Step one: Be a writer.
No, seriously. Inspired by an interview with Alexander Chee in Pen America, freelance scribe Jessica Gross asked Amtrak about the possibility of scoring a free ride for the explicit purpose of, well, writing; after some back-and-forth over Twitter, Amtrak offered her the chance to test-run an onboard writer's residency.
What's that mean exactly? In short, Gross snagged a free round-trip ticket on the Lake Shore Limited from NYC to Chicago, during which she penned this piece for The Paris Review Daily. Chee, the brainchild behind it all, also received a similar offer to ride the rails from NYC to Portland, Oregon.
As you can imagine, since word got out, Amtrak has been deluged with messages from frenzied writers eager to bolster their blogs with posts from the bar car. While Amtrak's still considering how best to implement the writers' residency, we can only hope that it spurs more enthusiasm for train travel and that other rail services will follow suit. That's right LIRR, we're looking at you! Ok, just kidding.
The bigger question, though: If you were a wordsmith, which of Amtrak's five most scenic routes would you want to spend writing?
Gianni Jaccoma is an editorial assistant for Thrillist travel, and is currently pursuing a writer's residency aboard the luxurious NQR subway line. Follow him on Twitter at @gjaccoma.