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  • hknovielli

Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow

Last month, I spent two weeks at Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This was my first residency and I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was excited to go and be a writer first for a couple of weeks. I needed a reset on my writing, and I wanted to work on some story ideas that have been kicking around for a while.

I can’t say enough good things about the experience. I absolutely loved it. The staff is so nice and so dedicated to their writers. They’re happy to chat, but also totally understand if you’re just popping in to make a sandwich and then get back to work.

There are eight suites split between two houses. The main house has the office, a large gathering space/dining room, and the kitchen. There’s a kitchen in the second house, too, but it’s not used as much. I was in the Diana Rivers suite, and it was perfect. Each suite has a separate work space with a desk. There are comfy chairs and beds. There’s a coffee maker and fridge (and some suites have a microwave, but I didn’t).

In the Diana Rivers suite, the workspace is in a separate little room and it’s all windows overlooking the park across the street. The bedroom space also had a huge window overlooking the park and it was so lovely to read in the chair by the window and watch birds or the sunset.

Dinner is made by the amazing Jana every weekday evening. She makes delicious meals and desserts. The kitchen is stocked with breakfast things, lunch things, and leftovers. I ate so well over the two weeks and could not believe what a lucky part of the residency the meals and food were.

I spent the two weeks working on some short stories. I got two written. And I worked on a third one three different times and three different ways. I think I have the structure for it, but it wasn’t working so I put it down for a bit.

I also got an idea for another mystery and came away with pages of notes. I’ll eventually get that all outlined and worked out. I should probably finish the edits on the cozy I’m working on first, though.

One of the best parts of this residency was meeting the other writers. I had no idea what kind of writers would be there or how serious they would be and was afraid they’d all be well further on in their careers. What a mix of people working on such a wide range of projects! There were people working on fiction, memoirs, more academic nonfiction… so many interesting people and dinner was a lot of fun every night talking about all sorts of different things.

Eureka Springs is a cute little town and I had fun exploring a bit. There are some great parks and hikes. The Carnegie library is small and adorable and jam-packed full of books. Stopping there to check out some books was one of the best parts of the week.

These two weeks were an absolute joy and focusing solely on writing for a while was so nice. I’m a lot of things­­—mom, wife, employee, writer—but usually all those things in the same day and rarely writer first. It just doesn’t seem to work out like that, even when I’m very focused on writing. And I don’t know that I’d change most of that anyway. But being a writer first for two weeks was a really great way to refocus and reset my writing. I think I’m set up for a good year and I’m excited for my projects.


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