Keep Writing After March: Slice of Life #sol18 24/31

There’s still a week to go, but I’m already feeling a little bit sad about the end of March. March gets me writing and publishing every day. March gets me thinking deeply and discovering things I didn’t even know I knew or needed to write about. March connects me to so many new teacher-writers whose words I love to read each day. March reconnects me daily with teacher friends I only sporadically interact with throughout the year. March brings me new readers whose comments push my thinking and help me see my teaching and writing in new ways.

If I’m honest, of course, I’m also feeling a little bit relieved that there’s only one week to go. March is intense, demanding. Writing and publishing daily with attention to voice and craft requires such presence and alertness throughout the day. Slice seeking sometimes feels like a full-time job! Reading and processing and commenting on so many Slices (I try to read and comment on at least 20 a day, because I know that comments matter to writers) takes energy. And of course all that writing and reading take time.

Still, on April 1, I imagine I’m going to feel a little bit at loose ends. So I’m already thinking about how I might challenge myself to stay focused on my goals.

Here are some ideas to consider:

A deeper dive into your writer’s notebook. Ralph Fletcher’s Breathing In, Breathing Out and Lucy Calkins’s Living Between the Lines are two beautifully written, supportive books about living the writer’s life within the pages of our notebooks. Perhaps a reread is in order.

A morning writing commitment.  Julia Cameron recommends starting the day with morning pages, three longhand pages of writing first thing in the morning. Naomi Shihab Nye recommends three lines every day. I hope to commit to something somewhere in between.

A timed quickwrite. April is National Poetry month, so I expect my feed reader will be full of daily poems. I may choose one to write alongside each day. Or perhaps I’ll follow the Daily Writing Project’s daily word writing idea. Choose their word (follow #DWHabit on Twitter) or your own and write for a few minutes.

A poem a day. April is also National Poetry Writing Month, and the NaPoWriMo site hosts daily prompts and challenges as well as links to poetry written by other bloggers. Be sure to check out the wonderful poetry blogs written by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater, Laurie Purdie Salas, and Irene Latham for more inspiration each day in April.

Another monthlong blogging challenge. The Blogging A to Z Challenge might be fun. You select your own theme and then use that day’s letter of the alphabet to inspire your post.

A letter a day. April is National Letter Writing Month. Who knew? The Write On Campaign encourages letter writing throughout the month and even includes some ideas for writing letters to those in need.

A daily blogging meme. The Daily Meme and The Master List of Book Blogging Memes have more ideas than you could possibly use. Of course you should keep slicing with Two Writing Teachers on Tuesdays. The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? and Celebrate communities are also very active and welcoming.

How will you maintain your writing habits in April?








37 responses to “Keep Writing After March: Slice of Life #sol18 24/31”

  1. margaretsmn Avatar

    What a great list of resources and reasons to write on. I am going to write a poem a day in April. Like you I want to keep the momentum and the daily commitment to writing going.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I may try working with poetry every day too, though I doubt I will publish every day on my blog. My writing students are very excited about poetry right now so I think we will continue that exploration in class as well.

      1. margaretsmn Avatar

        I hope you will share. There is something bigger about sharing. Do you remember what Naomi said about why she sent her poetry out? Just. do. it. I’m not ready for this month to end.

  2. Melanie Meehan Avatar

    This is great, Elisabeth! Thanks for sharing so many ideas when the post-slicing duldrums set in.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      “Post-slicing doldrums” is the perfect way to describe it! At least Tuesday will roll around quickly after the challenge ends.

  3. persistenceandpedagogy Avatar

    Oh my gosh – this is perfect. I just told my mother-in-law last night that I am loving this community (the energy, the writing, the positive helpful comments), but that I am a) exhausted and b) sad to think of it ending in a week or so. I’m new to all of this and I was afraid I would end up back in my own head, but these ideas you offer will help me keep going. Also, thank you for 20 comments a day. It makes such a difference. I’m doing 10+ and find it energizing and wonderful but it is also time-consuming for sure. As a new writer, I deeply appreciate the time you take to guide others through your posts and your comments.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thank you! My energy level seems to change daily right now, so I don’t know what I’m going to feel up to doing once April rolls around. I really hope you will keep writing and publishing, because your blog is one of my favorite discoveries this month!

      1. persistenceandpedagogy Avatar

        Thanks! What a lovely compliment!

  4. Trina Haase Avatar
    Trina Haase

    Elisabeth, what a treasure trove of ideas! I especially want to return to my Fletcher and Calkins books about my writers notebook. I have felt fortunate to find your blog and be able to take so much away from it. And 20 comments a day!! What a gift!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I have the Calkins book as my next read just as soon as I finish my current PD book (Disrupting Thinking). I have so many new PD books I want to read that I often don’t think about rereading, but I know how richly rewarding that can be.

      1. Trina Haase Avatar
        Trina Haase

        I really liked disrupting Thinking. I read it last summer and need to revisit it!

    2. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Are there any other books about writers notebooks you especially like?

      1. Trina Haase Avatar
        Trina Haase

        It isn’t primarily about a writers notebook, but Linda Rief’s Read Write Teach is a great book too

  5. glenda funk Avatar
    glenda funk

    Excellent resources for keeping the writing habit going. I’ve participated in the A to Z challenge twice, once w/ out missing a day. I’ve been thinking a lot about joining some of the other weekly communities.

    A few months ago I started writing some more personal posts about my childhood and had a moment w/ my sister a few days ago. It’s not something I’d write about n my blog, but I have written about it and want to write more in that vein.

    I’m constantly thinking about professional writing and teaching as narrative.

    My reading g life has suffered this month, and I do need balance between reading and writing. Like you, I have a lofty daily commenting goal. It takes time.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      My reading life has suffered too, Glenda. I do think that March daily slicing gets my writing life out of balance as well, simply because I am trying to polish and publish so frequently and I do try to avoid those “placeholder posts”–posted just so I can say I didn’t break the streak. I would like to get back to participating in my weekly communities. I especially miss the Monday reading folks. I just haven’t been blogging over the past few months. I also discovered this month that I have missed writing about teaching and thinking through some of my preservice teachers’ questions, so I want to stay committed to that.

  6. Caoimhe Buckley Avatar

    Thanks Elizabeth – I’ll save these ideas for later 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hope you’ll keep writing and publishing to your blog!

  7. mrsday75 Avatar

    I’ll keep writing with the Teach Write tribe (they have a Facebook page if you are interested). Jennifer Laffin post a word a day, so I sometimes write to that. I keep my notebook by my chair and write in the morning about whatever comes to mind. I won’t post to my blog every day, but I will keep writing!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I just joined the FB page yesterday! Thank you for letting me know about that. I recently followed their blog too and have been really enjoying the posts. I am honestly looking forward to some morning writing that’s just in my notebook, just for me, no pressure to polish into a post!

  8. arjeha Avatar

    Many people seem to stop blogging after the month concludes. You have given great ideas. At the least, I hope many people continue with the weekly SOL.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I struggle to keep writing and posting consistently too, and I would so like for that not to be me this year. I, too, hope that many will continue slicing throughout the year. It’s such a good way to stay involved in the community throughout the year and really have a dedicated audience come March. I saw many slices this year from 2nd-4th yr Slicers about how they weren’t getting much traffic to their blogs, and I think staying consistent throughout the year and building your audience of readers is a big part of that.

  9. Kellee Avatar

    Great list! Thank you ❤

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks for all your work at Unleashing Readers! It’s become my #1 resource to share with my preservice teachers.

  10. Terje Avatar

    So many ideas. So many possibilities. It is very likely that I will comfortably go back to the routine of blogging on Tuesdays (SOL) and Saturdays (Celebrate).

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I feel that it’s likely I will go back to my comfort routine too: posting once or twice a week!

  11. Wondering and Wandering Avatar

    Last year was my first year in the SOLC. I remember how exhausted I was during the last week, but how lost I felt on April 1st. I kept slicing on Tuesdays and sharing poetry love with the Poetry Friday community. It is amazing the habit I developed after that one intense month. I look forward to finding a way to incorporate Morning Pages, too. At the moment I’ll just have time for them on weekends and during vacations, but I’ll find a way. Thanks for sharing this great list of resources with everyone!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I always feel lost on April 1 too. “Where is everybody??” I need to do a better job blogging throughout the week and participating in Tuesday Slicing.

  12. amyjuengst Avatar

    This is my first SOLC and it has been an exhausting but wonderful challenge! I am looking forward to submitting my final post on the 31st and breathing a slight sigh of relief, but I take your word that I may feel out of sorts without a specific writing goal. Thank you for sharing these resources!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      So glad you joined the challenge this year and very much hope you will continue slicing throughout the year! I feel like we all build so much momentum and such productive writing habits this month, and it’s tricky to find a way to keep moving forward and challenging ourselves while also easing off the pressure of a daily challenge. I know for myself, I have good intentions but stop writing entirely when I don’t have the community and comments supporting my work.

  13. rdicarne Avatar

    Thank you for this fabulous list! I don’t know if I can take on another daily publishing challenge, but I am willing to explore some of your ideas.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I am not sure I will do another daily publishing challenge either. My reading life is suffering this month, and I am also looking forward to more relaxed mornings where I’m not anxiously fishing for a piece of writing! But I do hope to continue writing daily.

  14. carwilc Avatar

    You have such a great list of suggestions here. I think Stacey and crew should link to it for everyone on the last day. Some years I write poetry with Mary Lee. That’s another huge commitment, and I’m trying to decide whether I can do it this year.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hope you will decide yes, as I really love your poetry. I’m ready for you to write a book, Carol! Just add that to everything else you do in your 10-12 hour workdays please! I think I am going to try to write some poetry during April, because I have enjoyed experimenting with it during March, but doubt I publish much of it to my blog.

  15. Day 30 of the March SOLSC #SOL18 | TWO WRITING TEACHERS Avatar

    […] many great ideas about how to keep writing even when the March challenge ends. Don’t miss her post about keeping her writing life […]

  16. barbara suter Avatar

    Thanks for your treasure trove of ideas. I like the idea of three sentences a day. I could expand on them if I choose to or not. Maybe I’ll start a file of ideas for next year. In any case, the important thing is to do something…in writing!

  17. […] still haven’t decided what I’m going to do next month to keep writing, but I do know that I will be back tomorrow with a very special post that I’ve been working on […]

  18. […] But the challenge also gave me the immense satisfaction of putting words on a page every single day. Of deciding which to keep and which to adjust; of concluding somehow, and then grappling with what was said and how; of wondering at all hours of the day and night if there could be a better way to get across an idea so close to my heart using words that can only ever approximate until somehow, magically, the right combination comes auspiciously close. I thought I’d have revamped my blog by the end of the challenge. I thought I’d have categories and tags all worked out, and streamlined my online writing presence. I thought I’d have more answers. But all of that seemed to take time away from words on page and I always chose that. And now, that’s what I miss most, and what I will seek to continue, someway, somehow (some ideas here). […]

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