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Day 24 Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway: Gigi Rosenberg

Having a book published is always a momentous and exhausting occasion. So it’s nice to see Gigi Rosenberg relishing every moment. Please help me give Gigi a warm welcome and feel free to congratulate her.

Gigi Rosenberg is a writer, speaker and author of The Artist’s Guide to Grant Writing: How to Find Funds and Write Foolproof Proposals for the Visual, Literary, and Performing Artist. This book grew out of her professional development workshops taught in Portland, Chicago, New York, and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her writing has been published by Seal Press, The Oregonian, Jewish Review, and Parenting, performed at Seattle’s On the Boards, and broadcast on Oregon Public Radio. For the latest, visit gigirosenberg.com.

The Artist’s Guide To Grant Writing: How to Find Funds and Write Foolproof Proposals for the Visual, Literary, and Performing Artist empowers artists and writers by teaching them to write winning proposals and fundraise for their artistic endeavors. Written in an engaging and down-to-earth tone, Gigi Rosenberg’s book is a survival guide for navigating the competitive world of funding for individual artists.

1. How has writing (either just the act of writing or writing this book or both) impacted your self-confidence?

Writing a book is like getting a PhD. Of course you’re an expert on the topic to begin with or you couldn’t sell the book idea but the years you put into the research, writing and promotion require you to leave no stone unturned. I’ve been in and under every nook and cranny of this topic by now — this is a confidence-building experience!

2. What are three words that describe your creative book-writing process?

Unnerving, exciting, empowering.

3. What good has your book created in the world?

The book is helping artists and writers unsnarl the daunting world of grants and it’s tough love too. It’s teaching artists how much they gain by doing the hard work of articulating their idea and asking for what they want.

• • •

Gigi came and spoke at the Northwest Author Series. One of the topics she discussed that jumped out at me was the idea of believing that your work has enough value in the world to feel that it deserves funding. Generally speaking, do you feel that your writing is worthy of outside funding? There are no right answers here. This is just something that is interesting to consider if you never asked yourself the question before.

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! Thanks for spreading the word!

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  • Suzanne Kamata May 24, 2011, 9:47 am

    I believe that my writing is worthy of funding. I have written for money, and I have written for free. Sometimes the writing that I do for free is more difficult than the writing I do for money. I don’t think that getting paid for a piece of writing means that it is worth more than the writing that I do without expecting compensating. In fact, that writing is often riskier and more exciting, and maybe  more important. But it’s difficult to find time for the passion projects that might take many months when I have  to help feed my family.

  • Heidi Smith Luedtke May 24, 2011, 10:41 am

    I’m excited to learn more about Gigi’s topic, as I hadn’t ever thought about the idea of funding before. I already have a PhD, and I understand the ins and outs of funding for academic research. Support from granting agencies is immensely important for academic researchers, because it holds them accountable to rigorous standards while ensuring that they have the resources they need to dig deep and go long. I’m sure other exploratory and creative endeavors would benefit from the same kind of financial underwriting. Thanks for opening my eyes.

  • Renee May 24, 2011, 11:44 am

    I do think my writing is worthy of funding. I would love to actually find a grant in my home state that isn’t past the deadline and apply for it. The last one I found was perfect, but it is only offered every two years. I’m excited to see how this book can help unearth free funds that could help me finish and ultimately publish my work of fiction. I’m guessing organization and advance planning is the key . . . and I’m not so great at that right now, but I’m working on it!

  • Jen Henderson May 24, 2011, 12:09 pm

    I would hope any writer who dedicates their lives each day to writing feels that what they have to say is valuable enough for funding; I mean, isn’t publication often as smaller validation of this same idea? My own writing revolves around weather, health and safety issues, so I think my subjects by themselves are inherently valuable and I would probably continue to write about it with little or no funding. However, I think that for that value to transcend a personal dedication to the subject and affect a wider audience, funding has to be a part of the equation. Patronage of the arts is a historical precedent, albeit one that isn’t as common now, though I have seen individual donors contribute millions to make an idea happen. (And the most common question asked by donors, at a university at least, is “Where are the million dollar ideas?”). Now, writers don’t need millions, but a few thousand wouldn’t hurt–enough to make the day-to-day commitment to value more focused on the writing and less on the paycheck.

  • Meryl K Evans May 24, 2011, 12:54 pm

    I’ve looked at grants a few times and think it’d be an fascinating area to explore. I haven’t had the time — thankfully, I’m busy with paid assignments, not asking for funding or assignments — to explore this in depth. It’d be an area I’d look into if I had more freedom because I think my writing would be worth outside funding depending on finding the right source.

  • Kate Briles May 24, 2011, 2:07 pm

    Wow.  If you had asked that question at the beginning, I probably would have answered negatively. I really was more intrigued in the book because of artists I know . . . I’d like to help them by learning the grant-writing process.  But when I got to the question it sort of shocked me into reality . . . I am one of those artists!  My talent is worthy of outside funding!  I mean, my husband takes on extra housework so I can write, my friends help me with kids so I can write . . . if my work if valuable to them, why wouldn’t it be valuable to someone else?  That realization alone makes me feel like I’ve already won . . . even if I don’t win the book.  Thank you!

  • Diane J. May 24, 2011, 4:30 pm

    Way to give a person a complex! Kidding. I hope my writing would be worth funding. I mainly publish in regional parenting magazines, for nominal pay (which I get excited whenever the pay is $20 or more).

    As for my fiction writing. I don’t know. I am enjoying creating my characters and learning to improve my writing, so I would hope it could be funded under an entertainment category.

    Well, my brain needs more caffeine while I go ponder this subject. I never thought of grants before because I assumed they were only for educational purposes.

  • Annelise Kelly May 24, 2011, 4:41 pm

    No, I think my writing is for the free market. I’m not doing anything so terribly different or ground-breaking.  Would I like some funding to help develop my craft..?? Sure!

  • Laura Ackerman May 24, 2011, 4:48 pm

    Well, a lot of very useless things are funded all the time.  I often wonder why people fund such things.  Hmmm?  Such as end of the world predictions that don’t come true!  As a writer, I believe I have important things to share, tidbits of lessons learned that have lent themselves to wisdom as I have reflected on both my mistakes and my successes.  I gladly pay to benefit from other’s work and wisdom, and so, yes, I do believe my writing is worthy of funding.  In High School, one of my essays earned me a $1000 performing arts scholarship.  In a way that was the first funding of my writing!  And this question gave me the idea to write a drama teacher’s guide (I teach Drama to elementary school kids).  Thanks for the idea Gigi and Christina!

  • Elizabeth Leonard May 24, 2011, 7:26 pm

    I would love to get funding to work on my writing.  I currently have to squeeze it in between work, family and sleep. If I had even a little funding I think I could really focus and step back from the full and part-time jobs and focus on the the things I love–writing, family, and sleep.

  • JJ May 24, 2011, 8:51 pm

    I’ve done a little grant writing, and, although I have nowhere near the knowledge and experience of Gigi Rosenberg, I find it surprising how much funding really is out there for artists! And it’s money coming from philanthropists who care about preserving art, care about people who work at their craft, and, most of all, care about recording  a history of what the current world is like in a way that only artists can do. I’m working hard for my writing to accomplish just that, and, when it does, then yes, my work will absolutely be worthy of funding:)

  • Blarue May 24, 2011, 9:54 pm

    I haven’t thought of my writing as deserving of outside funding, but if I really think about it, yes, it is. First of all, because it is my work, and the laborer is worthy of his wages. And second, because I have lot to offer my readers in terms of experience as a wife and mother and liver of life. If people who hear my stories gain insight from them and are comforted and feel less lonely, then those who read them can benefit as well.

  • Mar Junge May 25, 2011, 12:29 am

    For the two years that I was a grant writer for Adolescent Counseling Services I had the privilege to train under Development Director Kara Mullen. Kara could approach someone at a reception and walk away with a check. She believed so strongly in our cause that there was never a doubt in her mind that the person would do the right thing and make a sizeable donation. As far as “funding” my writing, would I ask a benefactor to pay my living expenses so that I could take a year off to write fiction? No, because I haven’t proven my worth in that market. On the other hand, clients pay me to write because my content makes money for them. In both nonprofit and for-profit writing, the key to asking for funding is confidence.

  • Liz Sheffield May 25, 2011, 1:42 am

    Before I knew about Gigi, I didn’t really consider getting this type of funding for my writing. I do think my writing deserves funding, as does the writing of others. Writers contribute to our world, just like people in business or education or the arts contribute. Therefore, I and my fellow writers deserve to be paid. Boy, I am on a soap box. Now I’ll get off.

  • Carol J. Alexander May 25, 2011, 2:04 am

    I’ve never even
    thought of this before. I guess if I were writing something for a greater
    cause, other than how to make homemade laundry soap, than it would be worthy.
    But otherwise, I think that what I write is worthy of pay, yes, but funding is
    something I’ve really got to give some thought to.

  • Pattie May 25, 2011, 3:08 am

    I have never thought of grants for individual
    artists before, to be honest. The only grants I’ve known about have been for
    schools, or arts programs, not for individuals. 
    I will say that grant writing is an area I would like to learn about,
    both from an educator’s standpoint and now, from a writer’s standpoint. I have
    not had the opportunity to take a course or a workshop in grant writing thus
    far, and I think this book looks like a terrific resource.

  • Tia Bach May 25, 2011, 5:30 pm

    I was fortunate enough to see Gigi speak at the Maryland Writer’s Conference in Baltimore just last month. I’ll be honest, before then, I had no clue grants were available to the degree she illustrated. I absolutely believe my writing is worthy of funding, and I think it’s very important for other writers to feel the same. If it’s worthy of readers, it’s worthy of funding. Still, the idea of detailing WHY my writing is worthy is quite daunting. I felt so pumped up about it at the end of Gigi’s presentation and I follow her blog, so hopefully the confidence will continue to grow. To me it’s another version of the terrifying query letter. Can you tell I’m a first time author, just published in September 2010 and frantically still learning about this business?

  • Gigi Rosenberg May 25, 2011, 7:29 pm

    Tia: Great to cross paths with you again! Good luck on the giveaway! Of course the confidence will continue to grow. I’ll leave you with this quote right from the coffee cup I’m drinking out of: “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quite.” Richard Bach. Be well, Gigi

  • Cara Holman May 25, 2011, 10:02 pm

    Hmm, I never really thought about this before. I guess I’d
    have to weigh in by saying that if I was just collecting together family
    stories, then I probably wouldn’t feel justified asking for a grant. But for
    essays and poetry of general interest, that might help out another person, then
    perhaps I would consider funding. What I’m specifically thinking of right now
    is my cancer survivors’ writing group. For several years, we talked of putting
    together an anthology, but it never came off, due to time and monetary
    constraints. Now I’m thinking this project would be an excellent candidate for
    a grant; I know that at the time of my treatment and initial recovery period, I
    would have liked to see a collection of stories a little grittier than what is
    out there on the market. Don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against “uplifting
    stories”, and have penned a number of them myself. It is just that they don’t
    always reflect the true day-to-day reality of dealing with a cancer diagnosis,
    or watching a parent die.