During January, I was able to step back from my "real life" to attend an artist's residency thanks to the New York Mills Cultural Center (http://www.kulcher.org) in New York Mills, Minnesota. The Cultural Center owns a small house (quaintly called a "cottage") in town where it hosts artists of all types. The generous residency includes the use of the house and, most importantly, silence and solitude in which to work.
A residency in the middle of winter, in the middle of a small town, in the middle of Minnesota's prairies means there are no excuses not to work. I read, drew, wrote, and read some more. The stack of books I got through included Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer, and Annie Dillard's The Writing Life. I also turned back to Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg.
As an artist without formal training or an MFA, the writing residency is a great opportunity to study and learn and devote precious time to craft.