5 Rules: applying for a writing grant

When I started writing my soucouyant story back in September, I hoped I would finish it in time to edit it and have a nice spit-shone version that I could send out for grants. But really, I was deluding myself. If you’re applying for a writing grant, it needs to be something that is ready to send out to editors. And starting something 6 months before a grant deadline does not allow enough time.

So rule #1: Have a polished piece of writing ready.

Now that I’ve let go of my just-started and yet-to-be-finished work as a candidate, I’m going back to another piece that I completed last year. I kept thinking that the new book was going to be stronger, but on closer inspection, the earlier work is really lovely, and definitely ready to be sent out. But before I do send it out, I’m going to edit it again. ANY mistakes will throw it out of the running.

Rule #2: Make sure it’s REALLY polished.

While the printer is whirring away, churning out my manuscript pages, I’ll look at the rules for application to the grant. It requires a certain number of words. Of course I don’t want to give them the exact number of words and end my submission mid-sentence or mid-thought. So while I’m editing I’m going to have to find a nice place to stop that’s logical and still ends with something compelling that would make the grant judges want to see more.

Rule #3: Choose your selection carefully.

Then after all that’s done, I have to work on the rest of the submission packet: a summary, an expression of need, a CV and any other items the grant committee wants to see. To ensure that none of that is thrown away, I am going to read and re-read the application guidelines to make sure that I give the judges exactly what they want. This means, more editing and rewriting.

Rule #4: Follow guidelines explicitly.

And finally, I plan to send in the packet early within the grant deadline time-frame. Any applications received before the submission dates have started, or after it’s passed, will be disqualified, of course, but it’s also interesting to note that submitting as soon as you can is an advantage. Often writers wait until the last minute, so the judges are inundated with submissions toward the end. Plus, by the time they’ve gotten to their something-hundredth manuscript, they probably have already seen something they really like.

Rule #5: Submit early (but not too early).

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