Have you ever concentrated on something so intently, with so much ferocious focus that later you realized you hadn’t even blinked for what felt like hours? And no, a marathon session of Spider Solitaire doesn’t count. I usually do that until my forearms cry out in pain.
I’m talking about serious work with a deadline snapping at your ankles and the success or failure of the entire—okay, your—world hanging in the balance. we’re not talking about invigorating physical work outside in the fresh, clear air. we’re not talking about a would-be-nice-to-do-someday project.
we’re talking about butt nailed to chair in the soul-destroying atmosphere of an office, even if it is home-based and quite lovely. we’re talking about drop-dead external deadlines. Such and such is due no later than 4:30 close of business on March 15th but if the 15th falls on a weekend the deadline is extended until the following Monday. Government deadlines. Foundation deadlines.
Such has been my life recently. I’m not sure if the cold sore I’ve been treating is the result of the public presentations I had to make two nights this week. Or if working on multiple grant applications did me in.
I’m also not sure if the work I’m doing is building brand new synapses in my brain or frying to a crisp those I’m hoping will last as long as I do. I reassure myself that this challenging mental work is staving off the onset of dementia and other mental decay. Am I gonna be ticked if it doesn’t.
Out of necessity, and because I love a challenge, applying to government or foundations for funds for our festival has fallen into my purview. And I am getting better at it. Luckily, I pay attention to detail, am not afraid to ask for help, and try, in all things, to hang onto my sense of humour.
But in a typical first-born Type A anal-retentive self-deprecating way I know I can do better. In case you think I’m being too hard on myself?uh, no. Well, maybe I am. But there is way more to learn and know and do.
At a recent Growing Rural Tourism conference I attended a cleverly titled session called ?Grant or Proposal Writing?How to Take the Agony Out of the Feat.? Presenter Karen Doyle inundated us with information, tools, and strategies to up our game. She talked about taking the time and energy to create long-term fundraising plans for our various organizations. She advised us what information to have on hand and easy to locate because It’s needed for every application form. Things like the last financial statement, a list of the board members, a mission statement. The extra reading and document templates will, I’m sure, make my job easier when I have time to adapt them to our needs. In the meantime, it reminds me of an old cartoon caption: when You’re up to your ass in alligators It’s hard to remember that your initial plan was to drain the swamp. ?Nuff said, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.