Finding Some Money to Pay the Bills

Grants are great since they’re free money but they do offer some disadvantages. Often, they come with restrictions and regulations, hoops that one has to jump through or criteria one has to meet. As a woman who writes Science Fiction, some grants may be open to me that are not open to those that are not female or writing within my genre. Another issue with grants, besides the crowd of people applying for them, is that they aren’t often large sums of money. Yes, $500 can stretch a pretty far way and every little bit counts, but sometimes the payout isn’t worth the effort. If a grant isn’t too restrictive and I have a half decent chance of getting it, I’ll likely apply. Check out the resources page for some listings.

A huge variety of alternate funding for a freelance writer, developmental editor and/or writing coach exists.

Residencies are another beast. They don’t usually offer anything monetarily, except maybe a small stipend for food, but they do offer a chance to get away from daily life and work on nothing but writing in a creatively conducive environment. There’s a huge variety of them, but again, there’s also a huge pool of people vying for a limited number of spots. I don’t feel the immediate need to battle others just to slip away for a few weeks. Yes, a residency can add some cred to one’s writing reputation, but I’m simply not at that point nor do I feel a need to remove myself from my home to do what needs to be done.

I’ve Made My Retreat at Home

            Now, something that’s been bouncing around in my mind is crowd funding. It works sometimes and allows others to feel included in my writing, my process, opens up doors of communication and giving in both directions. I’ve seen GoFundMe accounts sky rocket and shoot right passed goals, but I’ve also seen people pleading but collecting nothing. Kickstarter seems interesting, well organized, and presents an interesting option to obtain a little extra cash. It would require more investment on my part than a GoFundMe account, since there are gifts or prizes at varying levels, but the personal investment doesn’t need to be huge, just something as a thank you that boosts goodwill between the giver and the receiver.   

            The process of obtaining alternate funding can be strenuous and tedious which makes it a mirror, in a way, of the publication processes. For grants, the processes feel almost exactly like trying to publish through traditional channels. Meet the criteria, submit the request, move on with your life and either do or don’t hear back. Plain as pie. Crowd funding requires more time invested, more energy, and over a longer period of time. One has to build a great presentation to post, then keep up with it. The person has to do some advertising to let people know that there is an option to give and convince them to take a step. On Kickstarter, specifically, there are requirements to reward those that give at certain levels and producing those rewards can really eat into writing/working time. Then there’s the thanking and selling and moving on to the next project with, hopefully, a few people coming along for the ride. The whole process feels like self-publication, especially in the self-promotion aspects.

It’s been a long hard road and lately it’s gotten a little bumpier. But, this may be my chance. I’m going to keep striving, keep working, and keep creating. Maybe I’ll go freelance full-time, maybe I won’t. But if I do, I’ll be ready. That’s the plan, anyway.   

Catch ya on the flip side!


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