Well, ladies and gentlemen, November is now upon us. For most of you, this probably means you must start considering which relatives you’ll have to endure during Thanksgiving and whom you have decided will no longer be receiving a Christmas gift. A few of you have probably already strung Christmas lights or begun strategizing your Black Friday plan of attack. For those of us that blog, many of whom I hope have stopped by to visit, we recognize November for another reason as National Blog Posting Month.
National Blog Posting Month, frequently abbreviated as NaBloPoMo, is a month-long writing exercise that occurs each November. The first NaBloPoMo occurred in 2006 at the urging of American blogger M. Kennedy. Kennedy was inspired by National Novel Writing Month. NaBloPoMo has grown steadily in popularity and every year the numbers seem to increase.
A few of you might recall my attempt at NaBloPoMo last year. I started out strong. I thought I had some great posts in there, and even found myself mocking those who just wrote two or three sentences about their cute kids or stressful day. I thought, “c’mon folks -- if you can’t do this shit right, why bother?” And then it happened: I failed.
After that failure, there were several times I assured myself, “Well, I sure ain’t doing that shit again. Nobody wants to have to read another shitty acrostic poem on Thanksgiving. Angela, please don’t make the world suffer. Just give it up, girl.”
And yet, here we are, one year later and I have once again signed up with the wonderful folks at BlogHer and Yeah Write to participate in NaBloPoMo. Will I succeed this year or will I fail yet again? I cannot accurately answer that question right now, but I can tell you this: It doesn’t matter -- it does not fucking matter. And here’s the point where this post now becomes a Public Service Announcement about trying your best.
Imagine if I had told so many sophomore students, “You know what, Nick? Your research essay is probably going to suck balls because you’re not the brightest bulb in the bunch, so how about you just not waste our time and spend the weekend playing Grand Theft Auto instead?” That would most assuredly be an outlandish suggestion, and I just might have been fired (I ended up getting laid off anyway, the assholes). But, the real reason I never would have uttered such phrases is not linked to my fear of administrative reprimand. It is linked directly to my top priority as a teacher: helping students to fulfill their potential.
Wayne Gretzky is widely known for stating, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Although I’m not the world’s greatest sports fan, it is utterly true that one must first try, and frequently fail, in order to eventually succeed. I’m sure most of us are aware that Albert Einstein, still considered the world’s preeminent genius, could not speak until age four or read until age seven, and was even expelled from school. Abraham Lincoln, now remembered as one of the world’s greatest leaders, was defeated in 26 campaigns he made for public office. In his early years, teachers told Thomas Edison, prominent inventor, he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Remember too, that another sporting legend, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school basketball team. Certainly, there are many other famous failures, including some of the most recognized authors such as Stephen King and J.K. Rowling.
Therefore, I repeat that the first step in succeeding is trying. You might fail along the way, but we can’t be afraid of making mistakes. So, Nick still needed to write his research essay (even though I had to endure the confusion of their/there endlessly) if he intended to improve upon his skills and pass the course. Likewise, I need to keep writing if I am ever to truly believe in my talents, thus also encouraging others to follow their dreams. The more you know, folks. Now imagine that I have concluded this post with a shooting star and some cheerful chimes.