All the Recaps

Hello, friends! I’ve got about three ultra-mini posts here, so I decided to mash them all together so that I don’t have to drag any of it out for you. I’m sure you all have better things to do. So here are a few recaps of the things I’ve been working on lately, and a sneak peak of what’s to come.

Writers Conference This last weekend was the annual Alaska Writers Guild fall conference and I gleefully attended. As always, I had a great time, got great info, and chatted with great people! The speakers were all excellent, plus I got to relive my younger years by holding a friend’s sleeping two-month-old in one arm while drafting on my knee with the other. Plus, I had the luxury of flying down to Anchorage this year. (Eight hours of driving distilled into a forty-minute flight. SO LUXURIOUS.) I’ll be posting some of my conference lessons and stories in the weeks to come.

Grant Review Board Related to the conference, I was on a small board reviewing grant proposals over the last couple weeks. We had quite a few more proposals than we had in previous years. There were so many strong submissions and it was a tough time winnowing it down to just two. I hope this year’s winners can do amazing things with their funds!

Snow White Deadline This Blood and Ebony deadline has been breathing down my neck for the last few weeks and so I am pleased and relieved to let you know that I met it juuuuust in time. Therefore, I was able to get the olive oil of my homeland and not have to watch any doofy song-and-dance nonsense. Huzzah! Blood and Ebony went out to alpha readers Friday night and I’m hoping to have it out to beta readers before the end of the year. Except maybe this time, I’ll manage my time in such a way that it doesn’t arrive in their inboxes in the wee hours of morning smelling like panic and poor life choices.

Gals Read The fall session of Gals Read is officially upon me. I’ve been prepping for the last few weeks and today marked the start of training week. Hooray! After training ends, I’ll spend my days reading Space Boy and Anne of Green Gables to the fantastic fourth grade girls of Fairbanks. The program has grown again this year, and we are now in every public elementary school in the district. That is awesome! I can’t think of a better use of my time than turning impressionable children into desperate book addicts who stay up way after bedtime with flashlights. *hero pose*

Also on the radar is NaNoWriMo, which is working hard to sneak up on me, but not this year, NaNo! This week is going to be crazy, like the one before it, but once I claw my way through Gals Read and out the other side, I’ll start thinking about what I want to draft out for this session and post a project soon. As I mentioned in the halfway check-in on my annual goals, this session is basically my last chance for the year to get my one first draft in. I don’t plan to squander it (yet).

How about you fine folks? What bookish pursuits have you been up to lately? Any exciting projects in the works? Let me know in the comments! And until next week, happy writing!

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Writing Grant Writing

writingLast week, I applied for my first ever writing grant.  And, although I won’t know for about a month what the judges thought of the attempt, I did learn quite a bit about grant writing over the process.

The grant application, which seems to be fairly typical for artsy grants, asked for responses in several topics: my bio, my service to other writers, the potential grant money usage, and finally, a writing sample.  (Other topics that you can expect to see on applications fairly regularly might be an artist statement, career plan, or project description.  All grants are different.)

What struck me most about this application was that it was all basically information I already had.  I already had an author bio prepared as part of my querying and author branding materials.  (You did do the author branding worksheet packet, right?)  I was well aware of what work I did with other writers, and I already had an idea of what I wanted to do with the money, should I receive it.  And I had tons of writing samples lying around because I kind of do a lot of writing.  So other than needing a few hours’ worth of tweaks, I was practically there.

This won’t always be the case.  Sometimes grant writing will take hours upon hours upon hours of your precious writing time.  Sometimes, it’s just a matter of plugging materials you already have on hand into the right boxes.  It’s up to you to decide when it’s worth it, and when it’s better for you to just keep writing publishable material.  When making that decision, do keep in mind that grants are about more than just having someone toss a wad of cash at you.  They expand your writing network, they give you opportunities to take more classes or hire an editor, they add prestige and pad your author bio, and at their very most basic, they are a nice pat on the back in what can otherwise be a pretty thankless endeavor most of the time.  So when you’re thinking about whether or not it’s worth your time to try for a writing grant, think beyond the dollars (or yen or pounds or euros or whatever).

But you won’t be able to make that call until you’re looking at potential grants.  So where does one find available grants?  As with many things these days, it’s now easier than ever before.  All you need is the internet and a little super-sleuthing know-how.  Here are a few ideas to get you started in your happy hunt.

Writing Groups  Writing groups often put on their own writing grants.  This includes large groups (SCBWI, SFWA, etc), and smaller groups, like my own Alaska Writer’s Guild which offers several writing grants, scholarships, and awards every year.  If you haven’t already, consider joining one of these groups if you can.  Even if you never get a single dollar out of them, it can make a big difference in the trajectory of your career.

Art Foundations and Councils  There are many major foundations and art councils that have more monies than I can count up for grabs every year (Rasmuson Foundation, NEA,  etc), but many smaller local groups do as well.  Much like writing groups, it’s generally best to start with the local groups and work your way out from there.  Check out your city’s arts association or literacy council, or your state’s arts council, before going straight for the national groups.

The English Department  It’s surprisingly easy to contact your local college or university’s English department and ask about any writing or art grants that they’re aware of.  Not only do the teachers, who are very often writers themselves, keep track of these things, but often the department itself maintains a list that it shares with its students- and maybe you, too!  Not all departments do, but it’s worth asking.

Online Lists  These take a little more sifting to pick out the good ones from the… less good ones.  But these can be excellent resources for busy writers.  I hesitate to put up any lists that I haven’t thoroughly vetted, but I have spent a little time around fundsforwriters.com and it seems pretty legit.  (But please don’t pick up crazy viruses and make me sad.)  Any readers with helpful resources on this front could pretty please put them in the comments section?  *bats eyelashes*

If you’re still not sure where to look, grantspace.org has pulled together a fantastic resources page that can be found here, which also references Gigi Rosenberg’s own resource list here.

Once you’ve found a writing grant that’s a good fit- itself arguably the hardest part of grant writing- it’s time to hit that keyboard.  Good luck!

(And don’t forget to share in the comments if you have any great grant writing resources or tips! You guys are the best!)