fellowship rates are very reasonable ($75/night, which includes all your meals, and a $25 one-time cleaning fee) it was still just too much to work into the Loper One-Income Budget.
To say I jumped at this chance would be putting it mildly.
I’ve been to writing conferences, and on writing retreats with the Ferrets. This was my first ‘solo’ writing retreat, and I can’t wait to do it again.
While I say ‘solo’ writing retreat, that doesn’t mean I was alone by any means. I knew most of the other writers-in-residence who were there the same weekend I was, and we all stayed in the lovely Writers’ Colony guesthouse at 505 Spring Street. I was able to carpool with the lovely Heather Davis, and we ended up being the first ones to arrive for the weekend. Our other companions were Mari Farthing, Marisa Mohi, and Bethany Stephens.
I snagged the Muse 4 room, and it was soul-soothing for this stuck-in-the-city country girl.
The first night, the Writers’ Colony was hosting their monthly ‘Poet-luck’, which is basically what it sounds like. A potluck with a side of words. Or is that words with a side of potluck? Really, it works both ways!
Before we talk about the words, though, we need to talk about Jana. Bethany is absolutely correct about Jana’s bread being addicting. That giant loaf she’s holding in the picture is an olive bread, and there wasn’t much of it left at the end of the night. I think she made it to go with vegetarian minestrone (if I recall correctly). Both were great, but bread will get me every time. Especially still-warm bread. Mmm.
Now that you’ve met Jana, our wonderful dinner cook, we’ll move onto the words.
This was the most terrifying part, for me. I’ve done public speaking before (I was in 4-H in high school, so public speaking was kind of a Thing) but… this was the first time I read my own fiction work aloud to an audience.
I read a bit from Catalyst, and while the audience was definitely more receptive to the non-fiction and poetry works read by my fellow residents, I got some well-appreciated feedback and compliments.
Once that first evening was finished, it was time to get a good night’s rest and tackle writing projects in the morning. And I made quite a bit of progress there, and mostly kept my momentum going, especially on The A-Zs of Worldbuilding.
Now I just need to regain my momentum on Catalyst.
Maybe what I really need is another visit to the Writers’ Colony (and Ermilio’s) with this fantastic group.
If you’ve lost your inspiration, or are just struggling for time to write, a trip to the Writers’ Colony is definitely on the list of possible cures. For those with tight funds, keep an eye out for their fellowship offerings so you can apply!
I’m so ready to go again!