Though some paintings sell for many millions of dollars, and some books sell hundreds of millions of copies, spawning enormous franchises, not every writer can generate a lot of funds from their work, sometimes not even enough to continually sustain the work’s creation. That’s why there is a need for grants for the writers.
This unfortunate fact, the financial insolvency of many creative aspirations, stands in direct defiance of the cultural value that is almost universally recognized regarding the writers. That is, we desire that art should be a part of our lives because we consider it a vital human enterprise, yet our markets do not always naturally and organically support this. That’s why grants for the writers are so important.
What are grants for the writers, though? Grants for the writers are pools of money and resources gathered by institutions or individuals, either public or private, in order to then be doled out to single creators or groups in order to bolster and support the ongoing vibrancy and health of writing endeavor and communities.
Since these are often some of the only sources of capital for many artists, at least before their medium can (if ever) turn lucrative, getting a grant for the writers can be quite a competitive process. Of course, the first step toward receiving a grant is knowing what grants are out there. Let’s have a look at a few.
For poetry, there are a number of grants out there. The National Endowment for the Writers is one of the biggest, not only for poetry but also most other mediums as well, and poetry grants are offered every other year (alternating with fiction). More specific grants for poetry include the Witter Bynner Foundation, which gives out up to $10,000 for projects. The Walt Whitman grant is available only to poets who have never published a book, offering $5,000, book publication and a residency in Vermont.
One particularly interesting grant for the writers is the Writer’s Trust Woodcock Fund, an emergency bank of money that is given out to writers who meet financial hardship mid-project. That is, if an author is in the middle of creating a book manuscript but is finding it difficult to continue due to common financial burdens, these emergency funds can be granted in order to accommodate the completion of the project. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been granted in this mission.
Creative Capital is another institution that supplies grants for the writers to numerous mediums. They are a large supporter both of visual and multimedia projects. They provide not only financial support but aim to provide all necessary resources available for the completion of a project, be they material or immaterial.