Dear New Slicer,
I’m so glad you’ve joined the March Slice of Life Story Challenge! Your first posts yesterday gave me energy and inspiration—and also reminded me that newbie and veteran Slicers alike share the same trepidation at the beginning of March.
Where will the ideas come from? Do I really have 31 different pieces of writing in me this month? 31 different pieces of published writing?
And where will the time come from? Most days I just barely manage to meet my responsibilities at home and work and still have a tiny sliver of time for myself (most days). Where is the time for daily writing and publishing and commenting to come from?
Here are some ideas for managing the challenge:
Keep a writer’s notebook. I may lose ideas the rest of the year, but in March, no topic, no phrase, no hint for a potential piece of writing slips through my fingers because my notebook is always nearby and usually open.
Write in your head. The time I normally spend in my head formulating to-do lists or tinkering with my lesson plans becomes writing time in March. I look for ideas and think up sentences as I drive to work, exercise, shower.
Set the timer. Just five minutes of quick writing can uncover multiple potential pieces. Thirty-one days of published writing also requires some haste. I can spend hours tinkering over a blog post, but sometimes I need to give myself ten minutes to finish a slice and hit publish.
Write the night before. If you’re really anxious about time and deadlines, try drafting tomorrow’s slice tonight.
Seek mentor texts. Read other slices not just to comment but as inspirational mentor texts. I am a liberal borrower of topics and structures from other bloggers.
Save mentor texts. I prefer to keep everything handy in one document. At the beginning of the month, I create a new Slice Ideas document. I keep it open as I comment on Slices each morning and copy and paste links to pieces that might inspire my own writing. But you might prefer a Pinterest board like Michelle’s or a padlet like Christie’s. (Or all three!)
Think format. I’ve found that borrowing formats from other slicers is even more productive for me as a writer than borrowing topics. Currently is a fun format to try, and I started my challenge this year with Fran’s Since Last March.
Save it for a rainy day. By week two, I try to have several drafts of potential slices started in my notebook or on my computer. On a really busy or really bad day, it’s comforting to know that I only need to add a conclusion or do a little editing to have a slice ready to go.
Write about writing. Try a March Manifesto, a description of the place you write, an exploration of why you write, a reflection on your process, a post about when you slice, or even a post about having nothing to write.
Write somewhere new. Each year I get a couple of slices out of observation or description pieces where I sit in a new place and jot down what I see and hear.
Be here in this moment. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we think about 31 days of writing. Stay here in this moment, this day. For today, you only need to write today’s slice. One slice. Not thirty-one.