Monday, September 17, 2012

My Desk

You can learn a lot about a person from her desk, and I'm not just talking about whether it's a neat desk or a messy desk. I'm talking about what is actually on the desk.

Here's what is on mine right at this moment:

  • Two cell phones charging - Personal and business phones, but my personal cell is used more for business than the business one.  Go figure.
  • Headset and microphone -To use with my Dragon Naturally Speaking software, which I can't use right now.
  • Flier and information for Dragon Naturally Speaking software - I downloaded version 12, but it won't install. Ugh.  Don't you hate it when that happens?
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers RFPs - Both the elementary/middle school and ASSETs versions, for California, if course. The FAQs are printed out, too. Together, they make a pile of paper about two inches thick, all of which must be read before I can move forward with the training workshops and actually grant writing I'll be doing. Come to think of it, I think I do just about as much reading as writing in my work. That was never mentioned to me before I started this journey.
  • An article a colleague printed for me called, "50 Grammatical Mistakes to Avoid." - I think I've already made about 6 in this post.  They are technically not necessarily mistakes, but bad writing habits to avoid. And I just indulged in three of them in that last sentence.
  • A pile of bills and insurance documents - No explanation is needed. Those are just no fun all around.
  • Paperwork for a couple of different evaluation projects - I keep telling myself that if I keep them on my desk I won't forget about them and I can work on them a little every day. Well, I don't forget about them, of course, but they end up just getting in the way when I'm trying to finish up other projects. Do I move them?  Of course not.
  • My notebooks - I have a notebook that I use for all my notes on all projects. I started doing this years ago when my memory started become a little less reliable than it used to be. When I change to a new notebook, I carry around the old and the new for awhile so I can refer to notes in the old one until I don't need to anymore.  Then the old one is stored with the other old notebooks. Right now, I'm still working from two.
  • A six inch high pile of scrap paper - Anything that is printed on only one side that I don't need anymore becomes scrap paper. 
  • Two half full bottles of water - I almost wrote half empty, but you know what that would say about me, right?
  • A pile of other business-related projects that are in-process - I won't tell you how many, but it's a lot.
  • A desk fan - There are times when I am warm, usually when no one else is, and the little fan comes in very handy. It's a "woman of certain age" thing.
  • Hand lotion - Because sometimes you just need it.
  • Two staplers -I have no idea why I have two staplers, but I do.
  • My 2012 Knitting Calendar - It's one of those perpetual calendars.  Each day has a new item to print, along with the pattern for it. Some of the patterns in it are really cute and I have already made a few.  As for some of the others, let me just say that just because something can be made, doesn't mean that it should be.
Beyond that, it's just pens, pencils, and miscellaneous other stationery supplies.

So, what does my desk say about me?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keeping an Open Mind

I have had substantive conversations this week with three different potential new clients. They are all very different than any organization we have worked for in the past and they all need something from us that is slightly different than we have done in the past.

Five years ago, I might not have spoken with any of these folks because I was completely booked with clients who fit into the unique niche we had at the time.  Recently, though, we made a conscious decision to expand our reach a bit and to try some different things.  The economy had a small role in that decision, but it was mostly about the fact that I had burnout nipping at my heels and I was going to implode if I had to keep doing the same thing in the same way for another 20 years. I think some of you may be able to understand exactly what I'm talking about.

So, I've been saying 'yes' to conversations that I wouldn't have had before. Guess what has happened?  I've been having some extraordinary conversations with some extraordinary people who do extraordinary things.  And I can help them.

Keeping an open mind has opened a door to a completely new level of experience and business for us, and it has re-lit some of that fire that has been dampened by years of routine.

All I had to do was listen.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Teaching People to Fish

We're in the process of changing all sorts of things these days. The website will soon have a new, fresh look. Our online grant writing courses will soon have a whole new look and feel.Within a couple of weeks, we'll be offering webinars to help you with specific grants you may be writing. We'll also be expanding our review and critique services, with a focus on helping you become a better grant writer rather than doing it for you.

Why the changes?  Well, it has recently become apparent to me that I won't be here forever. I know that most of you probably knew that, but I was surprised. My health is fine, by the way.  This was more of an existential awareness. So, I've decided that instead of focusing on giving away fish (or selling fish) I'd rather teach people to fish. But I'm not talking about fish. I'm talking about grant writing.

Keep an eye out for the new changes to start rolling out, and if you have any ideas, please share them.

Fishing anyone?


Get samples of successful grant proposals at

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.