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Secrets from Inside a Grant Writing Panel

Three graduate students in three separate disciplines—social sciences, humanities and natural sciences—came together at the Penn Graduate Student Center to percolate on the real process behind grant writing. Here’s what we learned:

• Get a Fan Club.
o It’s imperative to have people around you that remind you why you’re doing your work. It’s also important to have people in your field that you can relate with and share your concerns and process.
• Be Your Own Fan Club.
o Grant writing requires that you write about yourself and sometimes “sell” your accomplishments. A learning instructor can help you remove your ego (or lack thereof!) from the brainstorming experience so you can shine without concern.
• Strategize.
o A successful grant is dependent on thorough research—so start this process early and plan for extra time. Be innovative in how you approach the project and give yourself time for brainstorming and conversations with colleagues and supporters.
• Tap into Past Success(es).
o Remember how you rocked that project, presentation, dissertation? Tap into that success by remembering the time management strategies that worked for you so you can apply them to this task.
What are your secrets for success with big writing projects?

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