When I started the Slice of Life Challenge back in 2011, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life or that I’d still be participating 9 years later. However, the SOL Challenge has become a part of my identity. I’m someone who slices now. I tell anyone who will listen that they have to try it. I look forward to the challenge each year, and I mourn it when it’s over.
This challenge is a gift I give to myself each and every year. The practice of slowing down, being more mindful of my daily life, noticing the little details, and carving out time to write gives me a renewed perspective and an appreciation of life. I’m not a consistent writer and the act of journaling each day is daunting, but by slicing each March, I have a record of one month of my life year on year. Because I write honestly about what’s going on in my life, there are good slices and bad. Looking back on my past slices gives me a chance to reflect on where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. It also helps me remember little details of my life abroad that I might have otherwise forgotten.
Since joining the challenge, I have noticed that I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone as a writer. I’m comfortable with narrative, and I tend to fall back on the genre in most of my writing, but the practice of writing each day gives me the freedom and opportunity to try out other genres that might seem scary at first. Poetry is a genre that I previously avoided, thinking there’s no way I can do it, but reading other slicers’ poems and dipping my toe into this unfamiliar genre has shown me that I can write poetry and some slices are better written as a poem.
Being a part of this writing community has changed me for the better. Each March, as I dust off the old blog, it feels like coming home. The friends I have made on the challenge over the years spur me on as a writer. We read and comment on one another’s slices, getting insight into one another’s lives. Sometimes I feel that they know me more than some people in real life know me. They see the rawness and vulnerability to get to know the real me. They encourage me as a writer, offer words of advice and sympathy, and celebrate the good stuff.
When you join the SOL Challenge, you agree to read and comment on at least 3 other slices each day, but I always do way more than that. Reading other slices gives me ideas for my own writing, teaches me new things, and gives me a sense of connectedness. I’ve learned that comments fuel me as a writer, which is part of the reason I love the challenge. I know that every time I post my slice, there will be an audience reading what I’ve offered up. Getting feedback on my writing is exciting and helps me grow as a writer.
Something I’ve learned by taking part in this challenge is that you make time for what’s important. All too often I put things off because I’m too busy. I neglect the dishes in the sink or the stuff piling up on my desk that is calling out to be put away. I skip the gym or take a long time to respond to emails. But during the challenge, I find time to write every day, as well as read and comment on other slices. Does it take a lot of time? Yes. Does my to do list get longer? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.
I hope that you will join me on this SOL Challenge. It’s definitely worth it!