Grant writing is writing full of misery. Suffering, despair, anxiety, pain, torture, even hell. It has taken years to see that this too is a gift, not pleasure. But a gift.
I am on a quest to understand the purpose of this misery and why it matters for writing your best grants.
Not your most successful. Since success depends on humans and we know how fickle we are.
But your best, whether it fails or succeeds. I understand too that these words alone cannot describe the untold misery you will experience with each grant.
But as someone who has failed with so many grants, these days, the pain of each failure, has propelled me to work hard with grant writing. Know too the joys of suffering.
I could easily have stopped after each failure. But rather, I set them aside and worked to understand what I did wrong in other to get better with the next one.
I never expected to know the beauty of failure. Never planned to learn the glory of misery. No one sets out to intentionally play with fire.
But these days, I am dancing under the shadows of the sun. Learning too, the use of misery and why it matters for grants.
Anyone that tells you they love to write grants, often omits all the misery that accompanies it.
It’s this dignity of misery. It’s ability to teach, to re-secure a dream, a vision, or a goal, like a fly trapped, that keeps me longing for it’s ache.
The gentleness of freedom, the hope of mercy, for trapped flies, is the grace I hope you find for yourself with each grant you write.
So the gift, the one great gift that grant writing gave to me, despite all the pain that accompanied each grant I wrote, is openness.
Beyond the misery, with grants you will be receptive to new ideas. Innovations too. Old ways of thinking will gnaw your mind, until they become distant, like golden sunsets.
But mastering this openness comes at a price. Imagination being one of them. I have imagined grants I had no business writing. They sounded good in theory. I still love and stand by them. One of them for example, called sustainable marketplaces and why they matter for health, HIV in particular for many at the base of the pyramid. I was truly open to learn marketing, used novel concepts from the field of entrepreneurship, that reviewers told me over and over to stop wasting time.
I did the moment, I understood the lessons of misery. A lesson repeated often and available to those willing to try new things. Those unafraid of the unknown. Those in search of simplicity with anything, my own being health. And those passionate about lasting. This gift of misery and it use, birthed openness and countless reasons why all my ideas remain possible.