Applying For Writing Residencies Webinar
A Q&A with Glendaliz Camacho
Do you avoid applying to residencies because the process is intimidating? Have you applied and don't understand why you were rejected? Are you mystified as to how to find a good residency in the first place? Why, you wonder, should you bother attending residencies when you can just write at home?
Published on LatinoLA: September 26, 2016
If any of the above applies to you, you need to buy and watch Glendaliz Camacho's Applying For Writing Residencies Webinar. Watching the webinar is like having a cool, savvy friend give you step-by-step guidance, including: The best time of the year to apply; how to write your artist statement; and specific links to web sites where you can research residencies. Worth every penny, this webinar will save you time and money in the long run.
To learn more, read the Q&A below with Glendaliz Camacho, creator of the Applying
For Writing Residencies Webinar; to purchase the webinar, visit https://becomenzando.com/2016/04/09/applying-for-writing-residencies-webinar/
Q&A W/Glendaliz Camacho
Glendaliz Camacho is a New York City native. She is a 2015 Write A House Finalist and has earned residencies at Jentel, Caldera, Kimmel Harding Nelson, Hedgebrook, Lanesboro Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Anderson Center, and the Kerouac Project. Glendaliz is an alum of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) fiction workshops and the Tin House Summer Writer's Workshop. She is a recipient of a Money For Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant.
Her work appears in The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women (Shade Mountain Press), All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin Press), The Brooklyn Rail, The Butter, and Kweli Journal, among others. For more information, visit http://www.glendalizcamacho.com/ and https://becomenzando.com.
Q: You've earned an impressive number of residencies including Jentel, Hedgebrook, and the Kerouac Project, plus you have served on the selection committee for Caldera. So you've worked on both sides of the desk, as an applicant and as a panelist deciding which applicants are accepted and which are rejected. How does your experience as an applicant inform your work as a panelist? Now that you've been a panelist, have you changed how you approach residencies as an applicant?
A: Besides Caldera, most recently I also was part of the programming committee for BinderCon, a writing conference for women and gender non-conforming writers, where we sifted through about 40 proposals for workshops and panels. Since I frequently apply to opportunities, for one, I take it seriously. I know how much time and energy and hope comes with each application or proposal. More than looking for reasons to say no, I'm more looking for reasons to give a resounding yes. Once you've been an applicant, I think you can also sense from an application if it's been labored over, if the person was thoughtful and wants this opportunity rather than just any opportunity. And that's important because you're trying to find a good fit for the organization that you're serving, too. This same sense helps me with my applications. I can see where the holes are or the areas where another application can easily best mine. Once I know that, I can be somewhat objective and say if I saw this application and had a reservation, what would assuage me as a judge?
Q: Your Applying For Writing Residencies Webinar is genuinely generous and helpful! What inspired you to create it?
A: Thank you! I am genuinely thrilled to hear when people have found it helpful, or it's improved their process of applying to things, especially when people feel it's helped them earn opportunities. Many writers have been generous with me when I was starting to apply, whether it was telling me about an opportunity or letting me look at their previously successful applications. It helped me craft my artist statement, project descriptions, etc. So the webinar is a way to share my accumulated knowledge and experience with others. All I do is show step by step; this is what I do, which is the way I learned, by others showing me this is what a statement of intent looks like. Also, the webinar is just an efficient way to share this information. I'm always willing to answer a question here or there about the process, but I'm a writer first, and I have to protect my time so it made sense to pool everything somewhere people could access it.
Q: What three mistakes should residency applicants avoid?
A: 1) Avoid doing applications last minute. I am not of the school of "I do my best work under pressure." One of my cheesy sayings is work with time, not against it. Under pressure, you make mistakes you'd catch if you had time to review your materials with fresher eyes. It also affects other people if you need a recommendation letter. I used to go to a printer's shop that hung a sign, "Your lack of planning is not my emergency." So plan.
2) Avoid being vague. Be as specific as possible in your artist's statement, your project description, especially your statement of intent. The more honed in you are, the better impression it gives a committee that you have a grasp on what you're doing, what you're going to do, and will use this gift of time wisely. A magical romance novel won't lodge itself in my memory and excite me. One about Steve Meek, a freelancer, whose life is going nowhere until he meets Marwa Orb, a woman with a passion for booze, who he instantly dislikes until she rescues him from a goblin--you get the idea.
3) Avoid letting a rejection completely flatten you. Rejection is not a reflection of you as a person or you as an artist or the worthiness of your work. A lot of factors can lead to a rejection that has nothing to do with quality of your work (although that by no way means you shouldn't look at that.) The ability to not take it personally and move with just as much vigor toward the next possibility will keep you alive in this game. A rejection letter is someone saying no, not right now, but if you stop trying, that's you saying no, never to yourself.
Q: Alternatively, what are three signs of a top-notch applicant?
A: 1) A great writing sample. Now, my explanation for great is going to be vague and unhelpful, but bear with me. This is something I learned many moons ago when I did my time in the slush pile for a literary agency, and it has only been reinforced since. When you're reading all day, or in long stretches like you do for a residency selection committee --I'm talking 20 pages by 35 people, some 700 pages total--on top of your life and your own work, it can feel like drudgery to get through those pages. An obligation you take seriously enough to read all those samples fully, but some will feel like "come on page 20" and others will feel like "dammit, it's over? I could've read 20 more right now."
2) Their application is clear. Their artist statement gives me a good sense of why they choose to tell stories, of what's important to them creatively, what they're grappling with, what's their clay. I know what they're working on and what they intend to work on if they get this residency from reading their application.
3) Need. I look for need. Who needs this time like a lifeline? The student who has been doing nothing but academic writing for years and whose creative practice is flatlining. The mom who can manage to get away right now to do this and needs to do this, who is in danger of thinking, "I am going to have to give up being an artist." The person who needs their first shot, maybe an affirmation of "You're good. Keep going."
Q: Aside from your fantastic webinar, what resources would you recommend to writers who want to learn more about how to apply to residencies?
A: Mostly just get plugged in with other writers. There's no substitute for community and word of mouth. That's how you find out about things like my webinar or informational sessions or conferences where you can learn more. Poets and Writers, The Review Review, the FAQ sections of the residencies themselves--Hedgebrook, in particular, has an in-depth section and shares what their selection process looks like.
Q: Do you have upcoming projects that my readers should have on their radar?
A: Yes! Everything from a musical to a short story collection to a novel to more webinars and workshops on the way. I keep busy. In the immediate future, I'll be at BinderCon taking place October 29-30 in NYC co-facilitating a workshop on applying for residencies, grants, fellowships, and workshops with a writer who inspired me to apply to places. I coincidentally ended up at my first residency with her, Grace Jahng Lee. And if anyone is in the Orlando area, I'm here at a residency at the Kerouac House, and there will be a public reading in November. The best way to know about each thing as it comes up is my website http://www.glendalizcamacho.com, my blog https://becomenzando.com, or on twitter @glendaliz.
Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think. She is an Editorial Consultant who specializes in helping Latinos get published and was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster.
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