Escapists Uncensored: Amtrak Residency for Writers

AmtrakResidencyI love to travel. I love seeing new places and exploring all the sights (and food) that new places have to offer. Sadly, Jesse doesn’t share my love of traveling. So all of my traveling right now has to do with LE and the various book conventions I can get to.

However that could very easily change. Amtrak just announced their Writer Residency program, which gives writers the chance to write while taking a train ride

#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment. Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on availability.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed by a panel. Up to 24 writers will be selected for the program starting March 17, 2014 through March 31, 2015. A passion for writing and an aspiration to travel with Amtrak for inspiration are the sole criteria for selection. Both emerging and established writers will be considered.

Residencies will be anywhere from 2-5 days, with exceptions for special projects.

Amtrak ResidencyIn all seriousness, the chances that I would get picked to participate in the program is probably microscopic, but a girl can dream, right? I mean, they’re only accepting 24 writers and there are hundreds of writers out there way more qualified than I am. If you’re wondering how I could even be considered, and this is the awesome part, they are considering bloggers as being professional writers (or at least emerging writers). At least according to an article published by The Wire a couple weeks ago.

In other words, how will Amtrak decide who to send on its residencies? In the short term, as the program gets off the ground, candidates will be selected on a case-by-case basis. [Julia] Quinn said that residents won’t “necessarily just [be] published authors, or people with multiple books under their belt, or [people that had] a publication tap them.” Amtrak, Quinn said, is open to people with a variety of writing backgrounds, because “the differences between a journalist, a published author, a blogger – those lines are continually blurred by the internet.”

Can you imagine…2-5 days with nothing to do but write? The reviews I could write…I could be caught up by the time I get home! Plus the chance to see part of the country without having to drive it or with kids distracting me? Yeah, my chances are probably not great for being accepted, but that’s not going to stop me from applying. I’ll take any chance to travel, especially if I get to spend the time writing for LE. If I were to be picked, I know which route I would want to do.  I’ve been to three-quarters of the continental US, but I’ve never seen the Northwest – Mt Rushmore, Seattle, Montana – that’s where I’ll go. I may not be able to get off the train for the Writer Residency program (at one point they were saying it was an immediate round trip) for any length of time, but just to be able to see some of those areas…yeah I’m dreaming about it.

What about you? Would you want to take part of the Writer Residency program? If so, where would you go and what would you work on? Is there a particular reason for your destination? Before you apply, make sure you check out the Official Terms. It seems there may be some troubling terminology depending on ones interpretation.


About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.