Saturday, April 10, 2010

Grant Writing and the Space/Time Continuum

Time seems to fly by at a faster speed every year, particularly during the busy grant season when it is easy to get overwhelmed with grant projects and all the other things that can’t be put on the back burner while the applications are being completed.  Grant Coach, MaryEllen Bergh, shares her thoughts on this phenomenon of the inetrsection between grant writing and the space/time continuum:

I’ve heard that time expands when you need it and contracts when you don’t. Is that a factor in the space/time continuum? Well, I don’t know for sure if it is a factor but I do know that the earth is slowing down and that soon we will not be dealing with gravity at all (which will be a blessing for all the parts of my body that have not already succumbed to the forces of gravity). How do you know that this is true, you ask? Every Monday, my colleague and I have the same conversation, “Blog posts go up today,” and I reply “Right!” Seems simple but Monday comes amazingly fast. I blink and I hear the words again, “Blog posts go up today.” “Right!” So, you see, it’s basic physics (thanks to Eric Maisel for pointing this out to me) – as you approach the speed of light, time slows down. Since it seems that I am traveling at the speed of light, would that mean that I am not getting older or that the earth is getting ready to stop rotating?

Why do you think artists dream of spending a couple of months painting in Fiji or a month or two writing in Paris? I am sure they dream of spending time in those places because they see themselves experiencing time differently there; they envision “beach time” or “cafĂ© time.” They see themselves not in a rush with no one asking them to do “this” or “that” or judging them for taking all day to stare at the ocean or drink an espresso. The calm pace provides a space for observation, reflection, and allows creativity to walk in the door.

In our real lives, we spend our whole day rushing from one thing to the next until all we have left is 15 minutes before going to bed – just enough time to feel badly about all the things we did not get accomplished. Today, even when we are sitting, we are speeding. We are looking for our next cell-phone call, texting, reading and responding to emails, updating Facebook, writing proposals, blogs and copy, rushing from one task to another… overwhelmed as we valiantly attempt to tackle each item on our agenda. Sometimes I feel the strains of exhaustion early in the day and question my ability to effectively address all my tasks.

Eric Maisel in A Writer’s Space talks to us about how to get into the right “space” to write, how to orient and organize our neurons to help us get a grip on our writing lives. In lesson 19, he provides an exercise on creating space to write through mindful self-reflection. Here are the 4 steps: 1) Grow quiet (this is when I turn off the email alerts, silence my cell phone, close my door and breathe); 2) Reflect (I consider what I need and how I will accomplish these needs); 3) Stay calm (I breathe, relax into what I want to accomplish and set my intent); and 5) Take action (I consider the length and nature of my to-do list and edit my agenda including setting reasonable expectations. Time does expand when I choose to experience time differently.

Related posts:
Time Management Tips for Grant Writers
Facing the Blank Page (Or, Beginning to Write)
Good Grant Writers Are Like Wedding Planners
Making Time for Grant Writing by Focusing on the Dream
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About Creative Resources & Research

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.