"I was going to wait a few years until the next funding period, when I thought I'd be more competitive," wrote Glazer in a recent e-mail. "But at the last minute -- shortly before 5:00 on the day the application was due, I hand delivered it to RACC’s office downtown."
Glazer ended up winning the fellowship that year, the largest and most prestigious grant offered in the Northwest to an individual artist. She used the money to finish her second book of poetry Aggregate of Disturbances (University of Iowa Press, 2004). The one lesson she learned from that experience? "Apply anyway."
Over the years, Glazer has won over $70,000 in grants and fellowships to support her work including another $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and smaller grants and fellowships from the Oregon Arts Commission and Literary Arts. Does receiving a grant change her relationship to the work or her creative process?
"Receiving a grant has had no affect on my 'creative process' as far as what’s essential in 'creative' and 'process.' But a grant is a gift of a stretch of time, and like many writers I seem to need stretches," wrote Glazer.But a grant is a gift of a stretch of time, and like many writers I seem to need stretches," wrote Glazer. "I don't do well writing when I've just got half an hour and there are fifty other things niggling at me. So to that extent, that money allows for a creative process in which I'm most productive. However, the money doesn't make me feel or think any particular way about my work."
When preparing most of her grants, Glazer enlists the help of a reader to review the rough draft of her application questions. "It helps to have someone who will say: Michele, you're whining; Michele, you're obfuscating.' Even if I sense those things myself, I can convince myself that it's not as bad as actually it is."
For beginning grant writers, Glazer offers these tips:
- Read the application questions and respond to the questions they are asking.
- Eschew jargon.
- Be succinct, precise, and compelling in your language and details. The competition is fierce.
- Don't be cute, mawkish, or verbose.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Gigi Rosenberg's essays and how-to articles have appeared in the Seal Press anthology The Maternal is Political, Parenting, Writer's Digest, The Writer and on Oregon Public Radio. She receives rave reviews for the grant writing workshops she leads at NYC's Foundation Center and Chicago's Self Employment in the Arts. She has performed her monologues throughout the Pacific Northwest and now coaches writers how to give stellar public readings and write winning grant applications.