There are probably technical definitions that explain the difference between the two, but for this blog I'll treat them as the same thing.
Retreat/Residency both mess with our routine. I work on my writing whether I'm at home or away. What makes this so different is something I can't get at home and that is NEW. We need NEW to inject vitality and hope into our art.
The day here is 24 hours just like it is in Chicago. But a new environment and new people are stirring my creative juices.
Also solitude--it creeps in as well as NEW thoughts. Just like new tastes in our mouth. We discover a new dish or restaurant and it is suddenly life-changing.
There is a downside to NEW I feel compelled to mention. Fear, unknowing, the idea of surprise. Many people avoid risk because of this very thing."Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can only be explored by those willing to take risks." 20th c artist, Mark Rothko--though in full disclosure, he did commit suicide. Again the downside.
So within your artist residency find a balance. Maybe call it FUN FEAR. That is using fear as motivation, fuel for the creative fires, and at the same time, using fear as a guage to know when to stop.
Stay open and know yourself.