Grant hack: Avoid having to cut text at the end

If you are anything like me, then the last phase of your grant writing process is madly trying to shorten everything into the allotted space constraints. I no longer remember if I got this tidbit from elsewhere, or discovered it myself in the last few years… However, one thing that has significantly reduced the stress and time of the final push in grant writing is that I trick myself into writing less to begin with. I increase my line spacing by about 25% as I write the first draft. As my draft looms towards the maximum allowable length then I know I have to stop. Invariably, I go slightly over that hard stop, but then I swap the line spacing back to 1 (or 1.1 for my preferred NIH Latex template). I have typically found that sharpening word selection and focus is for the sake of clarity and no longer about page limits (mostly). You can tailor this extra padding according to how much overage you typically have (1.25 for 25%, 1.5 for 50%, 2 for 100%, etc.). I could imagine you can do this with margins instead, keeping them a healthily 20-50% larger than the specifications for a grant or making figures larger to begin with as well (another reason to love Latex for grant writing).