Saturday, 7 May 2016
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After Rob (the presenter) left my house, I found his list of questions. He'd left them behind on my desk.
I didn't have time to answer those questions in the podcast, so I'll answer them here on my blog instead.
"Do you make enough money to survive?" No I don't, not from writing. I won't go into exact numbers, but the most I've ever made from writing didn't even pay my share of the council tax bill that year. (FYI, our place isn't on Council Tax band Y, or whatever it goes up to. It's on the lowest possible one.)
"So what do you do to get by?" I have a day job. Not a particularly glamorous or exciting one, but it's one that I love. My day job is in the public sector, and involves helping people. It is nothing to do with literature development or writing or "The Arts" and I think that's good. It means I get to spend a lot of my time interacting with actual people, and that's one of my favourite things about it.
"Do you get Arts Council funding and if so, how does one do that?" No, I don't get Arts Council funding. I have never had Arts Council funding for my writing, or for any of my projects - except for a small pot of Northern Accent funding, which we used for the Northern Short Story Festival. Fiona (of Leeds Big Bookend Festival) and Linzi (at the Carriageworks Theatre) helped me access this. I wouldn't have been able to access it on my own, because it's tied to the venue (The Carriageworks) and also because I don't know how to get Arts Council funding for things.
The thing is, I've been taking writing seriously for about 7 years now, and I still have no idea how the Arts Council works, or how it distributes funding, or how even to apply to it. I think the Arts Council should make it easier for people like me to get money to support their work. Applying for any sort of funding at all seems to require a level of knowledge that most artists / writers don't have. I think the Arts Council could make applying for arts funding much more accessible, especially for writers & artists in the North. Being able to apply for arts funding seems to be a discipline in and of itself, and it's not something many writers are good at (and why should they be? Learning to be a good writer is a full-time occupation in itself.)
(Note: there is a writing development agency in the North which does distribute literature development funding in the North, but most of its efforts seem to be focused on the Sunderland / Newcastle / Durham area. It doesn't seem to run or support projects based in West Yorkshire - I'm not sure why this is, though it's possible that West Yorkshire isn't within its remit. I'm also not sure who to ask about this, or how to apply to said writing development agency to run a project in West Yorkshire myself. You see? Complicated!)
So that just about sums it up! I hope you enjoy the podcast and I look forward to hearing your comments on my thoughts.
Winter Dan Grace
The Wave Lochlan Bloom