This amuses me. Not because it isn’t the truth, but because I know of people who have this attitude about writing that is described in this edition of the Funds for Writers Newsletter. So enjoy the lovely realistic advice!
Read newsletter online at: http://www.fundsforwriters.com/FFW.htm
issues at: http://www.aweber.com/z/article/?fundsforwriters
I NEED A GRANT TO WRITE
Those of you who’ve been around me a few years must bear withthis message. I deliver these words in one shape or another about once a year, but always as a result of a flurry of emails from new readers. Folks see FUNDS for writers and believe I will swoop down with some stimulus package and fix all sorts of writing ills. I’m afraid I’m still unable to:
1. Find you an instant publisher.2. Find you a grant to complete your first book.3. Find you a grant to allow you to quit the job you hate.4. Find you a grant that allows you time to write that novel.5. Find funds to pay your bills while you write.
Honestly, I wish I could do all those things.
Let me solve some myths for you:
1. Almost all writers write while performing another job or chasing the kids. A tiny minutiae percentage of writers rises in the morning without worrying about day work or the bills. You write through the life handed to you, often making you a better writer thanks to the struggle.
2. Grants for writers go to those who’ve established themselves as writers. It’s this comment that often makes people mad with me. How dare I accuse someone of not being a writer? After all, this person has written since the third grade or this other one has penned fourteen short stories and three journals of poetry over five years. How dare I? Actually, I’m not the one drawing the line in the sand. Look at this quote from the Mississippi Arts Commission about the definition of a writer – a quote representative of all the arts agencies: “…a professional artist producing work of high artisticquality, Individuals are considered to be professional ifthey: earn at least part of their annual income in their artistic work; consider their artistic endeavors as acareer; maintain a high level of artistic quality; andmake a significant time investment in their artisticdisciplines though practice, performance or production.”
Some characteristics of a “professional” writer include:
== Writing income appearing on your tax return.== A calendar noting regular work, appearances, training undertaken as a writer.== A chronological list of submissions and copies of acceptances and rejections.== Receipts of expenses.== An active website/blog committed to writing.
3. Completing a book also does not make you a writer. You’ve written the words on the page, but are they edited to a fine sheen? Have you found a strong voice and claimed it as your own? Can someone pick up the work and tell from the style that it’s yours? THE END does not mean you’ve arrived. Writing takes serious practice over multiple projects over several years. People do not pick up a pen and write bestsellers without personal development and lots of sweat.
Granted, you have a story to tell. But you have to becomea writer in order to tell it well and do it justice. Youdo not need a grant to write. You don’t have a deadline topublish.
Harper Lee wrote one novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Do youwant to be remembered for one brilliant story or notremembered after writing twenty-seven pieces over three years?
Put in the time and effort, and not only will you finda grant to help you financially, but you’ll find credibility, too.