last friday I mailed off my first grant application. ever.
I’ve long known about the concepts of grants, and have read author’s words of appreciation in their acknowledgements for this or that organization’s gift of this fellowship or that grant. my publishers have even discussed the possibility of digging up some grant money to help cover expenses on my current project. and the idea of a grant from a well-funded, well-meaning organization sounds like a fabulous idea.
so I did some research and found two grant opportunities for which my writing and my current project seem to meet the criteria. I read–at least thirteen times–the list of required forms, documents, and samples, and proceeded to create, fill-in, and piece together everything necessary for grant number one. I edited and proof-read and re-wrote and paused and pondered . . . and finally called it good and pressed the “print” button. 64 pages of paper later, I collated and clipped and gently tucked it all into a priority-mail envelope, attached appropriate postage, and mailed it away.
whether I am awarded one of their grants or not, I hurdled a new step in my path. I did something for the first time, and I dared to put myself out there as deserving of attention and support. they may laugh at my submission, they may think it incredible, they may decline to fund my project, or they may be thrilled to do so. I can’t know, I can’t predict, and that’s fine. I am proud of my application, and look forward to a big fat yes. I like the word yes.
this whole process, though, has led me to dream about the day when I might be in a position to grant grants. how terrific will that be? to be able to support others in their journeys, to be a small piece of new creations, to be someone who says yes to others . . . to foster dreams, to champion someone whose soul aches to create, to encourage people with vision. what a beautiful place to place your energy.
grant application number two is in my to-do pile, with a deadline of sometime in september. these grants are nothing I can count on, but the process of applying helps define my project and helps me take myself seriously. it’s a step in the direction of someday earning a grant that would allow me to focus entirely on a project (say, in a little cabin somewhere!), and to someday be one who is a grantor of grants.
I’ve done a lot of waiting in my life. in fact, I’ve become good at it. I am patient. I can out-wait a rainstorm, a winter storm, a teenager’s tantrum, my children’s father’s poorly-compensated job. an infected cut that resists healing, a lacrosse game played in a snowstorm, a home-remodeling crew whose priorities are radically different than mine.
I can wait. I am patient. but this doesn’t mean I like it.
when it comes to my writing life, patience seems to be its very foundation. and its walls are built of tenacity. I don’t believe there’s a ceiling, and the roof–which plays with the sky above and only provides a protective function when necessary–is made of joy, exaltation and delight loosely woven with thousands of whee‘s and woo-hoo‘s.
I have waited more than eleven years for a yes from an agent or publisher. and that’s counting backwards to the “completion” date of my first book-length manuscript, a memoir, which still resides in the proverbial drawer. (and on a cd: always back up your work.) and here’s the thing: I am not giving up. this is where patience and tenacity sit quietly together, doing their little subconscious work, changing atoms and cells from eager, impatient things to calm, faith-filled, dogged centers of groundedness.
I envision the day–hour–moment when I receive that first real yes. I’ve won a writing award; I’ve received oodles of positive feedback; I’ve heard yes-but not for us. the genuine yes is coming, I know this . . . but I’d sure like to know from what direction it’s coming so I could meet it halfway.
until then, I just keep working. I write, I edit, I write some more. I help friends with their projects, I jot down ideas when they flow and step away from my notebooks when my creative river dwindles. most days I carry my notebook around with me just in case. I begin drafts, I let them rest until they either find their way to germination or sink back down into fallowness. I am nothing but tenacious.
some mornings I wake up thinking today is the day; most mornings I don’t. most mornings I wake up thinking today is another step in the process. because even after that incredible yes will come days–weeks–months of continued patience. revision. adjustment. editing. more tenacity.
I didn’t choose an easy life. or rather, an easy life did not choose me . . . I’m quite certain my heart and soul have given me little choice in the matter. in being true to myself, there’s nothing else to do but continue being patient. out-waiting bad weather, out-waiting a fear-filled marketplace, out-waiting indecision. continuing to have belief in my path, remaining tenacious. tenacity, from the latin tenere, to hold. that’s me. patient, holding.
patient, holding, never giving up the dream. just watch me.
life shifts in subtle ways daily, most so minor we can neither see nor feel them. we age, our bike tires wear thinner and thinner, dust collects on our bedside stack of books.
and then there are larger shifts: we give birth, we change jobs, we move. we choose a new school, a new career, a new partner, we take up a new sport.
I’ve been through so many shifts and changes in the past 10 years I don’t know that I could ever list them all, but today’s is momentous, so I am sharing it here: my first book is in print! (well, it’s not my first book, but it’s the first of my books to be in print.)
released yesterday, Faith Greater Than Pain is available on amazon.com, createspace.com, and on FaithGreaterThanPain.com.
Doc Cleland and I have been working on this project together since june of 2010, and we are thrilled to be where we are, with a real book in hand. we are in the midst of marketing madness, working on mailing lists and store contacts and bribery lists . . . asking everyone we know to help spread the word, using every tool we have to get the information out.
I, of course, would rather just be writing away on my next project (stay tuned), but for the last chunk of time I’ve been editing, proofing, and formatting, and now I’ve plunked my marketing cap on my head. writing me is not pleased, but realistic me knows that as gratifying as it is to write, it’s even more gratifying if someone actually reads what you write.
so, if you’re intrigued, here’s a link to doc’s great video that tells you about the book, and if you have a spare moment in your day today, wish me well. wish me sales and positive reviews, wish me fulfillment and encouragement to keep on with the next project.
because as sure as my tires wear thinner and those wrinkles around my eyes deepen, I dream about spending the rest of my life writing, and–ideally–being read.