It should come as no surprise to you that reading about time management and academic planning is one of my favorite forms of procrastination. It makes me feel like important things are getting done, or at least getting planned, even though none of those important things are those on my to-do list. There is nothing more relaxing than imagining that one has already finished writing one's book in an orderly and time-managed way.
Of course, that means I have a lot of time-management-related things on my RSS feed. One such blog is Getting Things Done in Academia, which recently had a post on advice for grant writing. You should all check it out, although, since it is for science grad students, some of the advice will have to be transposed, such as the comments about a spring season for fieldwork. Some of it, though, is great advice, like the idea to keep a "new projects" folder on one's desktop and toss little ideas in it regularly. Or the point about constantly, gradually building up the material, or the points about audience, or re-using the same phrasings and headings as the application material. But all of these are not the most important thing I learned from reading this post:
What I really need is to find some way of disguising myself as a science grad student and start collecting NSF grants. If only I had listened more often to what Cool Scientist Friend was saying about her research!
Seriously, people, the biggest drawback to applying for grants as a literature grad student is that there aren't any. Oh, yeah, sure --- there's archival fellowship money and the occasional NEH or NEA grant, but none of those are going to kit me out in 150 K and give me shiny machinery to play with. (An autoclave? Sure, I'll take it --- put it over there by the toaster.)
So far, I've come up with the following ways to cleverly camouflage my research and maximize my grant payoff:
- a proposal to study the roosting habits of migratory ILLs in my living room
- a study to determine the nutritional effects of alcohol and ramen consumption on lit grad students (my friends have filled out the IRB forms already)
- a collection and taxonomy of the viewless wings of posy
* note, sample for illustration purposes only. Actual wings will be viewless.
- Experiments to determine the spring constant of various household metaphors
- a longitudinal study on the effects of large sums of money on a grad student's motivation levels (Note: if this experiment is one of the ones where you have to make the subject ingest dye and then kill it and then dissect its brain afterwards, it's gonna be a very looong longitudinal study).
I'm so glad I thought of this. Now all my financial troubles will be solved, solved, solved! PS if you think you see me clinging to the back of some science student's shirt, hidden by the pattern, don't let on. I've got important work to do!