21 July 2009

Post-deadline let down

The grant is officially done, and I feel like I can behave normally again. That's not to say I won't work as much, cause I'm definitely busy, but at least my working will be on my own timeline. Here are the major lessons I've learned while working on this group project, not in any particular order, and certainly not organized by relevance, but recorded here for the next time I need to write something and am feeling the pain:

1. Letters of collaboration submitted to NSF are written from one scientist to another, like "Hey Kate, how's it going? I heard you're writing a kick ass grant and I think I might be able to support you with *these very specific resources.*" For some reason (perhaps because I'm quite simple minded about some things), I thought letters of collaboration would be written from a scientist to NSF saying they would help *X scientist* do a particular portion of work. The real way the letters are written for some reason tickle my pickle, partly because it seems like the way Thomas Jefferson must have solicited scientific assistance..."Yo, Lewis and Clark, you don't have much going on right now...how about a trip out West?"

2. I no longer feel sad when I get revisions back about my writing. This was a great training exercise for me, because I was incorporating bits of text from all sorts of people (including grad students, postdocs, professors, collaborators) and the reconciliation between all these types of word choice, sentence structure, and other patterns made me understand and appreciate stylistic differences all that much more. As much as it pains me to admit, I think I might have been hanging onto that sad, silly little habit from my childhood where any criticism was viewed as a personal attack. The end point: I don't get grumpy about reading comments about my writing and can get going with revisions.

3. I am a heck of a lot more efficient at writing than I was before.

4. Three C goals for writing: clarity, cohesiveness, concrete.

5. Blogging has helped streamline this process.

Addendum: I love that my boss quoted an interview from NPR with Nora Roberts to me (I haven't been to that fansite before, I just looked it up for the purposes of blogging, I promise). The motto of this romance novel writer is apparently "Sit your ass down a write." I read lots of her work (I should blog about my firm stance on dirty romance novels later), and I think that's a good place to start.

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