Do you have dreams of penning the next great novel, play, or poem? Many of us think about it, but don’t get beyond the daydreaming stage. One of the things that might be holding us back is being too busy working and earning a living, to take time to get started.

But what if there were government grants for you, available while you do your writing? Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to be a starving artist? Well, there are many such government grants available in the US, in Canada, in Australia, and in the UK, to name just a few countries. These countries recognize the value of supporting artistic endeavors and offer government grants for resident writers. In addition, the funding may also be offered at the local level. Aside from these government grants, there are also forms of funding offered through foundations and other organizations. The funding may be offered in a variety of ways. You might prepare a formal government grant proposal. Or you might just fill out an application, either online or on paper. In other cases, there might be a competition where you, for example, might submit an opening chapter or a synopsis for a book. Or you may submit a couple of your best poems to compete for foundation funding or a government grant to write a collection of poetry.

In many cases, the funding may be targeted to something like a particular genre, writing geared to a designated audience, or set aside to be awarded to members of a particular group. For example, a quick look through the extensive list of government grants for writers in the US shows not only general interest grants, but also some for written works targeted to a Jewish audience, an LGBT audience, for writers from the Bronx borough in New York, for an author who writes about Texas, for a book about the state of Virginia, for the purpose of writing about living in the desert, plus many more specialized works.

You might wonder why there would be government grant offered for the purpose of supporting writers. While some works are commercially viable and profitable, not all are. Aside from moneymaking purposes, though, there can be value in encouraging quality writing. When a novel, non-fiction work, poem, or a play that receives critical praise, achieves public popularity, or both, it is a source of pride for the writer’s country and community. Just look at the fanfare and acclaim that surrounds writers who win the Nobel Prize for Literature–they’re heroes in their home countries for bringing world attention to the merits of the place that spawned such great talent.

In addition, many people believe that great works of writing and art are a measure of the quality of a civilization and provide an aesthetic facet to society that helps improve the citizens’ quality of life. Government grants that further these aims are seen as providing a greater overall benefit, which is the entire idea behind why government grants exist. Who knows–with your talent, plus a little funding help, you could become our generation’s next great writer.