January 28, 2015

Writing cross-country with the Amtrak Residency Program

Posted by Laura Guertin

In June of last year, I wrote a blog post on Finding that dream space for summer innovation & productivity.  Interestingly, one of the “spaces” where I am incredibly productive is the Amtrak Station (30th Street Station) in Philadelphia.  My productivity continues when I hop on a train, and Amtrak has now created a structured program to benefit writers looking for a “dream space” on rails.

Welcome to the Amtrak Residency Program (website), where Amtrak provides an “inspiring environment” on long-distance routes, along with sleeping accommodations and meals.  More than 16,000 people applied (see how to apply) for the 24 spots that were awarded to the Amtrak Residents.  Watch this video from CBS This Morning on October 23, 2014, to hear from one of the writers and to see a snapshot of his experience:

Of course, if you are not a fan of traveling on the train, there are other opportunities and locations to get your creative juices flowing.

Would I love to travel cross-country on a train?  Absolutely!  However, I would probably be distracted by the beautiful landscapes and landforms instead of making significant progress on my writing.  But it is a tempting idea for consideration for my next sabbatical…  Besides, imagine the opportunities for education and outreach if Amtrak started putting geologists on trains!

Unfortunately, we don’t all have the time and opportunity to escape and be productive on the train.  So until my next Amtrak trip, I guess I will keep on writing wherever I can.