Anybody here ever been to a writer's colony? Neither JR nor I ever have. We've always been too busy trying to make money or having kids or taking care of them. Also, what's two weeks or four or eight weeks, really? If a person needs quiet and isolation to work, she probably needs a lot longer than that to get anything done. Anyway, I always thought, isolation is over-rated: I once spent a summer alone in Missoula, Montana, in an apartment with a mountain view, knowing no one yet, and wrote about five total pages of sheer crap.
However, for whatever reason, I've been thinking it might be awfully fun. For the first time, I think I might tolerate two or even three weeks away from our sons. They're awesome, but you know. When I was a teenager I spent hours and hours ALONE. Wow, that sounds just blissful, now. And though just a few weeks might not be enough to get a ton of writing done, it might kick something off.
Here's the scary part: What if you got into something terrific like, I dunno, YADDO or something, and then you spent the WHOLE TIME just sitting there, staring into space! And every evening at dinner in the Grand Hall, or whatever, you'd be sitting with your plate of rotini while all the other colonists talked about their Big Breakthroughs and how they just nailed that scene in Chapter Five. Maybe shop talk is a faux pas at colonies. I don't even know. But when I start my colony, out in the woods behind our house, it will be Verboten.
And sometimes I think that the main reason to try and get into a colony is for validation. Normally I would sneer at that -- who needs the approval of OTHERS? -- but heck, a little dollop of validation would nice, now wouldn't it?
What do you think? Are writers' colonies just an indulgence for the vain and idle? Or are they a valuable experience?