Hello there, this one’s for you (and for me).
You and I are in the same boat. We call ourselves writers but we hardly do the kind of writing that stirs our soul.
We barely get the time to reach our own ‘words per day’ goal. We get busy chasing deadlines, numbers, likes, shares, and comments.
For those of you who don’t write at work but aspire to be writers some day, it is even harder. With your demanding 9 to 5 or 9 to 9, I know you barely have the energy to put pen to paper.
Writing for oneself, with the goal of being a published poet or author is often a full-time job and a full-time dream.
One must be able to invest significant time into writing while also experiencing new things in life. India has a few writers residencies, some of which I have personally experienced.
If you want to rejuvenate in nature and let your creativity flow again, these residencies are for you!
The process of becoming a part of these residencies is more or less the same. You have to apply first, and based on your writing samples and calibre, you will be one of the few lucky ones to get admission. Residencies last from 7 days to a month, depending on the kind you go for. A few residencies also include workshops wherein authors come in and conduct writing and publishing workshops. Some are just meant for aspiring writers to come together, write, collaborate, network, and breathe magic into their words.
1. Sangam House, Bangalore
Sangam in Sanskrit translates into ‘going together’. Located in Bangalore, they aim at bringing writers from all around the world together under one roof.
According to their website, they look for writers “who have published to some acclaim but not yet enjoyed substantial commercial success”.
This is also one of the few residencies that do not charge for lodging and food. However, the writer must arrange their own travel.
Sangam provides a variety of fellowships for young women writers, translators, regional language writers, non-fiction writers, and contemporary writing in Hindi to name a few.
All applicants are automatically eligible for suitable fellowships upon applying.
It is a self-working atmosphere, so the writers work on their craft the entire day and gather to meet, socialise, and exchange life stories at 8pm. At times, during a residency, Sangam is open for public events, which means that the writers can interact with and perform for the visitors as well!
2. Preet Nagar, Punjab
Preet Nagar, near Amritsar in Punjab, during pre-independence times, was known as the place where writers would meet. Gurbaksh Singh, who used to take care of Preet Nagar, also founded a publication called Preet Lari. It translates into ‘linked through love.’
Back in the day, it used to be a place where writers who wrote in Punjabi, Urdu, and Hindi came together to create art. They continue providing a safe space to not just writers but also musicians and other artists.
There are no strict guidelines for the selection process or internal workshops, which makes it easier for participants to use this residency for any kind of work they want to focus on.
If you’re just starting out as a writer and need some space for inspiration, the Preet Nagar Residency is the best place to get started!
Everyone who comes for the residency (for one week or six) is encouraged to help the community around in ways they can, whether by teaching or by participating in daily chores.
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3. Bound Writers’ Retreat, Goa
This is the brainchild of Tara Khandelwal, who herself is a writer and editor.
Bound is a space where people are bound by the love of writing and nothing else.
Their retreat happens twice a year in Goa (pre-covid times), and currently they are conducting workshops over the internet. Bound Writers’ Retreat is a great retreat to be at if it’s your first time because it’s more than networking and writing; it is also about training together, which is important for writers who are just starting out.
Bound organises retreats, literary events, cultural festivals, book launches- as you can see, they are all about taking writers ahead towards their dream! Ten to twelve selected applicants come together for physical virtual retreats. Bound also offers online classes on writing perfect college essays, editing and publishing, fiction for beginners and advanced fiction for novel writing.
Bound also offers editorial services like manuscript evaluation, writing mentorship, proposal edit, structural edit, ghost writing, book marketing and the like.
4. DumPhukt, Puducherry
DumPhukt takes place in the beautiful campus of Adishakti at the outskirts of Puducherry. A 15-day fiction writing residency that allows you to meet 15 aspiring writers from various walks of life, it gives you a chance to be mentored by 3 acclaimed authors. The schedule at DumPhukt is designed by the mentors and is meant to make you write as much as you can and in varied styles.
The workshop is activity-centred and experimental. They aim to offer a unique way to tap into the creativity of budding writers and make them write their stories with pride.
DumPhukt emphasises on group critiquing to improve critical analysis of your own work.
A guest instructor is also invited to conduct a session.They usually belong to the publishing sector to help the writers understand the process of publishing their work.
Such experiences are more fulfilling than they seem on paper.
5. Panchgani Writers’ Retreat, Panchgani
Set amid the beautiful Sahyadri Range, the Panchgani Writers’ Retreat is also a treat to one’s eyes!
You can go there to start your novel or finish your manuscript!
They also have optional poetry workshops, memoir writing, and yoga. There is something for everyone and you will only return refreshed. That is, if you don’t decide to stay longer!
The retreat takes place in two beautiful locations, so whichever city you want to explore – Panchgani or Bhubaneswar- you are in for some ‘home-away-home’ experience while writing your best work.
Panchgani Writers’ Retreat doesn’t follow any strict selection process, and all the internal workshops are optional, which makes it the best place for budding writers to explore different kinds of writing without any restrictions. Those who have a solid manuscript to work on get all the freedom they need to do so.
Not sure about you, but this list sure makes me want to pack my bags and go on a writing date with myself! If you are someone who wants to take a break from the chaos of life and go on a break just to write, then these residencies have all things wonder-full and beauty-full to offer to you. Go on, write that book! Be inspired and then write some more!
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