Writing residencies spoil people.
I just finished one month completely devoted to artistic creation. The schedule was up to me, when I wanted to work, for how long and on what. I was surrounded by other energetic artists who were on their own programs — some stayed up all night holed up in their studios, others spent afternoons baking cakes and cookies in the communal kitchen. I could go for long walks in the morning or take a yoga class at night. Aside from a weekly group check-in, the agenda was totally up to me.
The setting was magical (Woodstock, NY) and buildings historic (founded in 1902), but the greatest gift was time. I was taken from my day-to-day responsibilities and placed in an entirely new environment. My sole aim: To focus on the creative pursuit of my choosing.
It was luxurious.
And I realize, not entirely practical.
Two days before the residency ended, I panicked. How am I going to finish what I started? I am going back into the “real world” where tasks and duties and meetings and schedules and a full email inbox await. I understand residencies are temporal and intermittent and not everyone can take a month out of their life to do art.
A fellow writer at the residency had a invaluable answer I want to share with you.
One hour a day, she said, whenever it suits you. In the morning, in the evening, in the late afternoon. Set a timer and write. No more, no less. One hour. When that alarm goes off, you turn off, put the pen down, close the computer and walk away.
I can do that, I think. And so can you.
For this next month, let’s commit one hour every day to focus on our goals. To create. To write. To do the work, whatever that means to you.
Note: I’m not saying a finished piece in thirty days. We’re only holding each other accountable for clocking in time. Sixty daily uninterrupted minutes. We’re creating our own artist residency together, and it doesn’t require travel or communal living or time off from work/school/family.