20 Writing Residencies on the Pacific Coast

May 31, 2024

Stay close to home while exploring parts of the world (and yourself!) through a writing residency. The ones on this list vary in distance, requirements, cost, and environment. Grab a pen and paper, explore the links, and plan your next adventure.



1. Oregon State University in Shotpouch Creek, Oregon: application closes June 24

    • Their entry prompt, straight from the website is as follows: “Spring Creek Project is partnering with Grist to host the 2024-25 Environmental Writing Fellowship and Residency on the theme of Climate Fiction. The winner of Grist’s annual “Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors” short story contest will be awarded the fellowship to continue or expand on their climate writing project.”


2. Pine Meadow Ranch in Sisters, Oregon: 2025 application closes June 30

    • This residency would be perfect for the involved farm lovers. Here is how the Pine Meadows Ranch website describes its residency: “At PMRCAA, we strive to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures to find creative solutions to unique challenges. We hope to serve as a platform that fosters the exchange of knowledge between creative people from in- and outside of Central Oregon. Residents are asked to contribute to the ranch or the local community by helping around the ranch and/or by presenting a workshop or artist’s talk in the community. At the same time, residents are given time and space for their own artistic practice.” 


3. Centrum in Port Townsend, Washington: application closes July 1

    • Introverts and history will favor this residency, take a look at this blurb from the application:  “The campus has sweeping views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, miles of wandering beach and forest trails, and a peppering of World War I–era batteries and bunkers. Creative professionals from all disciplines and backgrounds can take advantage of charming cabins, studio spaces, and a rich array of resources. Residents can expect semi-rustic experiences in comfortable cabins or apartments.” Check out their website here


4. Playa in Great Basin, Oregon: application closes July 1

    • The more extroverted writers and those interested in the sciences may enjoy this residency more. Here’s a quick rundown of the typical PLAYA crowd from their website: “PLAYA’s residencies are open to the global community of scientists, naturalists, biologists, musicians, designers, sustainability leaders, social practice artists, musicians, visual artists, writers, performing artists, and collaborations and individuals engaged in interdisciplinary work or other forms of creative work. PLAYA is in a remote, rural area of Oregon with wide open vistas and opportunities for field explorations in rich natural settings.” 


5. Desert Rat Writing in Coachella Valley, California: application open now thru July

    • For the writers that do best under luxurious circumstances, a hint at what’s to come from their website: “In this resort-style residency, we offer one-week residencies for writers from across the United States. Located in central Coachella Valley in Palm Desert, CA–near Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs–writers can sit by our saline pool and work on new poems, start a new chapter, construct a manuscript or revise work. All weekly residents arrive on a Friday and depart the following Saturday.”


6. Holly House in Shelton, Washington: application closes August 15

    • This woman-only residency in the foothills of Washington warmly “welcome[s] applications for residencies from women in the arts–broadly defined to include visual, written, and performing arts, as well as other similar forms of creative expression–in entrepreneurship and in academic professions.”


7. Willapa Bay in Oysterville, Washington: 2025 application open June 15-August 31

    • If you’re looking for a longer residency, this is the one. Before committing, be sure to pay close attention to the application, starting with this excerpt from the website: “Willapa Bay AiR, situated on 20 acres in coastal southwest Washington state, launched its residency program in March 2014. We offer month-long, self-directed residencies to emerging and established artists, filmmakers, writers, playwrights, scholars, singer/songwriters, and musical composers. The Residency provides lodging, meals, and work space, at no cost, to six residents each month from April 1 through October 28 of the year.”


8. Pacific University in Portland, Oregon: application closes September 1

    • This one is a bit more niche with its requirements, but still worth checking out if you fit the criteria. Read through their website and see if it’s a fit, here’s a preview: “Admission is based primarily on the quality and promise exhibited in the application manuscript. An undergraduate degree is not required for admission to the Residency Writers Conference, nor are letters of reference, which our degree applicants do request and submit.”


9. Lucid Art in Inverness, California: application due October 28

    • If connecting with nature and spaces charged with creative spirit is what you need wro write, stay closer to home here. Enjoy the granola vibe, the first bite being from the Lucid Art website: “The goal of the Lucid Art Residency Program is to provide artists with a serene, retreat-like natural environment for creative exploration and inquiry into art and consciousness. The Lucid Art Foundation encourages exploration of art through multimedia, conceptual, ecological, and interdisciplinary approaches. The residency will provide a house to live in, located in the center of the Foundation campus in Inverness, California, and a 650-square-foot art studio called ‘the Ark.’ The Ark was built in 1960 and was a former studio of painter Gordon Onslow Ford and mixed-media artist Fariba Bogzaran.” 


10. Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes Station, California: application open June 1-November 1

    • This residency is for real-world writers who enjoy discussing real-world issues. The website states they “especially want writers of nonfiction books, long-form journalism, audio and documentary film. Occasionally we accept poetry, fiction (Young Adult/Adult Literary), screenwriting and playwriting, photojournalism, personal memoirs (as a vehicle to tell a larger story) and graphic narrative.” 


11. Bread & Salt in San Diego, California: application due December 31

    • This application is for 2025. The program requests that applicants make their own arrangements for lodging, if you’re in San Diego, all the more reason to apply. Writers can submit “up to 20 pages of poetry, 30 pages of prose or one to two full-length plays/scripts,” so get going!


12. Storyknife in Homer, Alaska: 2025 application opens July 1

    • This opportunity is only open to women-identifying adults over the age of 21. Their website states: “Storyknife provides women with the time and space to explore their craft without distraction. Every aspect of a residency at Storyknife is steeped in a profound generosity of spirit so that each writer knows she and her work are valuable. Storyknife residents carry away both this affirmation and a living community of women writers to assist their valuable work wherever they go.”


13. Bloedel Reserve in Bainbridge Island, Washington: 2025 application opens in July

    • A reserved residency for the reserved writer. Here’s what the website has to say about the experience: “The mission of the Creative Residency program at Bloedel Reserve is to foster creative thinking that is inspired by nature and that explores the connection between humans and the environment.” Applicants who have a focus on the natural world and environment are favored. Must be at least 21 to apply.


14. Dorland Mountain Arts in Temecula, California: rolling application

    • Check housing before applying to write. A quaint natural setting in the mountains, you could be surrounded by the birds and the breeze while typing away. Unlike other residencies in similar locations, Dorland has WiFi, AC, and cell reception. What’s stopping you from booking the place where you write your magnum opus?


15. Desert House in Joshua Tree National Park, California: rolling application

    • This is for the adventurous writers who don’t mind temperature fluctuations. Their website invites you with the knowledge that: “The one to four-week artist residency provides comfortable living and working space in the High Desert of Southern California near Joshua Tree National Park. Artists are encouraged to spend their time at the Desert House taking risks in developing new processes and to engage in the rich environmental and cultural contexts of the high desert.” 


16. Iris Project in Echo Park, California: rolling application

    • The program asks that applicants should have five years minimum dedicated to their craft before applying. If you have, dedicate five seconds to read this blurb from their application“The Iris Project Residency in Echo Park, California is designed to provide artists, curators, writers, and creative thinkers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines with ample space and time to explore and push boundaries in their respective practices. We firmly believe that new ideas and perspectives emerge when creativity is not constrained by production or material exchange pressures.” 


17. Future Farmers locations vary but home base is in San Francisco: rolling application

    • As the name suggests, this residency is agricultural focused. If you were in Future Farmers of America as a teen, continue on! Start with this from their website: “We deconstruct systems such as food policies, public transportation, campus design and rural farming networks to visualize and understand their intrinsic logics. Through this disassembly new narratives emerge that reconfigure the principles that once dominated these systems. Our work often provides a playful entry point and tools for participants to gain insight into deeper fields of inquiry=– not only to imagine, but to participate in and initiate change in the places we live.”


18. Sou’wester Lodge in Seaview, Washington: rolling application

    • A scenic and contained residency for those that need peace and quiet to write. Their website says they are “the perfect setting for a supportive and distraction-free retreat. The program suits all kinds of artists from writers, musicians, visual artists, craftsmen, cooks, engineers, and more. It is available year-round and generally runs from Sunday at 4:00 PM to Friday at 11:00 AM.” There are multiple housing accommodations to pick from, check them out here!


19. Wheeler on the Bay in Wheeler, Oregon: rolling application

    • Another residency offering peace and quiet on the coast, this one has “little town in a Hallmark film” charm. Your meet cute (and next big hit!) begin with these few sentences from their website: “Artist residencies are open to writers, and visual artists. Wheeler on the Bay Lodge is on the northern Oregon coast, just 85 miles west of Portland. Wheeler is a charming little town, with a population of only 414 residents. The vibe is relaxed, and no one is in a hurry. It’s quiet, especially in the off-season. This area has spectacular bay and mountain views and is a great place to commune with nature.” 


20. Colonyhouse in Rockaway Beach, Oregon: rolling application

    • Last but not least, this is for the sand and tradition lovers. Learn why this would be perfect from you through their website: “Oregon Writers Colony founders built the organization from a small group of writers who wanted a writing retreat at the beach into a nonprofit organization that offers support, networking, and a retreat house for writers. The annual Founders Day celebration at Colonyhouse each August celebrates the achievement of that dream. At the 2011 Founders Day Celebration, Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen dedicated a Poetry Pole on the lower lot at Colonyhouse. We encourage writers using Colonyhouse to place poetry at the pole.”

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