Why You Need to Fund Your Own Writing Residency

I’m currently sitting in Lyon, France in a sweet little apartment in the Croix-Rousse neighborhood. It’s as charming as it sounds. Even though I applied for four different residencies all over the world, and was accepted for two and declined one, I still decided to fund my own trip abroad to spend some quality time with my book. It had nothing to do with a revolt against the system or a declaration that I can do things better on my own. My decision came from an answer to a question that I asked myself when I sent off all of the applications in the first place – What if I don’t get into a single one? The answer – I’ll go anyway.

So I have. Here’s why you should fund your own residency too.

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Who Says You Can’t Find “The One” on the Road?

The first time I met this hunk was in Austria in 2006 and he was going by the name knackerl. Since that time, I’ve looked back on him fondly, remembering the quiet mornings we shared with tea and smoked ham. Grief pulling at my heartstrings in the way we parted that last day. Me, chewing him out. Him, surrendering to my vicious gnashing. Not that he didn’t deserve it.

They say that an astounding number of people meet the love of their life in the supermarket. I had always dismissed this as nonsense until yesterday at Bellecour when I wandered into the monop express. There he was. Waiting. As if he knew our reunion was inevitable.

Of course, he’d assumed a new name in France. I couldn’t hold it against him. Didn’t we both deserve a fresh start? From the moment I put him in my basket, he sidled up next to the saucisson just like old times, and I knew that we were meant to be together. Ah, my little knackerl. How I have missed you.

Travel Writing Strategies: Part Three – What’s the Conflict?

We’re on a travel writing roll this month. The summer sun is making a comeback and it’s bringing along the itch to travel. While I don’t have a big plan (yet), I am looking forward to the next big adventure. And when I drag out my world map… ok, so I have a wall-sized one and it’s permanently on display. Like I was saying, when I’m gazing at the map, plotting a world tour, not once in my wanderlust-filled delirium have I envisioned the above train wreck.

Travel writing strategies include one of the biggest concepts in all writing: conflict. A lot of times, conflict gets a bum rap. It’s like, yeah, I know, there should be problems, obstacles, fractures, a pick-your-word for upset – but what exactly does that look like? Sometimes it feels like an amorphous idea when you’re dreaming up travel adventures and far flung escapades. It’s the last thing anyone wants to think about. The best advice I’ve ever gotten regarding conflict came from my thesis adviser. If you know what your character wants, you know what can come between her and getting what she wants. You can place many obstacles (conflicts) in her path. With travel writing, you’re the character and the crazy travel environment will insert lots of obstacles to getting what you want.

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