Grants & Residencies for Writers: Giving Your Work Some Space

On Thursday, March 27th at 7:00 pm EST, Ethan Nosowsky will present his Creative Capital webinar, Applying for Grants & Residencies: Strategies for Writers.

I’ve been editing books for almost twenty years, and I can’t count the number of writers I’ve worked with who simply would not have gotten published without a well-timed grant or a much-needed residency at an artist’s colony. Being able to teach one less class, or having the time to clear your head and get down to work among other artists can provide the opportunity for a breakthrough that will allow you to finish a manuscript.
I’ve served as a judge on panels for many awards and residencies over the years, and I’ve often seen bad applications sink the chances of otherwise qualified writers. It’s important to realize that writing a strong application is a learned skill, and in my Creative Capital webinar, Applying for Grants & Residencies: Strategies for Writers, I try to explain what it is that prize committees and residency panels are looking for, and I offer tips that will help you put your best foot forward.
As you can see from the testimonies that follow, having the money and time to focus intently on your work is essential to building a sustainable career:

“The impact of Creative Capital on my project has gone from incalculable to astonishing. To me, knowing that the support is there, even for routine expenses, has completely liberated me to push harder with my project and try more things.”
—Ben Marcus, 2009 Creative Capital Literature awardee

“It’s only in the last two years that I’ve started applying for artist things—artist residencies and development workshops—and I encourage documentary filmmakers to join me. If you are at a point with your work where concentrated time would help, artist residencies have been a revelation: a gift of housing and workspace (often in a beautiful location), food, and a community of artists, and all you are asked is to focus on your work.”
—Melissa Hacker, Filmmaker and 2014 Artists Summer Institute participant
“The Creative Capital grant has let me write without anxiety about money—and even more importantly, it allowed me to wait the right amount of time before beginning the actual writing. Knowing I would have financial security for the foreseeable future, I was able to spend six months or so writing the story in my head, rather than hurrying to start.”
—John McManus, 2013 Creative Capital Literature awardee
“My first residency was at MacDowell. I think I was surprised by how much actual work I got done. I expected to work and meet people and be awed by the beauty—and I did and was. But I also did more work in a month than I had in any month in my life. And I made friends—and those friendships have stuck. I don’t think I expected that.”
—Deb Olin Unferth, 2009 Creative Capital Literature awardee
“Creative Capital’s support has enabled the entire project! I mean, I’m sure I would have found a way without it, but with it, my household has not gone broke, and I’ve been able to keep my stress levels about money at a non-intrusive level as I composed.”
—Maggie Nelson, 2013 Creative Capital Literature awardee
Interested in learning more about the value and availability of residencies in particular? At the 2013 Creative Capital Awardee Orientation, artists Richard Move, Mark Shepard and Deb Olin Unferth shared their experiences with artist residencies. Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities, spoke about different types of residencies and shared tips for getting accepted. You can listen online to an edited podcast of this session, or subscribe to Creative Capital podcasts through iTunes.
Ready to move forward with your own applications? Join Ethan Nosowsky’s Applying for Grants & Residencies: Strategies for Writers webinar on Thursday, March 27th at 7:00pm EST.


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