Yaddo, Dabba Do I!

I've seen you discuss writers conferences quite a bit on your blog, but no mention of artist colonies. Clearly, several weeks at a retreat with nothing to do but write is a wonderful opportunity for a writer, but how are these seen in the larger publishing world? Does the mention in a query of fellowships to colonies with highly competitive application procedures -- such as the MacDowell Colony or Yaddo -- get your attention any more or less than, say, publications in well-regarded journals? Your blog is wildly entertaining and a great boon to writers. Thanks for taking the time.

Writers Colonies! Miss Snark has heard such wild tales she almost wishes to take up the pen and apply.

For those not familiar with the concept: Writers retreats or writers colonies like MacDowell, Yaddo, and Hedgebrook are like going to a free hotel for writers. Nothing to do but write all day. Many of them do your meals too, or do meals cooperatively so you don't have to starve. It's also a great place to meet other serious writers. No editors, agents or snarks attend. Here's a link to a whole slew of them Artists Communities

You bet I pay attention to that in a cover letter. For starters, MacDowell, Yaddo et al are not first come first served. You have to apply -and the competition is pretty stiff. If you get in, that's akin to a literary journal publishing your work: someone read it and thinks you've got something to say in an interesting way.

It would be impossible to quantify "more or less". Sufficient unto the day to say if you won a fellowship to one of these places, it's definitely worth mentioning unless you have six prize winning novels you'd tell me about first.


Kitty said...

Miss Snark you've got one too many "http://" in the link.

AzGhostWriter said...

Well for our European friends they can visit all the famous communities in some really fantastic places.

Here's one link for the National Writers Union in Ukraine. They have super duper deals and vacation spots that will knock your socks off:


The first of these is the A. P. Chekhov Resort in the Crimean city of Yalta—the capital of Ukrainian health resorts. Prices for accommodations and three meals per day range from $7.50 to $15.00 per day.

Can't beat them prices either.

Miss Snark said...

Thanks kitty, those things get me all the time.

Word verification: snarkneedsmorecoffee

AzGhostWriter said...

Word verification: SnarkNeedsToTryGinInHerCoffee

Perri M. said...

Miss Snark,

Does participation in writing workshops such as Sewanee warrant a mention in a query letter?

I recently discovered your blog and am utterly hooked. Thanks so much for this valuable public service.

Now back to trolling the Snarchives...

Desperate Writer said...

So, I wonder if there are communities like these, except the format is more like rehab for procrastinating writers who have lost their formerly productive habits because of fear of more failure after recieving so many rejections....hmmmmm....

tcastleb said...

I went to Clarion, a well-respected six-week workshop for SF/F writers. It's not exactly considered an artist's colony, but we were there for six weeks doing nothing but writing and getting critiqued by pro writers. And yes it is a bonus to put something like this in a cover letter; it's a good way to show that you're serious about writing, and like our esteemed hostess said, when you have to apply and submit writing to get accepted to one of these, it means someone read your work and found you worthy of taking at least this step.