I have been constantly writing grants now for about a year. I’m pretty sick of it but I need to keep going until I’ve established a secure funding program that will give me more flexibility in my work. I’m in a department with no hard money so there is no alternative.
At times like this when motivation is low it can be helpful to take a step back and look at the process. This morning I enjoyed watching this video made by film-maker Tiffany Schlain about the creative process. Everything in it is applicable to the process of writing grants.
One stage of the process that I’ve come to realize is essential to me is stage 6: “just step away’. Even if I just leave the draft of an application alone for one day when I come back to it I see it through fresh eyes and realize which parts aren’t clear and how to edit out the parts that I now realize are crap.
Unfortunately, until recently I never factored this break time into my schedule for grant writing (a schedule that at its worst has consisted of “sh*t I’ve got to write this application in a weekend!”) and usually ended up giving it to a mentor to look over before I’d really looked it over myself. Of course, this leads to a drop in the quality of feedback as they’re picking up on all of the blatant issues that I would have seen myself if I’d allowed myself the break from the application.
I’m getting better at it now. Ideally, I give myself a few days away from an application but at the worst leaving a rough draft alone for a night is has worked out better than pushing further with it that night. If it’s not working, give yourself a break.
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