Friday, 2 October 2009

Background for Eleni-fest

I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which has hindered me from holding a ‘proper’ job for some three years or so now. But writing is wonderful because I don’t have to do things in a 9 to 5 manner. I can set my hours, rest when I need to, and work when I have the energy levels. It’s not ideal but it’s best for me now.

Still, I do try and find relevant work when I can in the real world. But writing is something that has been encouraged by my doctors. It’s positive and also I just love it.
I really owe finding about any grants to my Multiple Solutions case manger and her associate. While they couldn’t sponsor me to go to the conference, which was a huge aim for me this year, they helped me achieve this goal.

I had always assumed that Arts grants were not for people like me – the non-‘literary’ type. That is I write and hope to be published one day in the fantasy genre – yep, that’s popular fiction. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Being a long time member of Romance Writers of Australia, I believed it time for me go to a conference again. Having been sidelined with CFS & related issues, I didn’t know how I would manage this but as I spoke to the MS staff, they sent me in the right direction and encouraged me to apply for a grant despite my belief that going to a romance conference may not be ‘high-brow’ enough. It would be a good experience in itself.

They could tell I was eager to pursue my dreams of becoming a published author and I felt ready (even though anxious) to attend the conference. The MS staff & I researched and we found a grant that was suitable for me and encouraged me to apply for the Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust (RLADT). But the applications were closing soon!!!

I had to get cracking and I did.

All sorts of information can be found on the Internet on how to apply for a grant. But other than a quick perusal, I didn’t have the time to go into these in-depth. And I think the bits I did see made me feel anxious. Having completed a number of job applications in my time, I took this professional approach and got to work.

I contacted the co-ordinator, Ms Clare Tizard and organised a meeting. Clare was a delight to meet and very encouraging. Before the meeting, I had read through the Handbook and outlined a draft proposal, which we went through. Clare gave me her honest feedback - and much to my delight emphasised they wanted to know about me as a writer. While CFS made me eligible, the focus was MY writing. Oh the joy that I could concentrate on me as artist and not on my ‘disability’ as other organisations did.

This helped the excitement of filling out the application. I received wonderful supporting letters from my writing buddies (Trish Morey, Nikki Logan, Rachel Bailey, Dana Scully, and Fiona Gregory, who is also my CP). I also had a wonderful supporting letter from a Beta reader and friend, Toula. (Thank you all!!!) But really everyone who I talked to about the grant was fantastic and helpful and gave me tips.

I set to work on my application and proposal. I wanted to attend the Romance Writers of Australia national conference in August and that was in Brisbane. This was to enhance my writing career by meeting authors, publishers, agents, and have the opportunity to pitch, but also to mingle with like-minded people. But I also wanted to promote this project.

I was ecstatic to receive a grant from both Arts SA (RLADT) and my local council for a Personal Development Assistance Program. Thanks to these two grants, I was able to concentrate on the conference and not miss out due to finances.

So now the conference has been and gone and here I am, with Eleni-fest – I had no idea at the time of the proposal how big this was going to become. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my experience with you all. And please if you have a query, either comment or email me at

Thanks to Arts SA and the RLADT, the Minister For Disability, the Hon Jennifer Rankine MP, and the City of Charles Sturt for this opportunity.

Tomorrow, I will have a further word on grants.

Eleni-fest update information:
The website questionnaires for the two book giveaways both had a question that didn’t specify that it could have more than one answer. That has been amended. My apologies.

Also yesterday’s post has been amended – with confirmation dates for:
17th - Anne Gracie (copy of The 'Stolen Princess' up for grabs)

13th - Anne Oliver (copy of her latest book 'Memoirs of a Millionaire’s Mistress' or a copy of a back-title up for grabs).

31stChristina Phillips (copy of either ‘Foretaste of Forever’ or 'Touch of a Demon' up for grabs).

Thanks ladies!

Congrats to Anna Hackett for being Eleni-fest’s first commentator. She gets the reward of a bookmark. Thanks Anna...

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