Monday, March 01, 2010

Things I Have Learned While Applying for an NEA Grant

1) Just because you do something easily one year, doesn't mean it will happen again.

2) If an application is submitted 5 times instead of once, they will just delete the other 4 applications without sending an email that says, "You're an idiot." And you don't even need to contact them, they will just fix it out of the goodness of their hearts.

3) There are very nice people working for the NEA who will help you and answer your questions. They are incredibly kind and do not make you feel stupid.

4) The version of the poem selection you will send them will change at least 5 times and you may (will probably) forget your page numbers. Make that 6 times.

5) In the statement, they will ask you how the money will help. You will want to say, bills, mortgage, food, but will say something more like, "It will give me time to write more poems." To be honest, it will give you less stress to write more poems, that's true too.

6) You may have to look up what congressional district you live in even though you know your congressman. This may make you feel bad about yourself for about 2 seconds.

7) If you think it will take X number of hours, double that. Everything takes longer than you think.

8) You will question yourself-- can I really be chosen for an NEA grant? Yes. Yes, you can.

9) Nothing good can come of bragging, except when filling out a grant application. This is NOT your sister's wedding, this is no time to be humble or a wallflower, wear your best dress and stand out.

10) Never forget, a grant is like the lottery-- you can't win, if you don't play.

Good luck to you!


  1. Oh Kelli, I wish you the best of luck with this. What a testament to perseverance! I especially identify with doubling the time estimation factor. So true!

    Fingers crossed, Diana

  2. i hope someone i know gets it! i flaked out when my computer would not open the pdf files after installing all the right software etc....maybe next year :)

    and now i should go buy a lottery ticket.

  3. Diana - Thank you!

    Jessie, those PDF files... Ugh, I had issue with them too. Yes, if you didn't make the NEA, do buy a lottery ticket! And good luck! ;-)


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