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Many successful authors began their writing careers while working at a less creatively stimulating day job. Still, it is possible to find sources of funding to help the new writer pay some bills.

Finding paid work while developing the craft and building good relationships with editors - to get those first few paid clips published - may be difficult. Writing grants are one way to survive.

The bad news is that there are many more starving authors looking for funding than there are grants and fellowships to give. The key to getting a grant as a writer is to be persistent. It doesn't hurt to have an amazing amount of self confidence along with a giant talent, but even the shyest budding writer can keep knocking at grant givers doors until someone pays attention.

Writers organizations are a great place to network and for finding information about writing awards or writing contests. Be sure to check out contests to that are "juried" events and not just a way to get you to buy a book with your work included.

While some well respected competitions do charge a "reading fee," you should try to steer clear of entering contests that require you to pay to enter. Unless you have personal knowledge that the award is worth risking your own funds to be considered, look for no-fee contests and don't be bullied into buying anything.

Fellowships and residencies in artists or writers colonies can be a great way to improve your craft, meet other writers and live rent free for a few months. There are other alternative methods to find funding until your writing receives the financial rewards it deserves. Here is an all-star guide to grants, fellowships, awards, contests and other funding for authors, freelance writers, poets and journalists to get you started...

More about grants, funding & competitions for writers around the Web:

Funds for Writers - Start here for a world of information on writing grants, awards, fellowships, contests, and jobs.

National Writers Union - Benefits of membership include loans, scholarships, contract advice, grievance resolution, press pass, access to paying markets & much more..

Poets and Writers Magazine - Information and submission guidelines on fees to writers who give readings or conduct writing workshops

The Authors Guild - Offering industry news, contract advice, discounted health insurance, legal services, web services, more.

Grants for Individuals: Writing - A extensive list of resources for writers in a wide range of genres hosted by Michigan State University as part of the MSU Funding Center Guides.

Art Deadlines List - This well respected publication is available monthly at the web site or by e-mail. There are two versions. The paid version gives you first viewing of all the latest contests, fellowships, grants and other deadlines for competition or funding. The unpaid listing is not quite as comprehensive. The list includes deadlines for all art forms so you'll need to scout out the writing award deadlines.

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