7 Free or Cheap Writing Residencies to Apply For in 2019

Focus on your writing, not on how much you’re paying for the chance to focus on your writing

Writers, like anyone, love our routines. But sometimes — oftentimes — routines lead to ruts and a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes we need to leave our schedule behind, along with our responsibilities. But this is easier said than done when your responsibilities and routines consist of working to pay your bills and keep the roof over your head. Artist’s residencies provide a place to write without the worry of making it to the next paycheck, where you can focus solely on your craft. Paradoxically, though, many residencies won’t offer that without first asking for your money, and lots of it.

That’s why we’ve rounded up seven residencies where you can break out of the daily grind without breaking the bank. At these low- or no-cost residencies, located around the world, you can have all the time and space you need to complete your next memoir or book of poetry, along with the inspiration of new surroundings and without the stress of giving away all the contents of your wallet.

Bogliasco Foundation

What better place to find inspiration than in a fishing village in the idyllic Italian countryside? The Bogliasco Foundation offers about 60 fellowships every year. These fellowships are free, though you do have to pay for airfare to Italy. Residencies last one month and include a private room, private work space and three meals a day — imagine all the free fresh fish you could be eating to fuel your creativity.

Vermont Studio Center

It’s not quite as exotic as Italy, but note that VSC is located in Johnson, Vermont, a town so far north in the Green Mountains that you might as well be in Canada — in a state that boasts of maple syrup just as delicious. Cost is $4,000 per month, but 90% of applicants receive financial aid and 150 fellowships are offered every year. Residencies include a private room, private studio, and meals.

Photo by McGhiever

Anderson Center

Have you ever wanted to write a noir fiction about an incident at a cereal factory? If the answer is either yes or no, spend a month in Red Wing, Minnesota at Tower View, an estate that was formerly used as Quaker Oats Company’s research laboratory. For better or for worse, a residency at Anderson Center won’t require you to conduct breakfast cereal-related experiments, but you will be offered a month’s lodging with dinners included and a private studio for writing.

Art Farm Writers Residency Program

At Art Farm Writers Residency, you’ll be asked to exercise more than just your mind (and the muscles required to type on your laptop). This residency offers indefinite lodging and studio space in return for 12 hours of maintenance per week, which could take the form of construction, carpentry, grounds work or office work. Here, that little voice telling you to stand up and look away from your computer screen every few hours takes material form.

Renaissance House Residency

This residency includes lodging, meals and lectures at one of three very different locations; Woodstock Area, New York, Palm Springs, California, or Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The program was created to give artists the space and time to create without worrying about anything else. The cost is $800 per week, but applicants are selected on a needs-blind basis and all accepted applicants will be offered enough financial aid to make the program possible for them.

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts

Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, the drive to this residency might remind you of the opening scene of The Shining, but you’ll get more writing done than Jack ever did at The Stanley Hotel (and hopefully less murdering). Your residency can last anywhere from two weeks to two months. There is a $40 application fee, but that’s the only thing you’ll be asked to pay.

The Studios of Key West

Do you need some warm weather to help get through your writer’s block? The Studios of Key West offers month-long residencies to about 35 artists every year, and they’re free (apart from a $40 application fee) if you can get yourself to Florida. They include a picturesque room in a cottage and space to yourself to write.

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