The Struggling Writer

The chronicles of a freelance writer as he tries to make a living.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Opportunity knocks

I've talked occasionally about my pending grant writing opportunity. My niece's ophthalmologist needs funding for a research project and wants me to write the grant proposals. It's been on the back burner for a while, but it looks I will be starting it this summer.

Recently my niece was getting fitted for new ankle braces. I was chatting with her orthotist and mentioned I was a freelance writer. She asked me what kind of writing I do and I mentioned that I'm doing mostly website content now but I'm expanding into other things such as this grant project. Guess what. She has a website she's been waiting a year(!) for content on, and she wants to start a non-profit organization and doesn't have time to do the grant writing herself.


One grant project under my belt would have been nice, but if I can get two then I've got a solid foundation to start pursuing other grant opportunities. I guess that helps me narrow down the kind of writing I want to do.

I'm smart enough to know that casual chit-chat is not the same as a firm commitment, but at least I've got some good possibilities. I'm getting better about mentioning to people I'm a writer and following up on hints about jobs.

Consider my cousin, who is a very talented painter but doesn't have a business-oriented bone in his body. He could easily make a living but he's not willing to play the games he'd need to. OK, I respect that, but you can get silly about it. He did a wonderful portrait (on commission) of my brother after he died. At my mother's wake a few years later, I approached him about doing a companion portrait of her. He blew me off and changed the subject. He just wasn't in a business mood. I never bothered following up (nor did he) so he missed an opportunity for an easy commission.

You never know when a job will pop up. You don't have to be smarmy about it (I think of Robin Williams in Cadillac Man, giving his business card to a widow at her husband's funeral) but you have to keep your ears open.


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