Writing is hard; but hard is neccessary.

…is something I said to my students today. Then I read them this quote by Angela Lee Duckworth:

“One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success . . . It was grit . . . Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

I told them that I still have trouble with writing–trouble with the self-doubt and even just getting the first word on that blank page.

So tonight, I’m sitting down with that dreaded blank page and I’m practicing what I preach. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m writing this post for the second time. The first time I wrote it, the words flowed effortlessly onto the page and I was proud of them. Then WordPress crashed and they were gone–poof, into cyberspace, never to return. BUT GRIT, RIGHT? I clicked “New Post” and I’m going to write this again. It may be a little different, the words might not flow in the same exact way, but here I go. It’s all easier after that first sentence. (A big LOL at life for giving me a real-life opportunity to practice grit so quickly.)

I’ve realized recently that as much as I’m trying to teach them and get them to see these universal truths, I’m growing just as much, if not more. Teaching is really hard. Dealing with insecure middle schoolers and the baggage they bring. Seeing past the behavior to the child. And, after all the behavior, taking on the responsibility of teaching real, messy human beings to read and write well, skills that are imperative to high school, college, and the workforce… It’s daunting. But I’ve walked in there every day for the past (almost) 6 weeks and tried my best. I am an example standing up there in front of those kids every day. If I tell them to show grit, I must show grit. If I tell them to drop the negativity at the door, I have to hold myself to the same standard. We are responsible for the energy we bring into a room and I intend to bring as much love as I can muster.

If I ask my students to write, and to write often and with fidelity, then you guessed it… I have to be the change I wish to see.

So here’s to writing. Here’s to telling our truth. Here’s to the beautiful freedom in words.