I’ve been a holdout for years with the March Slice Challenge. I look forward to it every year as a reader, and I slice sporadically throughout the year, but I’ve never been so much as tempted to sign up for daily slicing before. Mostly out of concern for my readers. I didn’t think I could possibly publish something worth their valuable reading and commenting time for 31 days in a row. That has been the real challenge for me. Daily writing is not hard. Daily publishing is.
I’m a picky Slice reader and writer, though it’s hard for me to pinpoint just what it is that I need in a slice. So many different types of slices have appealed to me this month. To borrow a metaphor from one of my favorite Slicers, Carrie Gelson, I’m looking for something to sink my teeth into—as a reader and as a writer.
Daily publishing doesn’t leave much time for reflection, but here’s what I think I’ve learned this month:
- Writing takes time—but not as much time as I think it does.
- I can’t predict what’s going to work. I had several topics picked out that I was really excited to write about—but version after version of a draft fell flat, and I lost interest. I also had several structures picked out that I was excited to play with, but once I started writing, they didn’t work for me.
- I abandon pieces of writing like I abandon books—profligately.
- I have gotten a little more comfortable with imperfection. At some point each day, I had to publish something. Something had to be in a finished enough state to share. If there was something to sink my teeth into, I could let it go out into the world.
- A month given over to writing means a lot less reading. To be most content and productive as a reader and a writer, I need a balance of both.
- I tend to start Slices by brainstorming content, but I’m finding that starting with structure or a craft choice is often more productive. Often, content I don’t feel is quite worthy of my time as a writer becomes something worthwhile through craft.
- Structures and formats are incredibly generative for me.
- Comments really matter. Connections and encouragement keep me going. I have dedicated readers who visit my blog every day and read my words—even though they don’t have to. That’s incredible to me.
- Writing every day makes me more present in my daily life. My OLW last year was present. My OLW this year is moments. Writing is a way to practice both.
- Mentor texts matter too. Some of my favorite pieces this month were inspired by other slices. I never could have written those pieces without the writing of others.
- If I show up, something is going to happen. This is a lesson I have to learn again and again as a writer: trust the process. Maybe someday this will sink in?
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