What Next?: Slice of Life 31/31 #sol20

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It’s the last day of what has surely been the longest March in human history–or at least the longest March in my own history. I began the month with a half-hearted commitment to slicing, coming back more for the community than the writing, and I end the month, grateful for the writing and even more grateful for the community, which turned out to be far more necessary than I ever could have imagined at the beginning of the month.

The writing has been easy this year. I love to write, but I rarely find writing easy. There are always many days in March when I struggle to find something to write about, struggle to want to write. But this March, there were no days like that. And I never even returned to most of my old standbys: no six-word memoirs this month, no Currently, no haiku, no metaslices. I think the ease is a combination of knowing how I slice best (using the mentors I find in others’ words, titles, topics as a springboard for my own writing) and having a larger part of my mind than usual fully preoccupied with other concerns.

Today, as on so many days, another Slicer has provided a mentor for my own thinking and writing. This morning, I found What Now? at Writing to Learn, Learning to Write, and I knew I wanted to borrow her format to reflect on my month of slicing and to look forward to April.

What I want to keep doing:

Collect seeds for writing by looking closely and paying attention.

Write in community with others.

Find that ease in writing.

Keep my notebook close.

Start my day with writing.

Write to learn.

Write to make sense of the world.

Write from mentor texts.

Write for fun.

Write from the interplay between image and word.


What I want to try next:

Write daily in my notebook.

Experiment with poetry and drawing.

Find another online writing community to join.

Clean and organize my writing space so that it’s serene instead of cluttered.

Join a new challenge.

Think about a larger project.

End my day with writing.

A heartfelt thank you to each person who sliced this month, who commented on other slices and who sustained and grew this community. I think it was more special and close and necessary this year than it’s ever been. And the deepest thank you to all who read and commented on my writing, finding connections, sharing your experiences, answering my questions, offering advice, and pointing out effective craft moves so that I can grow as a thinker, teacher, writer, and reader. I have loved spending time with all of you this month, getting to know you better through your words (and photos!). For all of my life as I remember what it was like to live through a global pandemic, I will also think about this community and all of you. See you next Tuesday! (And if you’re looking for ideas for a new challenge to join for April, I will collect all that I find and share them in a post tomorrow. So if you know of an April writing challenge, please share in the comments!)

What will you keep doing and try next in your writing?






28 responses to “What Next?: Slice of Life 31/31 #sol20”

  1. glenda funk Avatar
    glenda funk

    When the pandemic sidelined life, boxed us into small spaces, it unleashed us as writers. I expected to struggle finding topics, but I found more than I could write about on my blog. I don’t know if this is ironic or paradoxical, but I’ll take it. As I write last night I thought “what next?” I gave a couple larger writing projects in the wings in various formats. I need to dig those out and get to work.

    Thanks for being here this month, Elizabeth. I always enjoy connecting w/ you. Keep those kitty pictures coming.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It was the same for me this month–expected to struggle for topics and actually had more than I needed every day! I’d like to figure out what kind of larger writing project I want to commit to. I am floundering a bit right now, but I think I need a focus and a reason to write each day.

  2. arjeha Avatar

    When we started writing this month none of us knew the monumental events that would unfold. Yes, we needed each other. We do make connections through our writing and the slices of life we share. I always enjoy your posts and you know I love your cat pictures. Thank you for your comments on my posts. I look forward to seeing you here next week.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Next Tuesday feels so far away! I never do very well at keeping up with slicing throughout the year. For some reason, I find it easier to slice every day than once a week! But I’m going to make more of an effort because I will be missing all my slicing friends.

  3. mschiubookawrites Avatar

    Ditto on “I think the ease is a combination of knowing how I slice best (using the mentors I find in others’ words, titles, topics as a springboard for my own writing) and having a larger part of my mind than usual fully preoccupied with other concerns.” Bravo on completing another challenge and kudos on your “What Next” list. I am looking forward to the break from daily publishing. Daily writing I want to keep. Take care and write on!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Here’s hoping we can stick to that daily writing habit! And I hope to see you next Tuesday!

  4. Lakshmi Bhat Avatar

    Life has changed and will never be the same again. We are learning so many things and I think learning to appreciate the small things in life. Stay safe and healthy. Regards

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That’s so insightful: yes, I think we are all learning to appreciate the small things even more.

  5. mrsday75 Avatar

    I’ve loved the community this March also. It seems more important than the writing somehow. I’m going to keep writing in my notebook and sharing, commenting with #100daysofnotebookingandbeyond. And, I’m sure a few blog posts will show up as well. Thanks for visiting my blog and all the kind comments!

  6. Amanda Potts Avatar

    I am struggling to write TODAY of all days, but other than that I’ve found the challenge easier this year than previously – and I have deeply valued the community. I may steal this format (I saw it on Dawn’s, too), but I can’t quite decide. I know for sure that I want to keep writing & I recognize that challenges keep me focused, so I’ll check in with you tomorrow to see what you’ve discovered – and, of course, I’ll send you pictures of cats.

  7. Kristy L Avatar

    I love your list. The challenge and the community are what make this work for me. Just me on my own, won’t make it happen, but knowing I have blogs to read and readers to read my blog makes me write. Even when I don’t want to or “have nothing to say”. It’s been a pleasure following along with you this month!

  8. Melanie White Avatar

    I have learned so much from you and this community and I hope we will continue connecting and writing. Let’s pick up on the idea that you messaged on Twitter.

    I need to make a list like this so I can figure out how I’m going to fill this gaping hole. 😦

  9. Trina Avatar

    Elisabeth, I have enjoyed reading your posts this month (especially after your haitus). I would have never guessed that writing doesn’t come easy to you – your posts are always amazing.

    I continue to learn from you and from this writing community. I would also love to make a list like you did.

    And, I will try to return your message soon!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I hope you will make a list too because I would love to see what your keeps and tries are. I also can’t wait to see what you decide to do for April. I’m still dithering but hope to settle on something I can commit to at some point today!

  10. margaretsmn Avatar

    I’m glad you decided to write this year. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. Who knew how much we would come to depend on this community? I’ll be posting in April, too, for NPM. I’m also coordinating the Progressive Poem. One day left if you want to do it!?

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      So glad you joined in the slicing after all, Margaret. It’s just not the same without your posts! I look forward to your April project and know that whatever you do, I’ll feel inspired by your words to write.

  11. Ramona Avatar

    I want to write to collect seeds, to keep my notebook close (at least one of them) and use it, and write to make sense of the world. Next? I’m not planning to enter any new challenges, but I will continue writing weekly for my #52Stories project and I’ll support those doing poetry challenges with my comments. I think I would like to look at Amy’s notebook videos that she’s been posting to strengthen my commitment to using a notebook. Thanks so much, Elisabeth, for stopping by my blog. It’s been delightful to have the support of this community this month. I think we may feel at loose ends until next Tuesday!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Every video I’ve watched from Amy has made me want to write in my notebook–and as a nice bonus, videos are quite short, around 8 minutes I think. Very easy to watch a video and write for 5 minutes and still only be putting in 15 minutes overall. I am looking forward to seeing you all next Tuesday!

  12. karpenglish Avatar

    It has been a very long March, hasn’t it? I think it has gone on for about three years. I agree that this community has been more necessary than usual this year, and oh so wonderful. A few times a day, I had to look beyond my house, my life, my corner of the world and engage with others. I always enjoy the March slicing, but this year I needed it more! Plus, your cat posts always made me laugh, no matter how anxious or frustrated or worried I was. This year, I read all the cat posts to my family too, and so they have all gotten to know your cats also. (My husband still thinks you have too many cats, and my son still thinks you have not enough, and also that it is not fair that he cannot have as many cats as you do!) Take care of yourself and I hope you and your family stay well!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think it’s so sweet that your husband thinks six is too many since this is a record low for us! For one brief and shining moment (before cat redistribution with my mom and before a couple of our elder cats died), we had 12! Still seems like a good number to me, but my husband is putting his foot down at six right now. Your son and I are definitely on the same page when it comes to # of cats!.

      1. karpenglish Avatar

        Wow, I did not know you had gotten up to 12! That is quite a lot. (And then you need 13, to be a baker’s dozen!) I knew you had gotten to 9 at one point. When we first bought our house, a neighbor down the street had six cats. They would pace themselves out from her house all the way up to our front steps. It was like they were playing a giant game of cat telephone with our indoor cat, with the bravest one face to face with her through the window.

  13. karpenglish Avatar

    PS I am thinking of a poetry challenge for April. There is the National Poetry Writing Month at http://www.napowrimo.net (because then I can go around saying NaPoWriMo all month! 😀) and the Writer’s Digest Poem-A-Day challenge at https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/poetry-challenge-2020/2020-april-pad-challenge-guidelines.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, I definitely think you should do a poetry challenge in April! I had quite a lot of fun with the absurd metaphor generator shared at NaPoWriMo this morning.

      1. karpenglish Avatar

        The absurd metaphors were fun! Today was actually a quite difficult day, but since I don’t have to post by a 9pm deadline (or at all), I sat down to do some scribbling after 10pm when I was the only one up. (Well, I and the crazy cat singing her song of triumph over her toys.)

  14. livinglife816287820 Avatar

    I am way behind in checking others’ slices, yesterday was a crazy day so I’m trying to catch up now. I always enjoy reading your slices and I do hope we can keep slicing on Tuesdays, I think in view of current events, more people might make an effort because so much is going to happen now from week to week.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That’s a wonderful point. I think I’m going to feel more motivated, at least for right now, to write on Tuesdays.

  15. Akilah Avatar

    I really regret not joining the challenge this year for the reasons you outlined, but on the other hand, it probably wouldn’t have worked for me for the reasons outlined. Life is weird and this past month has proven that more than any other.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I was seriously questioning whether I should slice this year–so glad I decided to as it helped me get through the second half of the month. But yes, life is weird and it’s hard to make all the daily stuff work right now.

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