Posts Tagged 'writing grants'

The City That Never Sleeps

Sometimes the world works in strange ways. Wonderful, but strange. You may remember late last year I attended a workshop on applying for grants (and blogged about some of the things I learned), then in October I had a go at applying for a well renowned scholarship.

One of the many reasons I was applying was with the far flung hope of being able to travel to New York to meet my publisher. I knew the winners of the scholarships were being announced in March, so as the March days trickled by I accepted that I wasn’t one of them. Still really hoping to be able to meet my publisher, I started investigating other possible grants for writers. I made a shortlist of about three I was eligible for, and on the final day of March I sat down to begin writing my applications.

As my fingers hovered over the keyboard, I got a call on my mobile. And nearly dropped it. It was a delightful lady, ringing to tell me that I had been awarded a 2010 Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship. For a writer, I was embarrassingly lost for words.

The scholarships were established by John Chisholm Marten and commenced in 1967 as a way to support young artists. Their website describes the awards as follows:

The … Scholarships provide support for young Australians in a variety of categories to help them further their cultural education and achieve their dreams. They are awarded each year for study, maintenance and travel either in Australia or overseas.

The scholarship will span over two years, and true to their word it will allow me to access opportunities that have so far been purely the stuff of dreams. So it turns out I will get to meet my publisher, next year in January while I’m in New York for the annual SCBWI Winter Conference. I’ll also get to attend some other conferences, research a series of middle grade novels set in South America, research a new YA novel I’m currently planning set in the UK, plus have some dedicated writing time away from other commitments.

They’re lucky they didn’t wait a day longer to call me, as April 1st being what it is, I never would have believed them…

Grant Me Motivation

rabbitfaqA few months ago I attended an ASA seminar on applying for writing grants. I always expect to come out of such talks feeling motivated and ready to take on the world, however invariably it’s the opposite. Instead I leave with a head full of new information, feeling intimidated by the task before me. Call me slow, but I tend to need a day or two to emotionally digest new information.

I suppose I had reason to feel overwhelmed. Applying for grants is a lot of work. They’re wily beasts to craft – it takes practice to perfect the art and get the tone just right, and much like a novel they should go through several drafts. Then there’s no guarantee that after all that effort you’ll actually get one. Grants are coveted prizes, so there’s serious competition for them. I’m currently wrangling with my first grant application and was whingeing about it to my fiance the other day:

Me: Man this is hard work. I’m spending all this time crafting this silly thing when I don’t even know if I’ll get one!

Him: Isn’t that what you do every day with your writing?

Me: *silence*

He’s so right. Each day I willingly devote majority of my time to creating stories that I’m never really sure will see the light of day. I don’t need certainty to do that, so why should I with a grant application? In the ASA session there was a great quote from Narelle Oliver, who said that every time she even considers starting a new project, she applies for a grant. She’s not always successful, but this way it has simply become a part of her writing process. When I grow up, I want to be just like Narelle.

Now that I’ve recovered from the seminar and digested all the information, here are some tips I picked up on writing grant applications:

  • Tell a story: Treat the application like a story you’re writing. The judges get hundreds of applications to trawl through – if you start yours with a refreshing or startling tidbit about your project, they’ll be more likely to remember your proposal (and emotionally connect with it)
  • Don’t be shy: Contact the organisation running the grant and ask questions – they’re typically helpful and will guide you through the projects of yours that may be most appropriate for their grant
  • Edit: Treat your application just like a novel. Redraft that baby until it comes up to a high shine
  • Don’t give up: You may not be awarded a grant the first time, or even the first few, but each time you’ll get better at writing them and you will get there eventually

So enter the wide world of grant applications boldly: go write, apply and conquer. And if you need a whinge, you know who to come to – writing these things is tough…


About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:

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