Dear fellow Children’s Writers and friends,
I’ve had one of the busiest quarters I’ve had in a long while both with my day job as a casual (emergency, substitute) teacher and as a writer, but also one of my most rewarding. Seeing growth and building rapport with children over a long period of time is probably the main thing I miss as a teacher who is in and out of many classrooms, in several schools, over extended time periods. On the writing front, as a computer novice and previous technophobe, (email and word were my limits) the confidence and knowledge I have gained is invaluable. As regular readers of my blog will know, that among other things I have been applying for grants. Some have been awarded, some are still pending. And then there’s the amazing one I really did not have time to enter, but with a prize of an unconditional $5000, I sacrificed sleep and a clean house to prepare the best submission I could. I had to try after all, although I had only recently heard about The Sustainable Arts Foundation (sustainableartsfoundation.org) grant for parents undertaking creative careers, my youngest child turns eighteen (the cut off age) in March and this made it my first and last chance to enter.
So what became of the amazing grant and what did I learn? As is more often than not the case, not what I expected. They turned out, however, to be valuable lessons both in writing and in life. Sure I learned how to move mss and other information from one device to another and to get it to the right place in the right format, pdf in this case, but what turned out to be my most valuable learning by far? Deadlines as it turns out and the perils associated with them. Regularly spending my mornings as a zombie anyway, means that I am more than capable of pulling late/ all-nighters if necessary. So did I? No. Goodbye the chance of an unconditional $5000. What? Why? Why indeed? Quite simply, it has been my practice to work fairly close to the deadline, just in case inspiration for last minute edits and improvements hit. This time, however, I had unintentionally cut it much too fine. Working through the last week and struggling with PDFs meant that I wasn’t ready to submit until early on the last day. Quite literally all I was doing was trying to submit my previously and thoroughly prepared entry, but hours later with the system continually crashing, I had to concede defeat, taking with me not $5000 but a valuable lesson, nonetheless.
When applying for anything big; in amount awarded, number of possible entrants, readership, possible benefits then consider the deadline very seriously and accommodate your practice to meet it. In other words help yourself, much like my friends and I used to help another friend of ours who was constantly late. It became the standard practice of our friendship group to arrange a time to meet and then depending on how far and/or important it was, tell our time challenged bud a time anywhere from half an hour to an hour beforehand. This way tempers weren’t frayed and a good night was had by all. To avoid the stress, annoyance and eventual need to acquiescence I’ve had in the last month, I recommend you try this method on your writerly self.
On a positive side, Journeygirl still has the grant she covets the most pending, some work out on submission and some other possibilities in the pipeline or coming into view on the horizon. (see below) What a long, rocky, difficult and exciting road we travel in the creative industries.
Farewell fellow travellers,
Savour the quest,
PS have a look at the wonderful cover illustration of the Creative Kids Tales Anthology in which you’ll find my very own Christmas story, ‘Except for the Mouse’. Details of launch and sale to come when they are at hand, so keep your eyes peeled on this blog and or find me on Facebook at Artelle Lenthall.