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Three Incredible Grants & Opportunities for Women Writers

Photo by Katie Harp on Unsplash

By Jennifer Ward

March 1st marked the beginning of Women’s History Month in the United States. In recognition of women’s contributions to our society, I thought this would be the perfect time to share a list of alternative funds for women writers. If you are an unknown writer and just starting out, money doesn’t come as easily as it might for established authors like Margaret Atwood, Gillian Flynn, or J.K  Rowling. Considering this, how will you fund your next book? You could look into applying for a grant. Let’s look at a few foundations that offer exciting opportunities for women.

  1. The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund

The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund is a foundation that offers grants between $500-$1500 to women writers and artists. Barbara Deming was a feminist, writer, teacher, and advocate for social change in the twentieth century. The foundation accepts applications from January 1-31 on an annual basis. They award fiction, mixed genre, and visual art annually, and nonfiction and poetry in odd years.

2. The National League of American Pen Women

By AgnosticPreachersKid – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91842492

Did you know that The National League of American Pen Women is an organization that dates back to 1897? Their headquarters, pictured here, can be found in Washington, D.C., and is one of many branches across the United States. In the late 19th century, women were still prohibited from joining male-only professional organizations. This league became a source of hope and a place where women and their talents could be seen and heard.

Today NLAPW has a literary publication called The Pen Woman Magazine which features art, writing, and music. They also award grants and scholarships to women on an annual basis. If you are interested, you can apply to become a member. Check out their website for requirements and details.

Grants and Scholarships

3. UCROSS

Photo by Cora Leach on Unsplash

Located in Wyoming, UCROSS offers writers a rent-free, uninterrupted space to work. This organization, founded in 1981 by Raymond Plank, has continued to provide a welcoming, respectful, calm, and inviting place for writers to work beneath the big, beautiful sky. UCROSS has a culinary chef who makes lunch and dinner for writers at the ranch. If you live in the area, you can apply to be a volunteer to greet visitors and attend public events. They also run an art gallery that features work created by former guests, open to the public, free of charge.

Which one interests you most? I suppose it depends on what you are looking for. I wouldn’t mind leaving New York City to explore the west. I think the pictures of the UCROSS landscape are absolutely breathtaking. Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!

Hey there! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog post, please like or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can subscribe to future blog posts at the top of the sidebar to your right or connect with me on Twitter: @jennwardwrites.

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The Pros and Cons of the Hemingway Editor App

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by Jennifer Ward

“The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

In a recent discussion in my Editing and Coaching class, my classmates and I talked about editing approaches. I mentioned the Hemingway app, and I was surprised to find that most of my classmates had yet to hear of it. About a year ago, I gave the app a trial run. Since then, I have continued to use it regularly. In comparison with other writing apps like Grammarly, Hemingway is built differently. It won’t pick up tiny errors like misplaced commas, but it will help you strengthen your writing piece in other ways. In life, we need different friends for different reasons, which is how writing apps work. We can’t have only one. What one friend brings, another one offers something completely different. The Hemingway app is like a friend who has a certain je ne sais quoi we’re all drawn to. We don’t always know how to express how great something or someone is, but we know we love it.

Ernest Hemingway was unique in his style of writing and as an individual. His real strength as a writer was in his short, succinct sentences and straightforwardness. He was a master at dialogue, creating conversations that would read in a realistic way. This type of writing leads the reader closer to the heart of the story without having to find their way through loads of adverbs, adjectives, and metaphors. Some of us prefer a more direct approach when it comes to fiction, and on the other hand, some of us love lengthy, flowery prose. Neither is wrong. This app is beneficial if your fiction writing style tends to be more descriptive, like me. But, even if you are drafting a piece of nonfiction, like a blog post or article, this app works well in improving overall clarity. Let’s get into the pros and cons of this handy app.

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Pros

  • There is a free version you can try first.
  • It comes with a built-in counter that shows how many words, characters, sentences, paragraphs, and letters your writing piece contains.
  • Great for blog posts, articles, and other short pieces of writing.
  • It tracks your reading time.
  • It provides a readability scale by using a grade-level system.
  • Based on the length of the piece, it will set a limit of adverbs.
  • It highlights the use of passive voice.
  • The app also notes sentence structure and how many sentences are difficult to read, pushing you to write clear and punchy prose.
  • You can easily copy and paste your writing into the app and toggle back and forth from your manuscript if needed.
  • If you like it and decide to purchase it, it costs $19.99 for Windows or Mac (I opted for the paid version after testing it out).

Cons

  • This app isn’t designed to pick up spelling or punctuation errors.
  • This app doesn’t integrate into Microsoft Word or Outlook like Grammarly.
  • Not great for longer pieces of writing.
  • It doesn’t offer formatting or organization suggestions like other apps.

Below is a screenshot of what your text might look like inside the app.

Which writing apps do you prefer? Have you used the Hemingway app? Have you found it helpful? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.

Hey there! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog post, please send me a like or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can subscribe to future blog posts at the top of the sidebar to your right or connect with me on Twitter: @jennwardwrites.

Thank you again for your support!

The Next Book On My List: Women Talking

 

Someone recently recommended the novel Women Talking by Canadian author Miriam Toews. The film adaptation is out now in theaters but I think I’ll wait until I finish the book. It sounded so interesting I ordered a copy on Amazon. Of course, I wanted to share it with you as well. This one seems like a mix of a feminist tale and psychological fiction based on real occurrences of sexual violence that took place between 2005 and 2009. While this is a sensitive topic, a book like this begs for discussion about these strong women who survived of a great deal of pain and trauma.

Is this a book you would read? Have you already read it? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.

Hey there! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog post, please let me know by sending a like or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can also subscribe to future blog posts at the top of the sidebar to your right or connect with me on Twitter: @jennwardwrites.

Thank you again for your support!

In the Style of William Faulkner

by Jennifer Ward

Back when I was in high school and college, I read a few of William Faulkner’s books and short stories. Most of us have at some point read or heard of “A Rose for Emily” or come across some of his other frequently anthologized stories. I still remember his novel, As I Lay Dying (the first one I read). My first impressions were: I’ve never read a book like this. What an incredible story, and what a unique way to tell it.

By Published in New York by Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith. Designer uncredited. – Scan via Heritage Auctions. Cropped from the original image., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91865318

The southern gothic narrative unfolds through the eyes of 15 different characters, some of whom are related to Addie, the mother of the Bundren family. Early on, she passes away, and much of the story is about the journey to bury her in Jefferson, Mississippi. Selfish motives or not, the characters continue on their trip as we learn about the current situation through many perspectives.

Photo by Mark McGregor on Unsplash

Last week I was challenged in a fiction writing class to mimic an author I admire, and I chose Faulkner. Although he is a difficult author to imitate, I admire him for his experimental side and originality. Faulkner is known for his slow, lengthy descriptions of characters and objects. His sentences are often complex and quite different from Hemingway’s sparse style (a near complete opposite). Faulkner’s writing is a slow burn, and I tried to emulate that with the description below. The characters and situation were drawn from my novel in progress.


It was a Friday evening in mid-June when Hayley walked down the old Brooklyn Street. It was perhaps a strange time of day to be heading to a job interview, but she agreed last week to meet Mrs. Ryan to discuss the proposed tutoring position. She had assumed, at first, the house belonged to her but learned toward the end of their last conversation that it was owned by her parents. Since the death of Mr. Ryan, Mrs. Ryan and her daughter Julia have been living here, and it was explained that if hired, this is where Hayley would tutor Julia over the summer.

1720 Ridge Road was a large, fairy-tale-like cottage made of uncut stones of different colors and sizes; somewhat pieced together haphazardly like a jigsaw puzzle, situated on what was considered by locals as one of the quietest streets by the Narrows Bay. Although the house was similar in style to a cottage, it was anything but small. Across the front of the house, there was a long row of double-hung windows with brown shutters facing the vast lawn.

A grand, wrought-iron gate surrounded the sloped property; the top of it was adorned with an intricate leafy design. Over the years, she had read about houses like this one, but she had never visited such an unusual place with this much character. It was as if she had stepped out of Brooklyn and into another world.

From the corner of her eye, she noticed Mrs. Ryan standing in the garage doorway beside a row of hedges. Hayley waved and walked over, slowly pushing the heavy gated door aside.


As of 2022, some of Faulkner’s first stories entered the public domain. If you’re interested in his life and legacy, you can learn more at https://williamfaulknersociety.com/

Do you have a favorite Faulkner story or a most-loved author you admire? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.

Hey there! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog post, please let me know by sending a like or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can also subscribe to future blog posts at the top of the sidebar to your right or connect with me on Twitter: @jennwardwrites.

Thank you again for your support!

My New Year’s Resolutions

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by Jennifer Ward

New Year’s resolutions have been around for ages. According to history.com, about 4,000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first group of people to make New Year’s resolutions. I’m sure, though, back then, it didn’t look the way it does today. The ancient Babylonians weren’t promising themselves to lose that last ten pounds they gained over the holidays. It probably had more to do with basic survival, like harvesting crops and building their civilization. And here we are, thousands of years later, carrying out an ancient tradition, always trying to better ourselves.

I am someone who has almost always made New Year’s resolutions for myself. Many people aren’t fans of the New Year’s resolution tradition for obvious reasons (which I can understand). Nearly every year, some of us make them, and more often than not, we break them.

In the past, I’ve made long lists with no specific target date or plan in mind. Recently, I’ve been working on goal setting with my students. We’ve been using SMART goals as a strategy. If you aren’t familiar with this acronym, it stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. That means that identifying a goal you want to work toward is only part of it; the other part is figuring out how you will get there.

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

This time round, I’m doing things a little differently. So, this year, I thought of some very realistic goals that I’m working on. I’ve separated my goals into two lists: my personal and career-oriented goals. If you are wondering what goals are on my lists, here they are:

Personal Goals

  1. Meet new people
  2. Take breaks from working
  3. Travel more
  4. Take care of my health
  5. Start exercising again

Career-Oriented / Education Goals

  1. Work on getting published again
  2. Continue to build and update my website
  3. Start working on my thesis
  4. Finish my MFA degree
  5. Establish a routine for writing

I know that I need to make some changes in my life and be aware of my goals. I will continually remind myself what I want in my life and ask myself what I will do to get it. Even if we don’t fulfill every single goal by the end of the year, it isn’t bad to write them down and at least try to work on them. It gives us something else to get up for every day.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Dreams, Stories, and Publication

 

Photo by JK Park on Unsplash

by Jennifer Ward

I have some exciting news to share! About a month ago, I received the message that my essay, “The Courage to Rekindle a Dream,” would be published in The Penman Review. And, sure enough, on December 23rd, it was on their front page! I cannot begin to describe how I feel right now because I am still in shock (in a good way, of course!)—being published two days before Christmas makes it even better!

I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to write about how I overcame college and career-changing obstacles, but I never got around to it. Until last summer when I couldn’t do anything but write.

After being diagnosed with COVID and another common virus, I began writing this essay. Having both illnesses at the same time hit me very hard. Last June, I was in the hospital and missed nearly three weeks of work. Since then, I’ve spent the second half of 2022 recovering from lung and heart inflammation, among other complications. I spent months in bed, barely able to walk to my mailbox or cook for myself. What else is a bedridden writer to do? Write, of course.

This essay is not only a story of my early adult life struggles but also a piece of work I poured my heart into while in bed, very sick. And it happens to be my first officially published piece of writing too! This is a huge accomplishment, but it also means everything to me to share my life with the world. It’s been a long journey to get to where I am today. In my twenties and early thirties, I had dreams of teaching and writing, and now, here I am. Dreams, stories, and publication, in that order!

Last Friday, one of my students gave me a Christmas card. Inside the card, she wrote: “Dear Ms. Ward, I hope your holidays are amazing and healthy! I do hope to continue to thrive in your class. I really believe you can fulfill your dream to be a writer!” I haven’t told my student yet, but I was published the same day she gave me that card. It is so incredibly important for others to support us, and I’m glad she already knows that. And that’s what my essay is all about—dreams, determination, and believing the impossible is possible. So, with all that said, have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2023!

To read the entire essay, click here.

Hey there! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this blog post, please let me know by sending a like or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can also subscribe to future blog posts at the top of the sidebar to your right. Connect with me on Twitter: @jennwardwrites.

Thank you again for your support!

Three Essential Steps to Starting a Freelancing Business

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@retrosupply?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">RetroSupply</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/writing?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>
Photo by RetroSupply on Unsplash

by Jennifer Ward

If you want to get your freelance writing business off the ground but aren’t sure where to start, you aren’t alone. Starting a business can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. There’s a lot of flexibility that comes with working for yourself, but with that freedom comes many strange twists and turns. Like venturing into any unfamiliar area, it can be tricky. Where does someone begin? Well, the first thing is to have an idea of your goals and where you would like to end up. With that said, I suggest taking three essential steps to establish your freelance business.

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

Determining a Business Structure

Understanding how your business will operate is crucial to establishing a freelance business. Will you find someone to partner with? Will you work alone? Those seem like basic questions, but they are big decisions that will significantly impact your business’ labor, profits, and other aspects. Sara Horowitz, the author of The Freelancer’s Bible, urges readers to consider that the choices we make about business structure will affect record keeping, tax procedures, and personal liability, among other things…(262). Seeing which model also fits best with your vision (sole proprietor, partnership, or LLC) will help you figure out what makes the most sense in terms of time, finances, maintenance, and taxes. Whether you are just beginning to establish this business or reconsidering your current model, a business structure will not only influence everything you do in the first few months, but it will also have a significant long-term impact.

Some questions to consider:

  • Will you work alone?
  • Will you work with a partner?
  • Will you establish yourself as a sole proprietor or LLC (Limited Liability Company)?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of registering as an LLC?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of registering as a sole proprietor?
  • Will you use your name as your business name?
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Writing a Micro Business Plan

Writing a micro business plan is basically a small business plan. This will outline what your business will offer, how it will make you money, and who your customers will be. Sara Horowitz mentions determining the tactical things you’ll do in the first year or two (261). That means making sure to include a list of target clients, knowing how you will communicate with them, building a portfolio of work or writing samples, and the professional goals you hope to achieve. As you learn about the industry, other aspects of business can always be added later. But writing out a rough outline of what you will be doing in the first couple of years will be a solid place to start.

Some questions to consider:

  • Who will be my target audience or consumers?
  • How will I communicate with my consumers (email, phone, etc.)?
  • What will be my hours of operation?
  • How will I secure the funds to start this business?
  • How will I charge clients for my work? In other words, will you establish an hourly rate or request a specific amount for the entire project?
  • What will I include in my writing portfolio?
  • How will I market and brand myself?
  • What do I hope to achieve in the first three months of operating my business?
  • What do I hope to achieve within the first year of operating my business?
Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

Understanding How You Will Support Your Business 

Supporting yourself financially is another crucial step toward starting a freelance business. If you are working full-time, perhaps your income from your day job will provide enough support to pursue your freelancing business before it takes off. I teach English and Drama classes, Monday through Friday. I am a public school teacher and do not earn a high salary. However, my teaching job has provided me with a steady income, which counts for a lot. For me, it made the most sense to continue teaching and let this be my primary source of income—supporting me personally and funding my freelance business. Having multiple income streams is an excellent approach if you can manage it. You will survive the dry spells when you have less freelance work or no work at all. Having multiple income streams means having security and something to fall back on.

Some questions to consider:

  • How will I support myself while building my business?
  • How much capital do I need?
  • How will I secure the funds?
  • Will I develop multiple income streams? If so, how?
  • Will I have enough money to advertise on social media and other platforms?
  • Where do I want to be financially five years from now?

I suggest diving deep into the big parts of your business, like money, structure, and a plan. The other smaller pieces can be figured out later on. What new business ventures will you embark on in 2023?

References

Horowitz, Sara. The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams on Your Terms. Workman Publishing Co., 2012.

Hey there! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, please let me know by sending a like or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can also subscribe to future blog posts at the top of the sidebar to your right. Connect with me on Twitter: @jennwardwrites.

Thank you again for your support!

The Softer Side of Tupac Shakur: Poetry, Life, & Wisdom

Photo by Trust “Tru” Katsande on Unsplash

by Jennifer Ward

When most of us hear the name Tupac Shakur, we think of 90s rap music, violence, and a rather tough exterior. But underneath that hard shell lies a much softer side of him that few people realize existed. After his death, some of his most intimate, hand-written poems, including a book of his childhood poetry and illustrations, were uncovered. His poetry, which is quite heartfelt and profound, offers a window into his personal life, allowing us to see far beyond his hip-hop persona. While the lyrics in some of his rap songs were offensive enough to insult most women and anyone he hated, his poetry is quite the contrast with his music and the image he portrayed.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The Rose that Grew from Concrete

By TUPAC SHAKUR

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.

This is the first poem of his that I ever read. It quickly became my favorite because it is so relatable. There is a strong, inspirational message here when thinking about life’s hardships. The rose is likely a metaphor for Tupac’s struggles on his road to stardom and success. Flowers are enchanting, especially when they bloom, even more so when unexpected. What has resonated most with me here is his unwavering determination to become something, despite the low expectations of others and the odds stacked against him in a rather cold, hard, and overlooked place. His poem also reveals the importance of holding onto those dreams and not getting stuck on seeking validation from others. Nature is fleeting, and so are moments in life, don’t waste time. Know your worth, fight for your dreams, and keep moving forward. I love it.

After reading that poem, I bought a collection of his hand-written poetry bearing the same title, The Rose that Grew from Concrete. What I found was a book of thought-provoking poems with poignant themes.

“Under the Skies Above” is another poem in this collection that reveals his pain and inner strength when dealing with an unthinkable tragedy.

Photo by Timo Volz on Unsplash

Under the Skies

By TUPAC SHAKUR

My child is out there somewhere
under the skies above
waiting anxiously 4 u and me
2 bless it with our love

A part of me a part of u
and a part of this love we share
will protect my unborn child
who lives dormant out there somewhere
Sometimes in my dreams
I imagine what it would be like
How could I properly guide him
when even I don’t know what’s right

Whether he is born in wealth or poverty
there will be no deficiency in love
I welcome this gift of life
given from GOD under the skies above

This poem is heartbreaking, showing the couple’s excitement, and then their devastating loss. But it’s more than just a sad poem. It reveals an incredible amount of faith and inner strength needed to cope with such an awful, life-changing tragedy. In the end, he reflects that although it wasn’t the outcome they had hoped for, he chooses to see it as a gift from God. I found this poem to be sensitive, inspirational, and positive. It isn’t always easy to communicate that when tackling heavy subjects like this.

This last poem I’m going to share was dedicated in memory of Vincent van Gogh, aptly titled “Starry Night.”

Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Starry Night

By TUPAC SHAKUR

a creative heart, obsessed with satisfying
This dormant and uncaring society
you have given them the stars at night
and u have given them Bountiful Bouquets of Sunflowers
But 4 u there is only contempt
and though u pour yourself into that frame
and present it so proudly                                                                                                      this world could not accept your masterpieces
from the heart

So on that starry night
u gave 2 us and
u took away from us
The one thing we never acknowledged
your life

Tupac understood the struggles of an artist. Through his poem “Starry Night,” he showed appreciation for the talented Vincent van Gogh, who no one significantly noticed until after his death. For many artists, including van Gogh and Tupac, it isn’t about making money; it’s about sharing your gifts with the world. Van Gogh’s gift was painting. Tupac’s gift was writing. Tupac had that incredible drive and passion for being creative. Through his poetry, he shared a hidden talent with us, revealing that he is truly one of a kind.

Hey there! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, please let me know by sending a like or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! The original blog post was published on Vocal Media and featured as a top story in their Beat community. You can subscribe to future blog posts here at the top of the sidebar to your right. Connect with me on Twitter: @jennwardwrites. 

Thank you again for your support!

Halsey Street: A Brooklyn Story about Loss, Gentrification, and Relationships

Photo by Josh Wilburne on Unsplash

By Jennifer Ward

As we approach Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to write about a novel I read that focuses a lot on the intricacies of family relationships. When I pick up a new book and begin reading, a few things I look for are strong characters, a compelling setting, and poignant themes. Three years ago, I stumbled upon a beautifully-written book with all these qualities and more.

As a woman born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I was immediately drawn to Naima Coster’s debut novel, Halsey Street. I had a feeling I would love her book, and I was right. Her contemporary fiction story introduces Penelope Grand, a young woman moving from Philadelphia back to her old neighborhood—Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. It’s an emotional journey with an ending I did not expect.

Coster’s protagonist, Penelope, is a talented, struggling artist looking for success and her place in the world. She finds herself working in a less desirable position as a substitute teacher to make ends meet. Like other aspects of her life, her temporary job is not what she envisioned for herself upon graduating college. Her relationships with both of her parents are strained, one living in Brooklyn, the other abroad. Perhaps it is the pain of her distanced relationship with her mother that I related to most.

Photo by Enzo Ticà on Unsplash

Penelope returns to Brooklyn to help her ill father. Upon her arrival, the neighborhood of her youth is almost unrecognizable due to gentrification. The setting serves as a metaphor for the belonging the native residents once had and now long for. Penelope rents a room in the attic of the Harper’s brownstone, a few blocks from her father. When she first moved into their house, she walked down a long hallway of closed doors, further suggesting the plight of those underprivileged. Even the tiny room she occupies also hints at the marginalization experienced by the area’s long-time residents.

The Brooklyn setting is almost a character itself with its beautiful culture, way of life, and values so deeply ingrained in its residents. As the neighborhood changes, the setting becomes such a crucial part of her story that it could not have the same depth without it. Coster has the ability to connect with audiences who have felt the impact of gentrification in Brooklyn or other large cities across the United States.

Penelope’s entire life seems to float in this constant state of loneliness and limbo, perhaps making this story so nuanced and relatable. As I continued to read, I felt sad throughout a good portion of the novel, but I also felt a range of other emotions. Her struggle to succeed in a world of inequality is unmistakable. She isn’t perfect, and neither is the world she lives in, but she’s a strong woman who doesn’t give up, managing to care for herself and others around her with dignity and respect.

Through the telling of a family saga, Halsey Street reveals an important theme of forgiveness. The past and present moments of Penelope’s relationships with her parents are woven, revealing their complexity, and depth. The act of forgiveness might be one of the most challenging things for us to understand and embrace. To have it is truly a gift. Through her difficult journey, I saw a realistic and honest depiction of life, and the pain that comes with family conflict.

Photo by Pedro Lastra on Unsplash

Another theme I found in Halsey Street is the human need to belong. You don’t have to be a Brooklyn-born resident to know what that feels like—it’s something that is part of all of us. Whether it is belonging to a small group of friends, a church, a team, or something bigger, the need to connect with others and feel important is a universal desire. For the native residents of Penelope’s neighborhood, gentrification not only took their homes and businesses but also their sense of pride and belonging. As a reader, I felt it too. Halsey Street sheds light on the importance of having people stay rooted in their communities and its bearing on Penelope, the people of Brooklyn, and her readers.

Hey there! Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, please let me know by sending a like or comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can read future articles by subscribing to my blog here. Connect with me on Twitter: @jennwardwrites.

Thank you again for your support.

Three Incredible Programs That Fund Emerging Writers

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by Jennifer Ward 

“The writer must earn money in order to be able to live and write, but he must by no means live and write for the purpose of making money.”

Karl Marx

Making a living as a writer isn’t easy, and neither is funding creative writing projects. We write because we love it, not to get rich. But how do we survive as writers? It is one of the few professions an individual can earn less money than teaching. As a writer and a teacher, I can attest to that. If you are a writer as well, the information here may interest you.

I’ve been doing some digging to unearth some of the best residencies and fellowships for writers. I’m a New Yorker who loves the outdoors, so I searched for programs in and outside the city with reasonable fees and requirements. If you’re trying to get your work published and find ways to network, these programs can help. Here are a few options I found during my Google searches that seem very appealing.

Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

Norton Island Residency Program

This writing residency, established over 20 years ago, is off the beautiful coast of Maine on Norton Island. The program allows writers to experience writing in one of seven cabins in a creative, natural space. I don’t know about you, but I would love to be on an island and hear nothing but the rhythmic sound of waves.

I stayed in a bed and breakfast in Acadia National Park a few summers ago, and I can imagine what this would be like—no phone, no television, and no distractions. Sounds like a dream. Getting my firewood? I’m on board with that, too, as long as I don’t have to use an ax. I’ve been camping before, and this seems like roughing it a bit more than what I’ve experienced. However, at the same time, it is very appealing since it is offered in the summer, and I love Maine.

Pros: Meet other writers, enjoy the fresh air, be at one with nature, and live in peace and quiet.

Cons: No running water for 10 days (in the cabins), daily cooking and cleaning responsibilities (if you don’t like chores), nights can be chilly, and there is no connection to the internet on the island.

Duration: This residency lasts for 10 days during the summer.

Fees: Playwright Phil Atlakon offers this residency for a flat fee of $150. Yes—you read that right. It is $150. There is a small application fee as well, which is very reasonable.

Requirements: This program requires fiction writers to submit 15-30 pages of work, but the program welcomes all kinds of artists and writers.

Photo by Jialin Hu on Unsplash

The New York City Emerging Writer’s Fellowship

This program, created by The Center for Fiction, is open to writers living within the five boroughs of New York City. The area is beautiful but very busy. I have lived in Brooklyn most of my life, and I work about 30 minutes away. It’s not exactly a place where you can take your time driving around. It’s more of a place to walk or take a cab. If you are a fan of the late author Frank McCourt, you might find it interesting that it’s blocks away from where he once lived on Atlantic Avenue.

This fellowship is open to all ages and supports emerging fiction writers. Their definition of “emerging writers” does not consist of someone an independent or major publisher has already published. Last year, they accepted nine fellows. Their application window closed in May 2022 but should reopen soon.

Pros: Meet other writers, group dinners with agents and other important people in the publishing industry, studio space, $5,000 grant, mentorship with an editor, lots of bars and restaurants in the area, anthology publication, no application fee (0_0).

Cons: It’s highly competitive, and the area is a bit congested with traffic.

Duration: This fellowship lasts one full year.

Fees: No application fee.

Requirements: This program requires a fiction writing sample that is less than 7,500 words unless you are submitting a piece of flash fiction. The writing sample may be either a novel excerpt or one complete short story.

Photo by Yuval Zukerman on Unsplash

The Edith Wharton-Straw Dog Writers Guild Writers-in-Residence Program

Don’t let the extra-long name deter you. This program, in Lenox, Massachusetts, is located at the former home of American novelist Edith Wharton. Although Wharton died about 85 years ago, her legacy and work remain quite influential in the writing world.

In partnership with Straw Dog Writers Guild, they offer a residency during March for a handful of talented writers. From that group, they select three writers to stay for one of three weeks in March. The program is open to emerging writers of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and plays. The program provides living space nearby if you decide to stay for three weeks. This seems like an ideal choice for a writer living in or near Massachusetts and working part-time. The application window typically opens in September and closes in October. The window just closed, but it’s something to consider for next year.

Pros: Meet other writers, $500 stipend, workspace at The Mount (pictured above), and they also welcome writers of various genres.

Cons: The residency doesn’t last long; it’s in March and hard to do if you work full-time like me.

Duration: This residency lasts one week.

Fees: $25 application fee (waived if you are a member of the Straw Dog Writers Guild).

Requirements: This program requires a fiction writing sample that consists of 1,500 words, a curriculum vitae, and a statement of purpose.

If I wasn’t teaching full-time, I would apply to these programs in a heartbeat. However, the residency on Norton Island is a possibility for me since a summer commitment is one that I can do. Are there any programs that you would apply for?

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