Sunday, March 28, 2021

How to Find a Literary Grant, Free Residency, or a Fellowship

Grants, free Writer's Residencies, and Fellowships can be a great way to bolster your CV, expand your professional network, and - most important - receive a cash award.   There are two important steps:   
1. Research and find grants and 2. Apply properly.


Where to Find Grants
Your first choice is to read our free monthly newsletter which we publish at LinkedIn, SavvyBookWriters, and Content-on-Demand. We compile these Grants, Fellowships, and free Writer's Residencies from a dozen resources, doing all the legwork for you!  The newsletter is published in the first week of every month.  Sign up at SavvyBookWriters or on Content-on-Demand and you will receive it automatically via email.

Google is helpful too: Type in your location AND literary grants.  The location might be a country, state, province, region, or city. You will be surprised that each one will come up with different results.  To find a free writer's residency, type in the area in which you would like to be during your "workation".

For literary grants, the UK and Australia 
have their own national and local committees, while Canada has province and city arts commissions. The USA has State and Jurisdictional Arts Agencies, Regional Arts Organizations, all under the umbrella of the National Endowment for the Arts. 

To find the art commissions in your country, go to:


The Application Process

Learn everything about the grant provider.  Read about former grant recipients.  Follow the guidelines.  See if you are a good fit for what the grant provides.  They have a mission.  You, as a writer, have to match the mission of the grant provider.
Watch the deadline.  Allow ample time to do your paperwork, collect documentation or references, and speak with people you may need for advice.
Reach out to the program manager.  These grant commissions are the ones who know grants and understand the process.  Meet or call them.  Get to know them.  They will help you present the best grant application you can.

An amazing number of applications fall short because of details rather than qualifications.  On the positive: Almost a third of applications for writer's residencies, fellowships, and grants make it!  What do you wait for?  Start applying!


Sunday, March 21, 2021

The First Question That Strangers Most Likely Ask

"What Do You Do?"  This is often the first question strangers ask me ever since I am a twenty-something - and still often do as I am at retirement age.  It seems like an innocuous query - but in my eyes, it is pretty rude. 
Depending on my mood, I sometimes asked back: "Do you want to know my socioeconomic status?" Or I tell them what I am doing right now: "I enjoy this party", or "I enjoy this dinner". Or "I enjoy the weather."  Let’s think about this question: it’s such a broad, salient inquiry any answer would suffice.
What This Question Really Means:
How do you earn a paycheck?  How much money do you make?  What is your socioeconomic status?  And based on that status, where do I fall on the socioeconomic ladder compared to you?  Am I a rung above you?  Below you? How should I judge you? Are you worth my time?
Over time, I learned a better way to answer this dangerous query, though: by changing the question altogether.  The next time someone asks what I do, I am trying this:  I don’t give them "what I am doing".  Instead, I tell them what I am passionate about, and then change course by asking them what they are passionate about:
“I’m passionate about writing (or sailing, hiking, or traveling),” I will say, followed by, “What are you passionate about?”
Now, you’ll likely get one of three responses: 1) a blank stare, 2) the person will tell you they’re also passionate about X, Y, or Z, and the conversation will veer off in a more heartfelt direction, or 3) the stranger will attempt to recite their job title, to which you can respond, “That’s great. So you’re passionate about your job?” Eventually, you will both discuss the things you enjoy, instead of the jobs you don’t.

Instead of giving people a title (i.e., a box to put you in), let them know what you enjoy doing—what you’re passionate about—and then discover what they enjoy.  The conversation will hopefully morph into something far more interesting, and you’ll learn a lot more about each other than any silly job titles or just the professions.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Good News for Travelers in America


Made possible by government COVID-19 relief funding, Amtrak said that not only can it resume the 12 long-distance routes with daily service, but it will also recall more than 1,200 furloughed employees throughout the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. 

Amtrak will resume the following routes with daily service as of May 24:

California Zephyr (Chicago – Omaha – Denver — Salt Lake City – San Francisco)

Coast Starlight (Seattle – Portland — Sacramento – Oakland – Los Angeles)

Empire Builder (Chicago – St. Paul-Minneapolis – Spokane – Portland/Seattle)

Texas Eagle (Chicago – St. Louis – Dallas – San Antonio – Los Angeles)

The following routes will resume with daily service as of May 31:

Capitol Limited (Washington, D.C. – Pittsburgh – Cleveland – Chicago)

City of New Orleans (Chicago – Memphis – Jackson – New Orleans)

Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston – Albany – Buffalo – Chicago)

Southwest Chief (Chicago – Kansas City – Albuquerque – Los Angeles)

Finally, the following four routes will regain daily service as of June 7:

Crescent (New York – Washington, D.C. – Atlanta – New Orleans)

Palmetto (New York – Washington, D.C. – Charleston – Savannah)

Silver Meteor (New York – Savannah – Jacksonville – Orlando – Miami)

Silver Star (New York – Raleigh – Jacksonville – Orlando – Tampa – Miami)

“Offering daily long-distance service represents a vital step in our road to recovery,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “Recognizing the immense value of our employees, we  would like to thank Congress for enabling service restoration and helping us recall furloughed employees.”

Read all the details and more routes here: