Another SOL Challenge is in the Books!

As I begin my annual SOL Challenge reflection, I’m struck by the odd feeling I have. For the past ten years, I always feel one of two ways on Day 31. I’m either saddened by the end, longing for more time to develop myself as a writer and connect with others in the SOL community, or I’m glad it’s over, as I limp to the finish line, depleted of words and ideas, unable to eke out another slice. It’s typically the former. But today I am feeling somewhere in the middle, like it’s just another day of slicing. It’s a strange feeling to not have a sense of finality. It probably speaks more to my mental state at the moment than anything. My brain is full-up, the endless end-of-school-year to do’s running through my head.

This year has been unlike any other SOL challenge. I’ve written every day, but I haven’t connected with the community as much as I usually do. With my limited time to slice and read/comment, I tended to gravitate toward my Welcome Wagon newbies and old slicing friends I’ve gained over the years. Unlike years past, where I made a point to read a few new slicers each day to get to know other people and expose myself to a wider range of writing styles, I simply didn’t have the time. Apart from my lazy Saturday mornings, where I explored new-to-me slicers, I was on autopilot, mining my WordPress Reader feed of followed blogs to read and comment on. And even then, I didn’t get to everyone I wanted to every day. This is probably why it feels so weird today. This community of writers is what I love most about the challenge and keeps me coming back year after year. I’m disappointed that I didn’t make more time to get to know other slicers and widen my circle. I want to change that next year.

When I look back on the past month of writing, there were some ups and downs for sure. Luckily there were more “ups” than downs! I noticed that challenging days resulted in slices of poetry. As someone who is much more comfortable with narrative, this was a surprising realization. Since moving to my new home on Jeju island, I haven’t made time to write about life here, but this month, I was able to write a few slices about my new experiences. I hope to add more as time goes by. Seeing as I was time poor this month, I didn’t rely on writing formats, such as “Currently…” or “Today I…”, as often as I would have thought I would (I used them only 4 times). A few times my slices were about something that happened in the past, coming from a spark of a conversation or something that triggered the memory. I also wrote about everyday things, like fire drills and snacks with colleagues, which is in stark contrast to my SOL challenge from 2020 where nothing could be classified as “everyday.” I’ll take a little normal and a little boring after last year.

As I close out my eleventh year of slicing in the SOL challenge, I’d like to say a big thank you to my fellow slicers for coming along on this journey with me. I’d like to thank the TWT co-authors for all of the hard work that they put into this challenge each year. I’m sure there are countless hours put in behind the scenes to make this a reality. Lastly, I’d like to thank the slicers who left comments on my slices. Your words were comforting and supportive and very much appreciated! A special shout out to Terje, Elsie, livinglife, Ms. Chiubooka Writes, Ms. Victor Reads, StandingTall, Fran McCrackin, and karpenglish for your support and love this month!

Until next time, SOL community, happy writing!

8 thoughts on “Another SOL Challenge is in the Books!

  1. Katie Diez

    I love this! So reflective of this experience. You had me thinking a lot about how challenging this month was for me as well. I loved the part about the mix of emotions when this challenge is over. I find that I am proud to have done it, a little sad it is over and also a bit relieved as well. I always promise myself that I will continue to write on Tuesdays and I think this year it might happen. Congrats on completing this challenge!

    Reply
  2. elsie

    I always look forward to your posts every March. I do think and wonder during the other months of the year what you are doing/experiencing. The challenge has gotten so large that I find it hard to develop the connections to other slicers. So if you ever want to drop a post that is not in March, you could visit https://sharingourstoriesmagic.com/ Hope you take that invite and join once in awhile.

    Reply
  3. mschiubookawrites

    I am limping through the finish line with you! 11 years is no laughing matter; that is truly remarkable. Your reflection about poetry on tough days is SO true. May poems carry us through the storm of this year. All the best on your adventures, big and small.

    Reply
  4. soundofwaterblog

    Couldn’t end the Challenge without saying a special thank you for your stalwart attention! I have much to think about in relation to the importance of comments here, but one thing is absolutely clear: your comments were encouraging and welcome and I might well not have continued if you hadn’t passed them on to me. Hope to see you here next year, and I hope then you will have stories about your trip back to the States this summer. All best —

    Reply
  5. JudyK /J Koval

    So many of your end-of-challenge feelings are ones that I have this year, too. I’m glad that I was able to connect with you at least a little this year (and to learn that your name is actually Jennifer, not Aggie, haha!). I look forward to reading your writing again in the future. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 ~JudyK

    Reply
  6. Fran McCrackin

    So true, how the 2020 challenge was so unique, and I want to thank you for bringing assurance to those of us experiencing it a few weeks delay after you, that we could still teach and cope during the pandemic. I am glad you can write some “normal” posts this year! I enjoy your pieces very much, and I even look forward to your “year in photos” almost as if I were family!!

    Reply
  7. karpenglish

    Eleven Marches! Wow! I didn’t realize you had done that many. I think I am glad that you were able to have a boring sort of slicing year after last year. Off in Indonesia, I think you were kind of the bellwether of terror for the rest of us as lockdowns steadily marched across the world. I have read a number of slices today about mining the good old WordPress reader pane when commenting, and I know I have done a whole lot more of that this year too, so you are in good company! 😉 Usually, I read all kinds of things first and then my reader is my treat slices from those I follow! One thing that I would really like to do differently next year is go back to spending some time reading the daily call for slices blog, along with all the inspirations and ideas and signposts to interesting slices. I enjoy exploring those each day, and too often this year I jumped straight to “post a comment.”

    Hang in there through the end of your school year! You’ll get your vaccination turn soon, and then you can visit your family and travel again!!! It’s out there on the horizon somewhere!

    Reply
  8. livinglife816287820

    Your job sounds crazy busy, so no wonder you didn’t have the same amount of time as other years. Have always enjoyed the variety and details in your slices and of course the photos. See you next year!

    Reply

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