2014 marks the fourth year that I have participated in the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers and, except for the first year, I have written a post all 31 days in March. I tend to follow a typical trajectory. I start off strong, full of gusto and enthusiasm, get stuck in the middle with “Why am I doing this? I don’t have time. No one wants to read what I have to say! What is it that I want to say anyway?”, and then limp across the finish line, weary and a little worse for wear, glad that my month of blogging is done. Ready to put it on the shelf for the next 11 months. But this year was different. This year was better.
This year, I started out strong, and I finished strong. There wasn’t a day when I wrote about writer’s block, as I had done every other year. I lived my life with eyes wide-open, ready to mentally capture the potential slices that filled my days, so that I had something to write about that evening. Somedays I had so many great slices to choose from, that it was hard to pick just one. This year, my slices centered around a few themes. Travel, my back pain issues, memories from my childhood, reflection, and of course, living abroad in a culture very different from home. This year, I learned that I can write 1000 words in no time at all. My writing has taken on a more natural feel, flowing out of me as fast as the thoughts enter my head.
This year, I realized that what motivates me as a writer is writing for an audience. Knowing that someone out there is reading my words–making a connection, learning something new, feeling a certain way–makes all the difference. Comments are food for the soul. They’re like little nuggets of encouragement, spurring me on to write each day, letting me know that what I say matters.
This year, I spread the slicing love to some of my friends. Shaggers joined me on the challenge last year, but this was her first 31-day slicing month. Congrats by the way Shags! We were each other’s biggest cheerleaders and encouragers. Daily text check-ins to nudge one another to write, revision emails swapped with “I can’t figure out this line…can you help?”, “How can I get my verb tense to match up?”, and “Ugh, poetry is so tough…please work your magic!”, and comment after comment, making connections and giving feedback. In addition to Shags, a couple of my other friends joined me for their inaugural year on the challenge. Kudos to you Jen, Heather, and Brittany! I’m proud of you! 😉 I even had one of my Kindergarten teachers write me an email saying that I’d inspired him to write with my slicing. He sent me a lovely poem he’d written as an homage to our school. Igniting that writing spark in others gives me warm fuzzies!
This year, I can’t believe how quickly the month has flown by! While some things didn’t get done as I committed to the task of writing daily and commenting on other slicers, I am proud of my decision to write daily, no matter what. Writing daily has become a habit, one that I hope to continue as we move into April. Every year I say I will slice on Tuesdays, but after about 2 Tuesdays, life creeps back in and I get “too busy” to do it. Not this year. Shaggers and I are committed. We are becoming year-round slicers. Let’s do this!
Thank you for taking the time to read my slices and share your thoughts. It truly means the world to me! Until next time…zai jian!