Freelance content writers have opportunities that others do not. Freelance writing offers the opportunity to work in your pajamas, spend hours on Facebook for “research” and the chance to experience carpel tunnel syndrome firsthand.
While being a freelance writer is not always all it is cracked up to be, Amtrak has just introduced a new program that gives writers something to smile about—The Amtrak Writer’s Residency.
What is the Amtrak Writer’s Residency?
Essentially this program offers a win-win situation for both writers and Amtrak. Amtrak is taking applications from interested writers and will award a number of writers the opportunity to ride for free on a 2 to 5 day trip within the United States. This costs Amtrak next to nothing because it will be on undersold routes. The writer then has the opportunity to ride along, work on her book, blog or webpage and ideally will give Amtrak some great publicity along the way.
How Did This Get Started?
The idea of the Amtrak Writer’s Residency got its start in social media. Writers Alexander Chee and Jessica Gross tweeted their simple desire for Amtrak to offer free rides to writers—who could use the time en route to write with the beauty and peacefulness of a cross-country train ride to inspire them. Amtrak listened and sent these two off on a trial run of the program. It was deemed a success and now Amtrak has decided to further implement the program and allow other writers this excellent opportunity.
How Can Freelance Content Writers Apply for the Program?
Writers both experienced and brand new may qualify for a spot in the program. The application form is simple—it asks writers for basic information, social media profiles and a paragraph explaining why they would benefit from being awarded a residency position. The first batch of applications is being considered in late March, 2014, but Amtrak is dedicated to the program and will likely approve more writers in the future—especially if the program is successful. The application form is available on the Amtrak website in the residency section.
Whether or not the new Amtrak Writer’s Residency is something that sparks your interest, it is certainly a positive thing that a big company like Amtrak realizes how important it is to connect with writers. Now, if Starbucks will just start supporting my caffeine addiction with free coffee for writers, I’ll be one happy wordsmith.
Tracy S is a freelance writer and blogger who is writing her first book. When she’s not glued to the keyboard she has her eyes glued to a sci-fi book, her mind glued on her pool game or has glue on her hands while working on a home improvement project.