Friday, March 2, 2018
The Blank Page
Committing to writing daily for 31 days sounds like a really great idea in the month or two before I start. I can easily think of things I might write about, imagine the stories I might tell, look forward to the insights I'll discover.
Then March rolls around and I stare at this:
An empty page, waiting for my words to fill it. Waiting for the thoughts and feelings to escape my brain through clicks on my keyboard. Far too often, I see this image and my brain freezes. It's almost as if the ideas escape through my ears, lost in the ether, never to be found again.
As a teacher of writing, this is an important reminder. Writing is hard work. On-demand writing can be even harder, especially in a test-taking situation where you don't have control over the topic. In this space, at least I have choices. I can write about whatever strikes my fancy, and I can write for as long (or as little) as I want. And no one will be grading my performance.
It's good for teachers to put themselves in their students' shoes, to remember what it feels like to undertake a task that feels overwhelming at first, to struggle with an idea or a blank page. When we do this, we can examine our own processes for rising to the challenge. We can hold on to that feeling of frustration or struggle and perhaps approach our students who are feeling those same emotions with a bit more compassion or empathy than we might have before.
This once-blank page is filling up, and as I write the ideas begin to flow more quickly. Maybe, just maybe, if I opened another page, I could also write tomorrow's post as well.