My first grant application was terrifying. I read and re-read the rules, afraid I’d miss something and be disqualified. In the post office, preparing to mail my application, I suddenly wondered if I’d left my name on the title sheets. The jurors weren’t to see any identifying information. I ripped open the package and found – horrors! – that I had. Fifteen minutes later, I mailed the application with new, anonymous title sheets. My hands shook for hours.
That was in 2007. Now, I spend about two days on an application, most of it choosing and revising my manuscript pages. Although I didn’t win a grant that first time, I kept submitting. In 2009, I won my first grant. Since then, I’ve won six more. My latest grant has allowed me the summer away from my day job to finish the second book of a young-adult fantasy trilogy. In all, I’ve had over $30,000 to fund my work in the last four years.
To find grants, try googling “grants for writers” or “literature grants” and adding your province or state. Hope Clark at Funds for Writers lists grants as well as markets, and Mira’s List also lists funding opportunities. I apply to two granting programmes from the Ontario Arts Council; Works in Progress and Writers’ Reserve, for which publishers recommend authors.
Take care with your application – competition is stiff. I rarely submit pages without getting feedback from my writers’ group.
Then apply, apply, apply. My first five applications were unsuccessful, but now I manage some funding, even if only a couple of thousand dollars, every year.
My Writers’ Reserve grant of 2011 led to a book deal with Scrivener Press for my memoir “Shepherd in Residence” (Scrivener Press, 2012), and an appearance at Stories in the North literary festival.
Research, write, apply, and, most of all, don’t give up!
Elizabeth Creith is an award-winning author living and writing in Wharncliffe, Northern Ontario. Her work has appeared in Thema, Uncle John’s Flush Fiction, Odyssey, Old Farmer’s Almanac and Threads Magazine. She is currently on leave from her day job and writing the second book of a young-adult fantasy trilogy. Elizabeth blogs about writing, art and life at Elizabeth Creith’s Scriptorium.