I’m Going to Put in the Work

I am going to sore muscles, leg aches,
worn down Brooks from pounding up and down my neighborhood streets
on most days of the week in preparation for running a 5k in at least 30 minutes.
It may or may not happen in February, during my school’s annual
Stampede in the Park that supports the cross country team.
We’ll see. I’m going to put in the work.

I’m going to my kitchen table, Dunkin’ Donuts,
or my favorite seat on the firm couch, for Time To Write
a letter to grandparents, a poem, a few paragraphs of my fairy tale, and spiritual encouragement, at least once a week for each of those.
I’m going to growing my audience, because I just want to write, and for it to make a difference in someone’s life. I’m going to put in the work

I’m going to consistent quiet mornings, and moments whenever I can,
with black coffee nearby and Bible notebook in hand.
I’m going to “Our Father in heaven… your kingdom come… give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts… and deliver us from the evil one” because all needs are covered in this prayer and His is the glory forever, and with Him, I’m going to put in the work

I’m going to free my hummingbird often – that freedom-loving male –
and call my friends, instead, when I need to lament,
and we’ll go for a run, a walk, a climb, and let all our woman-energy out.
And I’m going to snuggle next to the little ones – who are not so little anymore,
with our own bought copies of Dogman, The Wide-Awake Princess,
Unofficial Minecraft graphic novels, Teen/YA, and books galore, and
read aloud with crazy voices, because kids who have books in their homes and parents who read aloud, do well in school. I’m going to put in the work.

I am going all out with independent reading, student interest and their goals,
because autonomy is motivating, and I need motivated, interested students
who will actually learn something and grow because they want to. I’m going to meet
the minimum requirements – squeeze them in somewhere – and spend the majority
of my energy interested in their lives and what they’re interested in.
I’m going to show them my own writing, reading, and struggle, and
give real feedback, answer their every question with patience – Holy Spirit help me – with smiles, and reply “my pleasure” to their “thank you”. I’m going to put in the work.

I’m going to put in the work each day, because I’m learning from running
that when I put in the work, step-by-painful, tedious step, that
at the end of the day – at the close of the year, I will be stronger, faster,
I will have the product I was working toward because
I decided now that I’m going to put in the work.

The above poem is in response to Teach Write’s Time To Write January 2021 challenge. The challenge was to write a poem in the same spirit as George Ella Lyon’s Where I’m From poem. Instead of writing about our past and the stuff we are made of, the challenge focused on Where I’m Going, and challenged me to think about my goals for 2021 and beyond.

If you’re a teacher of writers (or a writer… you don’t have to be a teacher) and you’re looking for a supportive group of other writers to encourage you along your writing journey, check out Teach Write.

2 responses to “I’m Going to Put in the Work”

  1. “free my hummingbird” and … “autonomy is motivating” … pithy phrases I picked out for inspiration.
    “I’m going to do the work.”
    Prose Poetry is my favorite.
    Your words should be played on Repeat.


    • Kathy! “hummingbird” refers to my husband… am sure you could get that from context perhaps? Anyhow… it’s an allusion to a Mary Oliver poem I fell in love with recently. Thanks again for reading and for your encouraging words. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: