Along with writing friends Sarah Scally and Fiona Murphy, I spent an excellent day on Saturday at Bournemouth Library learning how to make a living from writing. That is, how to fund your writing through grant applications, residencies and commissions. The workshop was organised by Lit Up! and provided practical advice, presentations and talks by poet Andrew McMillan and project organiser Amy Mason.
By the end of the day, I’d made several new Twitter friends, generated fresh ideas for projects and came away with inspiration for new pieces of creative writing. The event more than lived up to its billing, a unique day full of tips on putting together bids, planning and executing successful writing sessions. Thank you very much Amy and Andrew for sharing inside information on how to get the most from the Arts Council.
Top tips included
- subscribing to Arts Jobs for regular updates on paid and unpaid writing opportunities
- using the language of the brief to frame your application for residencies and writing opportunities (refer to target audience, outcomes etc)
- drawing upon help from others to support your application, for example, references from other writers, project coordinators etc
- Seek advice and support from the Arts Council. The Relationship Manager for the south-west is firstname.lastname@example.org
- the importance of tangible outcomes from writing sessions and workshops such as a celebration event or production of a pamphlet of work
By drawing on the ideas from the day, and combining these with the experience I’ve gained from workshop delivery at conferences and writing groups, I now feel much more confident in designing and seeking funding for my own literary writing project. The only trouble is having the time to map this out. My full-time work commitment is likely to go on until the end of August but with redundancy possible, I may be well be poring over my notes before too long.
Which skills would you like to develop for a life in writing?