31 Things I’ve Learned in a Month of Slicing: Slice of Life 31/31 #sol17

slice of life

  1. I do have time to write every day. I really do.
  2. I have time to write every day, and do my job and cook dinner and play with the cats and be a halfway decent wife and a very good mother.
  3. Formats and structures are far more inspiring to me than topics.
  4. I need 6-10 ideas to sift through and reject before I commit to one.
  5. If I can generate 42-70 ideas per week that seem reasonable to try to write about, there really should be no reason to ever feel blocked as a writer.
  6. Carrie Gelson is the reader I picture when I’m writing.
  7. I’m still terrible at titling my posts.
  8. Endings are always the trickiest part of a piece, but 31 days of practice finding the ending has helped me get there more quickly.
  9. The best part of slicing really is the community. It’s great to do the writing, but the community is what inspires me to join this challenge.
  10. Comments matter. They don’t need to be long. Sometimes an “I really felt this” is all the writer needs to feel heard and keep going.
  11. I wish I could consistently publish in the morning—both to have it checked off my list for the day and to receive more comments.
  12. Most pieces need considerable percolation time. For a short piece, maybe a few hours; for a longer piece, maybe a few days.
  13. I like to have several potential slices I’m working on at once, adding here and there until I get a piece ready for publication.
  14. I always feel like I’m cheating when I write a “Currently” post even though they’re one of my favorites to read on other blogs.
  15. Part of my story as a writer is that I periodically have to relearn everything I know about writing.
  16. Losing my way and finding it again is simply part of my writing process.
  17. When I write daily, I trust the writing will be there.
  18. But at the same time, “there is nothing more deadening to creativity than the grim determination to write” (Abigail Thomas).
  19. Writing is sometimes the only part of my day when I feel fully present and fully engaged.
  20. The more I write, the less I feel like I understand the process of writing.
  21. The pressure of publishing every day means less play in my notebook.
  22. I like to read a few slices before I start writing.
  23. I am most productive first thing in the morning, but it’s rarely the time I choose to write.
  24. When I am focused on writing to a particular format or structure, the sentence-level writing matters far less to me. The perfectionist in me finds posts with special formats or structures especially conducive to quick publication.
  25. Sometimes I can’t start working on my piece until I write about all the things swarming around my head that are getting in the way of starting work on my piece.
  26. I am a slow writer. There was one post that took ten minutes from conception to publication (that was a great day!). For the rest, I usually had at least one potential idea before I sat down to write, and then I budgeted an hour for writing. That was rarely enough to revise and find the ending.
  27. What for me is a slapped-together post has still been reworked, revised, rethought, rewritten multiple times.
  28. I think a lot about how each piece gets written and try to reflect on my process, but how all of this works is often still a mystery.
  29. There is something essentially unknowable about how we write. There is something magical and mysterious and unpredictable and unpindownable and most definitely unteachable about doing this.
  30. I understand how to write not by talking about it or thinking about it but by doing it.
  31. “I live better when I slice.” I copied these words in my notebook at the beginning of the month, and now I don’t know whose words they are. I’ve checked all my favorite blogs, and I can’t find the quotation, and I’m so sorry not to attribute those words to their owner. But I have thought of them often this month. Yes. I live better when I slice.





13 responses to “31 Things I’ve Learned in a Month of Slicing: Slice of Life 31/31 #sol17”

  1. Sonja Schulz Avatar
    Sonja Schulz

    I always enjoy reading your blog so much! This is a great list.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Sonja. Wasn’t sure I could get to 31….

  2. The Logonauts (@thelogonauts) Avatar

    Thanks for sharing these! I wanted to wait until the pressure was off to sit back and reflect.

    I do disagree with your connection to writing early and getting more comments. I found a lot of my posts that got shared early or mid-morning got totally ignored in the swap of people writing/post in the evenings. Hmm.

    Thank you again so much for sharing – and for inspiring me to give this a go!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      So interesting! My posts published in the a.m. always seem to get more comments. We must have a different cross-section of readers! But now that I’m thinking about it, I realize I have no evidence for this claim except my own “feeling”–which half the time is totally wrong. I was thinking about doing a post of slice analytics (which post was most read, most commented on, etc.) so maybe I can crunch some numbers and figure it out! So glad you sliced this month! I really enjoyed reading your posts so much.

  3. Diane Anderson (newtreemom) Avatar

    A thoughtful reflection about yourself as a writer and about writing in general. All of it is food for thought for other writers.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I always enjoy reading about other writers’ processes and reflections on writing!

  4. wahooteacher Avatar

    Thank you for sharing your reflections. I found myself nodding a lot as I read through your post. I especially connected with #30. I love #29. I think that I need to copy that into my notebook!

  5. carriegelson Avatar

    Well, wow, I love that I am perhaps your target audience! Feel very honoured. I connected a lot to #15, #16, #22 and #29. I am amazed at how many potential ideas you have. I usually have between 0 and 2. Then somehow, I arrive at 1. Often not sure how. I am terrible at the format posts. I see other people who do it. But I can never seem to get the flow unless it is coming from something I need to be writing. Writing for me is often solving a problem or wrapping my head around something. Another of my truths – is that the response is often best and I feel the best when I have taken the biggest risk. But the actual writing might have been the most scary.

  6. Carol1006 Avatar

    Very interesting insights! Number 1 is perhaps the most significant.

  7. karpenglish Avatar

    These are all great thoughts for our last day. I loved #19. Writing has often been the best part of my day because I felt really present and really aware for that time.

  8. Ali Vrbas Avatar

    Wow! I really enjoyed this format and am inspired to maybe sneak in an extra post tomorrow. Thanks!

  9. Jane Avatar

    Thank you so much for this month’s slices. I’ve enjoyed them all. Only sorry that it is over.

  10. btk7m Avatar

    Like you, I did a list of lessons learned from this experience and many of our items matched! This has been such a great experience!

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