writing help for artists
statements, applications, letters, etc.

"A sentence is not emotional a paragraph is."
-- Gertrude Stein

I will help you make the sentences and paragraphs of your applications into clear, forceful, economical arguments for your project. You send me your best shot at it, and I will return it to you clean, edited, and ready to submit. Many writers are not comfortable writing, and even many of those who are find it awkward to write on their own behalf. Some artists have an amazing and inspired relationship to language, but a less inspired relationship to straight prose. I will not write your applications for you--they need to be in your voice and animated by your passions. What I will do is take your language and deal with it structurally and grammatically to maximize its persuasive force.


Price based on how long and complex the piece of writing is. I am open to barter.

BASIC EDIT (starts at $40 for 1-2 page document/300-500 word statement)
You send me a rough draft. I clean it up and edit it to fit necessary word counts.

EDIT WITH REVISIONS (starts at $75 for 1-2 page document/300-500 word statement)
You send me a rough draft. I read and send you questions that will help me add detail where it is missing. Then I incorporate your responses, clean up, edit, and fit to necessary word counts.

SOURCE, DRAFT AND EDIT (starts at $150 for 1-2 page document/300-500 word statement)
You show me the application. I give you a questionnaire, easy writing assignments broken into components, and guidelines on how to compile them into a statement. You send me your draft. I read and send you additional questions if more detail is required. Then I incorporate, clean, edit, and fit to necessary word counts.

Experience and context

I am a performer, writer, and maker of interdisciplinary performance. I have a Ph.D. in English (CUNY Grad Center 2014) and an MFA in Playwriting (Brooklyn College 2006). During the course of my graduate study, I devoted much of my time to teaching and tutoring college writing, and gained through that process a strong grasp on prose and its force. But I understand performance intimately, and love to articulate in writing its intelligence, its strange delights, its commitments, and its history. I'm also the founder and co-editor of 53rd State Press, and have developed an eagle eye for proofreading after years of doing all the copy editing and book layouts.

I have written successful winning, finalist, and semi-finalist applications to a number of highly competitive programs including The MacDowell Colony, Creative Capital, the MAP Fund, the CUNY Graduate Center, several scholarship funds, fellowships, and academic conferences. After self-producing performance work and editing or creating zines and books for the last fifteen years, I am sensitive to the range of contexts and voices in which writing about performance appears. My essays have been published in Postmodern Culture, Yale Theater Magazine, and on the websites of Movement Research and Performa. My applications are successful because I know how to preserve the sense of passion in self-representation without coming across as apologetic or naive, which is a fine balance to strike. I won't edit the heart out of your writing. And if you're having a hard time getting what really matters to you into words, I'll work with you until you've found them. You can find out all about my performance heart at

How it works

We exchange documents either by email, Google Drive, or via Dropbox according to your preference. For source/draft/edit projects, we may also have a phone or Skype meeting if talking is easier for you than writing.

Contact me at sentencesandparagraphs at gmail to begin the process.

Karinne Keithley Syers