What would you require to give a writing grant?

I got to thinking today, after hearing about a writing grant opportunity recently, that it would be amazing to one day be able to fund and operate a writer’s grant program. Maybe even a residential one.

And instantly I started contemplating what I would want to see come in from prospective candidates with their applications.

Here’s what’s crossed my mind so far, in addition to the usual “proof of need” one might expect:

  • A specific writing project and a description of its current status, i.e. concept development, rough draft, in rewrites, etc.
  • A plan and timeline for completing it.
  • A pitch for the concept that gives a sense of its marketability, audience, and reach.
  • An outline of the writer’s plan for marketing the project.
  • Possibly also a slate of ideas for future writing projects.
  • An amazing writing sample demonstrating the writer’s potential.
  • A personal introduction that gave a strong sense of who they are as a person, in terms of their spirit, drive, passion, and personality.

I imagine this might be something similar to what a publisher would want, though that’s an area I haven’t explored yet. Some of these things might be of interest to a screenwriter’s manager as well.

What would be on your list?

I’m curious, if YOU had the money to give, what would be on your list of what you’d want to see from prospective candidate for a writing grant? Or if you were advising me on how to make sure I would attract and select writers best suited for making the most of a writing grant, what would you suggest?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accepting applications yet nor will I be in a position to do something like that for the foreseeable future but I’m interested… :)

Can we use this now?

… Because:

What if we had those things right now for our current writing projects?

Would they help move us forward with a clearer sense of purpose, drive, and momentum? Or not?

What would it be like if we did?


I’d love to hear what you think.

Tell me in the comments!




  1. Jenna,

    I think that’s a great list, but I’m not sure what you mean by “proof of need”–financial or artistic need?


  2. Hi Jenna!

    Missing you. How’s everything, kids and all?

    Regarding the grant qualifications, I’d also want to know if the writer had significant and unusual first hand knowledge of the subject and its ‘world’.

    Best to you always,

    • Lor, it’s all good! I hope I’ll get to see you on Saturday at the PSA Bay Area event. I like your comment about the “significant and unusual first hand knowledge” — that would make for a more interesting application and project, wouldn’t it? Thanks for posting. :)

  3. Hi Jenna, I would look for passion in a witting sample because readers read for emotion. I would also consider a writer with raw talent more than the one who is structured from an abundance of classes. A writer that needs guidance but has substance along with that unique idea — an unpolished jewel waiting to be found.

  4. Wow – this is awesome – gives me a good reminder of all the parts I need to put together for the book I am working on – it isn’t just about the book – it’s about the whole package!

    One other comment is that your list is very close to the same list of things investors want to see when considering an investment in a business; a book and author are no different for a grantor (or publisher, for that matter)! They are an investment, and a risk, to manage.

    Thanks Jenna!

    • Sonya, so true! There’s a whole package to consider for sure. And you’re so right about the things investors want to see. Great point!

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