Tonight I am finishing up a proposal for a dissertation grant. Only 6% of applicants are awarded the grant - but of course, all 100% of non-applicants are turned down.
At the very least, it is forcing me to put into words and think through issues. You know how something seems perfectly clear in your head, but you try to explain it to someone else or to formulate it explicitly, and you realize you were glossing over some bits of it? Yeah, I'm going through that. I'm also chasing down citations and beefing up my theory section. I tend to absorb theories and then report them back telegraphically:
org theory stop resource dependency stop stakeholders with different levels of salience stop
I need to slow down and explain these things, not only because that's better academic writing, but because in this case the readers could be in a totally different area of education - say, they study interventions for autistic pre-schoolers.