Grant Writing Writer’s Block

Grant Writing Tips and Best Practices
Grant Writing Writer’s Block

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Grant Writing Writer’s Block

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What do you do when you’ve been writing the same line for 20 minutes? When you’ve used the same adjective to describe an organization 17 times in one paragraph? When that nagging feeling creeps up on you and you begin to wonder if you’ll ever be able to finish a grant. Yup, it’s writer’s block and it happens to the best of us and probably always at the worst time possible. Here are a couple of tried a true ways to help get you out of the rut and closer to finishing the grant in advance of the deadline.


Ten Ways to Get Through Writer’s Block

1. Read a good writer. I think all grant writers should have a copy of their favorite book in their office right next to their Synonym Finder. Grab a book that represents good writing to you, read a few pages and see if it jolts you out of the doldrums.

2. Take a couple of minutes to change your screen saver picture (that has probably popped up a few too many times during your writer’s block episode). Find a picture of you doing something you love and that you are good at to remind yourself of your past successes.

3. Write something else for a bit. Take a break and write a poem, write a thank you note, update website, maybe even write a blog about writer’s block.

4. Take a walk/run/swim/yoga break and see if getting some endorphins flowing will help break the writer’s log jam.

5. Send what you’ve written so far to someone and see if their review and comments can help you move forward with your project.

6. Do 10 minutes of stream of consciousness writing about the qualities of the group you are writing about to remind yourself the goal and purpose of the grant. Remind yourself of the mission without worrying about grammar, sentence structure and word count.

7. Conversely, work on the budget for the grant. Sometimes switching from writing to numbers can help reignite the left side of your brain back into grant writing mode.

8. Break the grant into smaller pieces and do a section that you would consider easier than the rest. Knowing that you finished a section/question could be just what you need to take on the rest of the grant.

9. This is my favorite writer’s block activity and one that my family appreciates, procrastibaking. Procrastibaking is when you take a break from writing and bake something. Procrastibaking provides you with a sense of completion and success AND your family will appreciate the food which helps take the edge off hanging around a potentially crabby person who has writer’s block.

10. Go easy on yourself. All the great writers struggled with this and your struggle is real and it will pass.



Note from Diane: I *loved* the new term I learned from reading Amy’s post about writer’s block this week…procrastibaking! So yesterday, while working on a draft of a grant for a client, when I felt my inspiration slipping, I paused to whip up some mini pumpkin muffins with mini chocolate chips. Problem solved! Amy was right – I was able to pick the project back up shortly thereafter with fresh new eyes, and my family was thrilled with the fresh muffins for breakfast. Check out this deliciousness…yum!

We’d love to see your pictures of your procrastibaking efforts if you try it as a way to get through grant writing writer’s block.

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About The Author
Amy has worked with and for nonprofits for over 20 years as a practitioner, researcher and consultant. She oversees the creative direction at Finch Network as well as business development. Amy has worked with local, regional and national organizations including the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the Corporation for National and Community Service and United Way of Tompkins County. She specializes in program planning, fund development and qualitative research. Notable projects include a fellowship she completed for the Corporation for National Service where she conducted an evaluation of program sustainability of AmeriCorps*VISTA projects, coordinating an allocation process that invested $1.3 million dollars annually to health and human service nonprofits in Tompkins County and leading the qualitative research portion for two evaluations conducted for City Harvest. Amy has a strong commitment to her own community and volunteers with her local Foster Care program, Plattsburgh Community Garden and in Plattsburgh City Schools. Amy holds a B.A. in American Studies and a teaching certificate from the University of Rochester and a graduate degree in Community and Rural Development from Cornell University.

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