FUNDING KNOWHOW Developing your Creative Practice

Our Funding KnowHow series continues. KnowHow editor Eleanor Pender explores the Developing your Creative Practice funding from Arts Council England, and how to start seeing your writing as a creative project. 

As many have said before, this is a strange time. Unsurprisingly, this has impacted on existing funding and creative grant opportunities, with organisations redirecting funds and pooling together to create new grants.

This post was going to focus on the Developing your Creative Practice fund from Arts Council England, a funding pot that invites individuals to apply across a range of artforms. Writers and illustrators can apply for up to £10,000 to help develop their creative practice. Since 2018, 153 writers, poets, non-fiction writers have applied to the DYCP funding.

Whether this funding pot returns later on this year remains to be seen but looking at your writing as a creative project can be a very helpful exercise. If you go through the motions, it may even help you work on a future application.

If you’re able to write at the moment – at whichever pace this means for you – see if you can take some time to plan out your writing as a project. This can help take a closer look at your writing and ask critical questions.

Your Creative Practice
The fundamental guideline is about a step change in your creative practice, a distinctive levelling up or a key transition in development that would not be attainable without funding support.

Here's an exercise.
Ask yourself, What are you doing with your writing? What are you working towards?

  • You could be working on your first novel and looking to get published.
  • You could have completed a novel, but have started exploring shorter fiction, or non-fiction.
  • Maybe you want to write for theatre, television or film.

Think about your writing as a creative practice. You are the artist. 

If you had to imagine where you and your writing could be in 6 months or 12 months, what could you create, explore or discover in that time? What would you aim for? How would you get there? Is there an identifiable shift in your plan that you can anticipate? Where is your step change? Would you be able to go for something you have never been able to consider before? This new step can take many forms, from pitching to a publishing house to taking a novel adaptation into production.

It can be difficult to think of my writing as a ‘project'. However, it can be useful to get distance from my writing by thinking of it as a project and to consider how your work would engage with others.

The most grounding part of the process can be creating a timeline. It’s one thing to say, ‘In 6 months, I’ll have 75,000 words of my novel.’ But what does that process look like? Are you committing yourself to a word count every day? A certain number every week? Maybe you don’t want to track by word count but by your writing plan, going section by section, chapter by chapter. However you want to do this, mapping the process out over a few months and seeing what can be done when can make all the difference, offering a sense of direction and focus.

Outside Support
You don’t need to do this all alone. Either with DYCP funding or other sources, there are ways you can boost your project and give yourself much needed support.

Mapping out your writing as a creative project can offer guidance. It is also not a strict regimen or a set of rules you have to follow. You are making the rules and guiding the work. If you’re thinking of applying for funding to support your writing in the next year or so, starting to think about your writing as a creative project will certainly help you on your way.

Main image from Pexels

Based in Bristol, Eleanor lectures in digital communications and chairs YA and middle-grade events at festivals including Bath Children's Literature Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and YALC. She is currently working on a young adult fantasy novel. Find her on Twitter at @twice_ell.


Do you have any suggestions for KnowHow? If there's something you'd like to know how to do or know more about, tell us. Email KnowHow editor, Eleanor at

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