In fact this is a notion I've been clinging onto for some years now, rather like a the proverbial dog with a bone. But as any progressing author (I tend to shun the term 'emerging'. I mean I've been born, already.) will tell you, without the merchandising funds of your latest, in fact your only, published work to sustain you, finding replacement leads for your pencils, let alone inspiration to continue writing gets a bit tricky.
For those ready and interested, this re-blogged post of Charlotte Wood's is an extremely useful and detailed look at how to go about the grant writing process (for literary funding). The article hits every nail on the head. Of course I happened across it after already applying for mine. But nonetheless, it provides great reminders for the next time and time after that.
So what have I learnt?
- Know exactly why you want a grant. Have a clear project goal with attainable objectives but don't be unrealistic.
- Invest in your self and your work, put in the hard yards first. In other words, commit to your craft. It pays to accrue some industry experience, credentials and publications. I waited several years before applying.
- Cultivate your author persona and almost as important, be aware of those around you.
- Do your homework. Study what's on offer and determine which fund, grant, award or fellowship will best suit your project requirements at this stage of your career.
- Be prepared, ordered and methodical when completing grant applications. Follow application guidelines to the letter.
- Details matter. Take time to work on a realistic budget (they may want to see how you intend to spend the money they offer you). Work on supplying quality support material, this may include samples of your own work and or letters of recommendation from those in the industry.
- Acquit your grant in a timely and professional manner. This is when you report back to the funding body at the completion of your grant period, once you've been awarded it. Because you will get one. It's only a matter of time...
Because I'd been walking around that park with my picture book pup (actually a whole pack of them) for a long time. Enjoyable as that was, I felt like I was going in circles. Structured mentorships had been unattainable to me before but with the CIC fund I finally had the opportunity, impetus and (great sigh of relief), resources to embark on one. This I did with the awesomely patient and wise, Dee White. The year that followed, attending conferences, stockpiling information and working with Dee one-on-one on my manuscripts was the most incredible rite of passage.
So what did I gain?
Well, you'll have to tune in again next time when I outline what a grant did for me and how you could benefit too.
Granted, you may not quite be at this stage yet, so simply file this information away safely. You will be one day.
Thanks to Sheryl Gwyther for first bringing Charlotte's wonderful blog post to my attention.