Who is Miscellaneous?

Every budget seems to grow a miscellaneous category like a zit needing to be popped. For grant writers: pop this category (yeah I know this is corny).

A miscellaneous category grows out of laziness of the creator or the years have not been good to the list (people created categories as the need arose). Miscellaneous categories can also grow to hide what the nonprofit is spending money on. None of these are a reason for a growing miscellaneous category.

If this category is large enough to be noticed, it gets noticed. People wonder what is in it and questions are asked. When I receive a nonprofit’s budget, I go to the miscellaneous category first.

Many nonprofits do not have useful categories to stuff their budget numbers in; causing a long list of categories ending with a bigger miscellaneous. My first challenge is changing a nonprofit’s budget categories, at least for the current year. If they let me, I redesign the budget like rewriting a short story.

I take the budget details and create a new categorization that allows for more summarization while making sure I keep the identity of the money received and spent. This is the important part: Keep Everything True.

When done, I have popped the miscellaneous category (I had to end with a corny comment for no real reason).

P.S. If anyone wants more details on how to do this, let me know by comments or email.

Staying Motivated to Write

This blog post is about staying motivated to write.

Yes, there are a jillion zillion such posts from bloggers much better than me to write about it. There are also bloggers who do not know how to write about it, but did anyway. That makes it no reason for me to write about writing motivation, so I will.

A wall exists in a parallel universe inside the writer’s mind. The writer is on one side of the wall saying, “I want to write.” On the other side of the wall is the writer’s ability to write. At the same time, the wall does not exist. Something like Schrödinger’s cat in 3-D.

The reason there are so many opinions about motivation is because there is no answer. Like The Cat, every answer is correct at the same time it is wrong. So, I’ll add to that with this advice that I hope some day a person will read:

Time was invented by humanity to judge a person’s ability to act. Ignore time and think past the wall to a world created by your mind.

When a Crisis Creates Special Funding

These past few weeks, many foundations are quickly offering grant money to help with the impact of the coronavirus. This is good news since the Federal money will not be coming for weeks or months.

I’ve written a few grants already and read over a few others. The foundations do not require much information. Some grant requests are by invite only and a few foundations are sending money to nonprofits they know are directly impacted without needing a grant request. I expect more foundations will offer money to cover coronavirus related expenses.

There are good and bad things about quick money during any crisis.

The good news is that foundations want to help and they make money available easily long before the federal government can respond. The bad news is that a nonprofit could find it hard to justify receiving money in a crisis, such as the coronavirus, when their programs are not impacted.

For many nonprofits, the impact is a loss of income such as in donations.

Nonprofits should resist the urge to justify receiving coronavirus money unless their programs were impacted. Chasing after crisis money, like coronavirus funding, can force a nonprofit to become what they were not meant to be. When the crisis is over, the nonprofit can be labeled something else, future money cannot be justified, relationships get broken, and the path forward could be lost.

More importantly, the reputation of the nonprofit could be hurt if they received money outside of their mission without a logical reason.

Yes, some nonprofits can readjust their resources to accommodate a specific crisis and they should receive crisis money for doing so. In the end, I think the responsibility is more on the nonprofit than the foundation to rationalize accepting crisis money or not.

Channeling a Character

I will sometimes finish a scene, sit back, and wonder who wrote that. The characters appeared to write themselves. They did and said what they wanted, despite what I had in mind.

I heard writers admit how their characters seemed to take over a scene, as if they came to life. I agree with writers that channeling could be the reason.

People think of channeling as psychics or people sensitive to the spiritual world. As background, a writer is limited in their writing by education, culture, environment, personality, and other traits linked to their life and mindset. When a character goes against these traits, I think the writer can be tapping into the spiritual world.

Whether or not the writer believes it, there are times when the writer becomes so focused on a scene that a connection is born and someone from the other side expresses themselves onto the page. Much like automatic writing. No, the writer is not seeing dead people like in The Sixth Sense. I think of it like this:

Channeling is possible when a writer focuses so much on a scene and characters that the writer enters a meditative state. I focus on writing a scene to the point I feel I am a part of it. Like in automatic writing, someone else comes through.

I know, you can’t wait for the catch or the joke to this blog. There isn’t any. I don’t think channeling is common, nor does it happen to everyone. Or, if it happens it comes briefly without the writer realizing it. But it exists.

Of course, many people would think this is nonsense. Yet, some stories could use a little collaboration. What better collaboration than people who do not ask for a byline?

Try this when you get stuck on a scene:

    • Get comfortable
    • Breath
    • Concentrate on the page without worrying you need to type something.

If you fall asleep, at least you’ll have a good nap. If you say awake, you may be happy about what had been written.