Three Incredible Grants & Opportunities for Women Writers

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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

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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.

Thank you again for your support!

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.

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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!

Five Books Every Writer Should Own

 

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by Jennifer Ward

Writing has always been part of my life in one way or another. As a child, my journey began with writing short stories and poems about family summer vacations. As a teenager, I kept a journal for many years, writing about crushes and teenage drama. Today, I’m grateful that I can say it is a daily part of my life. As most people would expect, I write a lot as an English Teacher and an MFA student. But I also spend substantial time working on my creative writing. Whether our passion is technical writing, copywriting, creative writing, or something else, as writers, we never stop improving our craft or looking for work.

Over the years, I have found this small stack of books to be incredibly useful in the pursuit of writing. I hope you find them helpful too.

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On Writing Well by William Zinsser

When I finished college, I was still looking for ways to improve my writing. During an afternoon of Google searching, I came across Zinsser’s book. I immediately ordered a copy and read it on my subway commute to and from work in Midtown. In those days, I had at least two hours of reading, Monday through Friday, which I often took advantage of.

Although this book was first published in 1976, it is up-to-date, addressing changes in the writing world making it relevant today. If you want to learn more about writing nonfiction, Zinsser—a lifelong journalist—offers some very sound advice in a tone that I found to be warm and friendly. I learned a lot from him about words, usage, style, and different types of nonfiction writing. William Zinsser passed away in 2015, a few years after I read his book. He remains immortal through his words, leaving behind a strong legacy in the writing world.

His classic guide is timeless and something we can all learn from.

Writer’s Market 100th Edition: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published by Robert Lee Brewer

In 2020, a fellow MFA student in a fiction writing course suggested picking up a copy of Writer’s Market. I’m happy I took his advice. This big book of nearly 1,000 pages is a reliable source for anything and everything a writer will need. It even includes advice on how to format a query letter and a chapter explaining how much to charge as a freelance writer. The pay rate chart continues for several pages breaking jobs down by the hour, project, and industry. This valuable source contains information about where to submit your work and how. Other editions focus on fiction and literary agents for those more interested in creative writing.

This trusted guide has been around for over a century—you can’t beat that.

The Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oats

Joyce Carol Oats, or as I call her, JCO, has been one of my favorite authors for decades. Her frequently anthologized short story, “Where Are you Going? Where Have You Been?” has left such an impression on me that I still think about it twenty years later. I’ve read several of her books and have found myself in awe of her writing and imagination. By the way, if you haven’t read her novel Zombie, you need to. I won’t say anything else. The less you know starting that book, the better.

Naturally, when I came across her book, The Faith of a Writer, I had to read it. Who wouldn’t want a glimpse into the private writing life of their favorite author? In a collection of essays, she elegantly writes about what makes a story striking and where she finds inspiration. Perhaps I am biased as a super fan, but I think everything she writes is brilliant.

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The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field Edited by Tara L. Masih

Looking further into my shelved writing books, I found another excellent source written by various experts in the field. This book offers some interesting prompts, such as one based on the Rorschach Test. There are several steps involved, but the overall goal here is to generate a list of images associated with an inkblot created by you. The writing assignment is to draft a flash fiction story using those images and words. Sounds challenging, right? It is, but it’s also fun.

What I like about this book is that it offers an example of a flash fiction story, an essay by the author, and a writing exercise for you to practice. If flash fiction isn’t your thing, Rose Metal Press has also published books on prose poetry and flash nonfiction.

The Freelancer’s Bible by Sara Horowitz with Toni Sciarra Poynter

I initially read The Freelancer’s Bible for a required business class I took while working on my master’s degree. Yet, since then, I have used this as a road map to building a new career which is growing into a small side business. This book often reads like a friend offering professional, no-nonsense advice. Who wouldn’t want that? Even if you aren’t new to the freelancing world, this book is filled with beneficial suggestions for continuing to grow your business, such as figuring out taxes, insurance, and all the other intricacies of self-employment. If you are interested in working as a freelance writer, I highly suggest picking up a copy of this informative guide.

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.

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