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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Free money costs time

It's grant season!

The NEA's amazing fiction grant is available every other year - and this is the year for fiction (next year is poetry, etc.) -- hard to keep track of because the grant is actually a 2014 grant but the application is due by February 28th, 2013. And if you think you're going to just whip it out, given it's only a one-page document, then you obviously haven't ever filled out an official government form... This thing makes a 1040 look EZ.

Kid you not.

You'll be writing bibliographies, copying and pasting files into PDF format, renaming the files with code names...it's enough to give any artist hives.

Perhaps they think they will save money by the sheer numbers of authors who give up.

But seriously people - I heard a spectacular presentation at AWP in Chicago about this, and you should apply. It's true that if you don't get the grant, you have lost a whole day of writing time. But it's something that you really CAN accomplish on a day like President's Day, when the kids are around and you get six or seven minutes with the computer every half an hour or so. This isn't brainy work, people. This is crossing T's and dotting i's. Make that day a productive day!!

it's a shockingly simple application. 25 pages of your best prose. A one-page bibliography proving eligibility (FYI: a hint, they don't want ALL your pubs, they want the minimum that makes you eligible. If you wrote seventy five books in the last ten years, yeah, JCO we know you did, still all they want is one bibliography. No judges see the eligibility page, just a bunch of government office people who throw out applications that don't follow the rules. they don't screen - they pre-screen.)

There aren't any letters of recommendation. There's no artist statement. Nada. Just a bunch of irritating formatting guidelines.

That's it.

So go get an NEA grant already.