Monday, 5 March 2012

Writing proposals: make it easy on yourself II

Part Two

What do you need to write a proposal the easy way?

Start with your objectives: It’s easy to write the paragraph about your organisation and what it does. This is the equivalent of picking the chocolate chips off the cookie. What you need to do first is write the aims and objectives. This will give you a framework for your proposal and some boundaries. If something is not covered by your objectives, don’t waste space writing about it. Or review your objectives if you think they do not cover what you want to achieve. Then describe what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and what the impact will be. When you have done all that you will be able to write an elegant proposal summary that will knock the assessors’ socks off.

Ask for feedback Ask your colleagues (Nina in my case), to read what you have written and to edit what you have written. Unless you have a particular reason for writing something in a particular way, accept the changes immediately. Nina looked surprised when I said I liked her changes to my text. Note to self: I must work harder at listening to feedback.

Lay in provisions: Just before we started to write Nina asked me if I would like anything to eat. She brought me a tasty box of baklava. ‘Honey is good for energy’, said Nina, and she was right.

Be realistic:  At 10.00 pm I said to Nina “Please read what I have written so far. If you really don’t like it, let’s give up now and have a beer”. Nina said she liked it. We decided to give it another two hours. Supposing Nina had not liked what I had written then I think I hope I would have had the good sense to say let’s stop because we don’t have time to make it better. Martyrdom when writing proposals is not required.

Take breaks: After a while Nina’s eyes hurt and my back ached. We got up, walked around. I made a cup of tea, Nina had a smoke. Each to her/his own.

Stay focused: Decide the order of the tasks and keep going. When I was worrying about not having the specified number of words for a section, Nina said wisely: “Better to have quality than padding”.

Tell each other what you enjoyed
At close to midnight Nina and were alive and fully functioning. I could not believe the energy we had created just by collaborating on something we both cared about. We told each other how much we had enjoyed working together. We sent each other e-mails congratulating ourselves on our achievement. We swopped texts till the early morning.

Can you fall in love with someone while writing a proposal in an office late at night? I bet it happens all the time...They should make a film about that, maybe Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie could play the hero and heroine...