Over the last four years, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a first-round reader of applications for a couple of organizations that award writing residencies or grants. I’m always amazed by the quality of the applications I read and overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of strong applications.
Sometimes I’m so bowled over by an application that later, if I learn the applicant was awarded the coveted residency or grant, I feel almost as excited as I would were I getting the prize.
Sadly, of course, the process of reading and evaluating applications means saying “no” far more often than “yes”. A few years ago I started jotting down notes about things I kept seeing that edged applications into the “no” pile. Some of these are dumb mistakes that most of you reading will already know better than to make. But others might be less obvious, and I…
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