I've been lucky with funding. So I've been thinking - what so special about those proposals that got funded vs. those that got rejected? It's been over 5 years, and I've written a lot of proposals. A LOT. The general thing that I see about all these proposals is that they each were slightly out of comfort zone and that I was super excited about the topic.
When I say out of my comfort zone, I mean that I was proposing a project that was slightly out of my current skill set. I knew I could do it, I just hadn't done it before. As I was writing, I was required to teach myself about some new field or new measurement technique. And through that, it made me excited about the topic. I'd be bored if I was researching the same old bread-n-butter crap. I want to learn new stuff. Even if someone else has already studied it, maybe I could to it better or with a different technique to learn something new. As I was writing, I felt a combination of scientific curiosity and imposter syndrome. Not that imposter syndrome is a bad thing. Maybe, if anything, it was a good thing. I felt so insecure, that I thoroughly researched the project and tried to cover every hole. And maybe I did, because some people gave me some money.