Being a writer is fun, creative and very important. But sometimes it can be difficult, especially when you are trying to make money by writing. According to Welcome to the NEA: Or, How to Get Money for Writing Stuff on the Writer’s Relief website there may be a resource you are overlooking. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has “numerous and generous grants available in all areas of the arts, including literature.”
The NEA is an independent government agency created in 1965 to “fund and promote artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.” In the 48 years since its creation the NEA has awarded more than $4 BILLION! Just in 2012 alone the NEA awarded 2,218 grants.
Now you don’t have to be left out in the cold. You can apply for a $25,000 grant! Most writers apply for Grants for Individuals because it has two categories of NEA grants specifically targeted to the field of literature:
- Translation Projects—The NEA awards Translation Projects monies to published translators for the translation into English of specific works of prose, poetry, and drama. Grant amounts are either $12,500 or $25,000, as determined by the NEA.
- Creative Writing Fellowships—NEA Literature Fellowships offer $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers. The purpose is to allow recipients “to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.” The NEA Literature Fellowships program operates on a two-year cycle, with fellowships in prose and poetry available in alternating years. The fellowships are highly competitive, with less than 5% of the 1,000+ applicants in each cycle being awarded fellowships.
The Translations Project deadline has passed but the guidelines for the Creative Writing Fellowship for 2014 will be out this month. However, it’s a smart idea for anyone interested in pursuing an NEA Literature Fellowship “to review all the information before the release of the next year’s program, to get a feel for the usual application process and typical program requirements. When dealing with the federal government, there is always a certain amount of arcane procedure and red tape to deal with. Reviewing the previous cycle will help you get a sense of the general process—and lingo—in advance.”
Write On and Good Luck!