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Grants for Writers

What is a Grant?

Grants are funds awarded by one party to a recipient. Often grants are given through the government (both federal and provincial), a corporation, foundation, or trust. These monetary values are distributed to recipients who demonstrate specific attributes, talents, and motivation.

In the literary industry, grants are most often used in support of cultural development both on the individual level and for emerging publisher and collaborative groups.
For writers grants are often their bread and butter. There are many grants available to writers working on a variety of projects, from novel writing to doing international readings and everything in between.

Important Skills for Writing Grants:

  • Strong writing and grammar skills. Knowing the basics of grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure will be important assets to any writer looking to apply for grants.
  • Being able to identify what each organization is looking for in grant applicants and to write as persuasively as possible.
  • Organization is a key skill for writing grants. You will have to organize grant due dates, which grants you have applied for and when you expect to hear back. Organization will also allow you to accurately fill out and detail which projects you require funding for, how much the project will cost and how the grant money would contribute to your most recent writing project.
  • Self-promotional skills will be a great attribute to grant writing. The grant application process is a way to promote and highlight your specific skills in relation to the grant organization’s requirements.


Searching and Applying for Grants:

  • Many writers survive on grants. Grants allow writers to work on their craft without other distractions.
  • Do some research. There are many grants available for writers of all walks of life and all skill levels.
  • Make a list of all the grants you would like to apply for, keeping track of deadlines and specific application criteria. It may help to keep track using a simple spread sheet or on a calendar.
  • When sending in your application, do your best to present yourself in a professional manner. If you are hand writing your application forms make sure they are neat and tidy, using pen (either black or blue) and write as clearly as possible.
  • Many grant applications require a sample of your work. Remember this will be the first impression you are going to make. Your manuscript submission should follow a standard manuscript format. Do not send in your first draft take the time to proofread your work as you will want to highlight your skills at the best possible level.
  • When describing your project, be as clear and concise as possible. Your project description should outline the aim and scope of the projected work.
  • Some grant applications will require references. Make a list of possible references. Once you have chosen who you would like to ask, phone them to ask if they would provide a reference letter for you. References take some time to write so give them at least a week or more.
  • Positive reviews can act as extra references. so enclose some.
  • It’s important to remember that the grant application process can take some work. Remember that it is a competition, so it is in your best interest to present yourself as professionally as possible.
  • Have a rough idea of how much you are expecting to receive. Some grants allow for various amounts depending on the type of project and the experience of the recipient. Being prepared to answer business-type questions will help you when applying.
  • Incorporate grant writing and searching into your daily routine of running your writing business, especially when you are beginning to work on a new project.
  •  As a writer you will encounter periods of down time these times will provide you with a good opportunity to update your résumé and grant application packages.


Websites and Resources

There are many websites and resources available for writers/artists looking for grants and funding. Generally, these sites will provide a list of possible grants and outline the criteria and application process. The following list includes both funding and awards.


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