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Pro Grant Writing Tip: How to Write Tight - Teresa Huff, Grant Writing Simplified Podcast

Pro Grant Writing Tip: How to Write Tight [Episode 016]

Where Do I Start?

Hey friends! I’ve heard from a lot of you lately at different stages of your grant writing journey. The one thing I keep hearing over and over is, “Where do I start?” There are lots of places you COULD start, and that’s where we often get paralyzed.

This podcast is called Grant Writing Simplified for a reason. We’re looking at different aspects of grant writing and breaking them down into doable baby steps.

Today I’m giving you one simple way to improve your writing, whether it’s grant writing, reports, emails, or whatever. We all have to write in life, so might as well make it as good as possible. This will also give you a taste of what’s in my VIP Program, Fast Track to Grant Writer. If you’re ready to move through a lot of baby steps like this one in a short time, then the Fast Track is for you.

Learn to Write Tight

In this super practical episode, the skill I’m talking about today is learning to write tight. Easy enough to say, but what do I really mean by that?

In school, it was ingrained in us to be wordy and use lots of filler to meet the page quota. The English paper has to be 10 pages, so we start rambling and being as wordy as possible just to fill the 10 pages, right?

Grant writing is just the opposite. Every word counts.

Often grant applications will have strict page limits, word counts, or character limits, but then they turn around and have lengthy requirements of what information to include. You’re supposed to explain your program in detail, show all the supporting data, and clearly define how you’ll use the funds. How’s a grant writer supposed to cover everything in such a short space?

You learn to write tight, that’s how.

Examples of How to Tighten Your Writing

Here’s an example of what I often see from typical writing. This is a short paragraph taken from a grant application:

EXAMPLE:

It is proposed that a fitness center be developed where senior adults can regularly exercise. This project involves the renovation of the basement level of the local community center and converting it into a workout room, and the purchase of exercise equipment. The proposed program would be conducted under the close supervision of medical and exercise professionals. Future maintenance of the project will be made possible through appropriations from the city and volunteer fundraising efforts that will be carried out by the nonprofit organization. [84 words, 7 lines]

Whew! That’s a mouthful. Pardon me while I catch my breath. Sounds professional enough. But seriously, would you want to read that and try to sort out what they’re asking? Didn’t think so.

Let’s try tightening things up a bit.

REVISED:

This program will create a fitness center tailored to senior adults. The local community center’s basement will be renovated and converted into a custom workout room. Medical and exercise professionals will closely monitor the program. Future maintenance will be sustained through city funding and local fundraising. [46 words, 3 ½ lines]

Which One Would YOU Rather Read?

Let’s compare just that first sentence alone:

Example: It is proposed that a fitness center be developed where senior adults can regularly exercise.
Revised: This program will create a fitness center tailored to senior adults.

See how we cut out all the fluff, and used more active, direct wording? Look for ways to tighten up your writing and make it more interesting without losing the concept.

Here’s a side by side comparison:

Example Revision
Sentence 1:
It is proposed that a fitness center be developed where senior adults can regularly exercise.
This program will create a fitness center tailored to senior adults.
Sentence 2:
This project involves the renovation of the basement level of the local community center and converting it into a workout room, and the purchase of exercise equipment.
The local community center’s basement will be renovated and converted into a custom workout room.
Sentence 3:
The proposed program would be conducted under the close supervision of medical and exercise professionals.
Medical and exercise professionals will closely monitor the program.
Sentence 4:
Future maintenance of the project will be made possible through appropriations from the city and volunteer fundraising efforts that will be carried out by the nonprofit organization.
Future maintenance will be sustained through city funding and local fundraising.

Write for the Person

There is a person at the other end of everything you write. Even if it’s formal writing like a grant application, a person will be reading and scoring it. Write for that person. Keep it professional, of course, but also be clear, concise, and compelling. Don’t make them sift through the filler words to figure out what you’re saying. Just say it.

Once you become more aware of this, you’ll start noticing it and shoring up your writing. And…you’ll probably start seeing it in other people’s writing too, which will really get on your nerves. You’re welcome.

If you struggle with doing this on your own – and hey, no judgement; it takes lots of practice and it’s super hard to edit your own content – then consider jumping into the VIP Program, Fast Track to Grant Writer. We’ll be going in depth into a lot of writing skills and strategies like this that will really make your grant applications stand out, and you’ll get direct feedback from me on your writing.

The assignments will be tailored to you, so if you already work with a nonprofit, you can take the work you do in class and immediately use it. I want this to be as useful as possible.

We’ll have 8 weeks of intense modules covering the strategies behind grant writing, mapping out a plan to help you move toward your career goals, and killer writing skills like this one. 

So far over 1600 people have gone through my beginner grant writing courses. I’m hearing things like this recent review from a student last week:

“Very easy steps to apply for beginners. She does a great job explaining things and highlighting important points that must be remembered. This made writing a grant less daunting and scary. The formula is going to come in handy, and it’s easily something I can look back to and use.”

If you are ready to invest in your future – and ultimately, in the community around you – then sign up for Fast Track to Grant Writer. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be on your way to grant writing success. Sign up at teresahuff.com/vip.

Someone told me just yesterday on a strategy call, “WOW, this was so helpful! I never would’ve even thought of doing that. Now I know exactly where to focus next.”

Enrollment is limited, so sign up today to save your spot! Let’s get you on the fast track.

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