How neat – I love when social media is awesome (related post). What started as a simple tweet is about to turn into a permanent offering. According to this article on The Wire, Amtrak has been and will continue to offer “residencies” (free long round trip train rides) to writers as a way to show support and encourage well… writing.
This whole effort started after a writer tweeted at @Amtrak, saying “I wish Amtrak offered residencies for writers.” Surprisingly, Amtrak replied and set him and another writer up for a “test run” trip between Chicago and New York. In exchange for the free round trip, the social media team at Amtrak asked that they send a few tweets describing their experience and to also contribute to the Amtrak blog.
After the test run, the company did announce that it will continue to offer these types of arrangements going forward. In my opinion, a long train ride is definitely conducive to productive writing because it’s impossible to get distracted by household chores and such. I personally love getting work done in flight, so I can definitely see the appeal in this program.
So what constitutes a “writer”? According to Amtrak, all requests will be addressed on a case-by-case basis (I have a feeling having some sort of social media “klout” comes into play). As of now, there isn’t a formal application process as all residencies are currently being set up by Amtrak’s social media team.
Is this something you’d consider? Can being on a long train ride increase productivity/ignite the creative sparks/eliminate writer’s block?