Straight Talk about Grants

At AROHO, we want to help you become your best writer, and we believe the Gift of Freedom Application can help uncover some of the obstacles on the path to personal breakthrough and creative “success.” Here are our tips for helping you make the most of the application and for helping improve the chances of your submissions in general.


(For highly creative women, this is often the area where mistakes are made)

The hard truth is that grant applications receive an administrative screening for acceptability and completeness prior to being passed on for creative evaluation.
Guiding Principle:  Follow directions.  Don’t second guess application guidelines/instructions.  Trust that each one serves a purpose for the sponsoring organization.
A page means a page.  Always conform to instructions for margins/spacing/font size.
Guiding Principle:  Don’t do anything on the page to distract from your seriousness as an applicant .
Be careful of exaggeration by the overuse of italics, caps, excess punctuation, colors, etc.
Use spell check and then have someone else review for accuracy.
Guiding Principle:  Don’t seal the envelope or press the send button when you are exhausted.
Procrastination is the enemy here.  Set your final deadline several days ahead of the official deadline to allow for one last check of each part of the application before submitting.  The best idea is to have a reader perform this final check with you.
Never add handwritten additions to typed responses on the application form.

Too Much Information,  or “TMI”
(Desperation is not an effective strategy)

Read what you’ve written to check for tone.  Ask an honest friend to read it and tell you whether it sounds:  whiney, cranky, pitiable, the result of sleep deprivation, freeform, or just plain angry.
Guiding Principle:  When the applicant is frantically grasping at the opportunity that the grant/prize/residency would provide, the application suffers.  Be sure to

Let’s Talk About Money

(Take time to process your relationship to your financial reality)

By charter AROHO only supports women who are making substantial efforts to be financially independent.
Guiding Principle:  Make sure you are in integrity with your financial circumstances before asking for financial help.
Any sponsoring organization will notice whether an applicant has significant student debt and/or personal debt, no reliable source of income (no matter how small), and minimal work history.  Financial need as expressed by harsh economic reality is made more compelling when there is evidence of a life plan to improve the circumstances.

Begin Again

(Start with an overall “holistic” review of the entire application and see each piece as part of a whole)

Avoid the trap of pulling something out of your “submissions” drawer and then trying to make it fit. Each application is unique.  Treat it as such.

Don’t Just Answer—Write!
(Think of each question as an essay)

This should be obvious.  You are a writer applying for support to write.
Each part of the application is an opportunity to reveal your commitment as well as your passion and personality.  This is where taking the time to research past winners/recipients pays off.  Learn from their examples.

The Creative Project Plan
(Win or no win–Always a winner)

The key to creative freedom is to work at your art.  AROHO believes that The Creative Project Plan gives you a template for that work.
The project proposal is the core of any application for funding.  Spend ample time early on in the application process conceptualizing and solidifying your project proposal.  Address all aspects of the proposed project from a logistical as well as budgetary perspective.
Research the sponsoring organization to learn about their mission and focus.  Research the projects that they have funded in the past.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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