I'm trying to decide how honest I should be with this slice.
Because slicing was really, really hard for me this year.
And I'm really, really glad it's over.
When I am slicing, or doing any kind of writing, I can do a much better job supporting my students as writers.
I slice, at least partly because it reminds of how hard writing can be.
This year, I remembered some really important lessons.
1. Writing is about community.
I have struggled this year to find my community, my people. I miss friends that didn't slice this year- Linda, Elsie, Tamara. I did connect with some old friends- Elisabeth, Ramona, Carol V., Kris., and that was nice, but overall, I found slicing a really lonely business this year. In my classroom, I think I do a pretty good job establishing a large classroom community, and I often have kids meet with partners to share writing, but I wonder whether I need to establish smaller writing groups that meet regularly, where kids talk to the same kids about their writing over a lengthier period of time. Writers need community.
2. Writing is easier when you are doing it regularly.
I sliced in March, then wrote poetry in April, and haven't written much, except for an occasional piece for school since then. Writing slices was hard at the beginning of the month, because I hadn't written much. I need to figure out a more regular routine for my writing. And I need to make sure my students are writing, and writing with choice, not just literary analysis essays
2. People want an audience for their writing. Writers want feedback.
I have struggled, this year, with the scarcity of feedback and the lack of comments on my slices. Over the course of the month, I had 90 comments total. About twenty of those comments were from friends who read my blog, and have read my blog for years, but don't actually slice themselves. That means, on an average day, I was only getting two or three comments. I was leaving comments on at least ten blogs a day and usually more than that. Some days I left as many as twenty or thirty. If someone left me a comment, I pretty much always commented back to them, if I could find their blog. I'm a teacher, and I know how hard this year has been, but even so, if you are going to make time to slice, it's also important to make time to comment.
Slicing was hard this year. I'm not sure I will do it again...
Writing was so tough for me in the beginning too! I love your idea of making writing communities for your kiddos, I bet they would love that!! I am sorry your experience with slicing this year didn't leave you with a great feeling, hopefully, you will have a change of heart in 11 months!!
I share some of your struggles too. I found it harder during the second part of the challenge. You are so right about community and our students needing it too. Commenting was more scarce this year. It could be the challenges of teaching. I will say I tend to have technical difficulties with blogs on Blogger and I sometimes avoid them because I can't spend the time to figure out how to comment. This one will post with an email not associate with my blog and I'm afraid to change it or I might lose my comment.
The experience was grueling, I'm sure. Would there be a kind of writing that you could do easily or more easily? That's why I'm so hung up on haikus. Breezy and effective for sharing thoughts.
We have to consider what kids will find easier to do at school. Choice is key.
What a thrill to read your writing for a whole month! I had missed hearing your voice this year. I am so selfish.
You inspire me, and I am incredibly jealous of your time with children.
I find the commenting business with slicing a bit perplexing. I visited so many blogs this year that only had 1 or 2 comments. I wonder if the overall hard of this teaching year (so very hard) had a significant impact on the amount of commenting that was happening. I do understand that if you're hanging on by a thread and barely able to slice each day, commenting might not be a priority--but I agree with you: it's a vital and necessary part of the challenge. I often prioritize commenting on newer slicers because I know they haven't had the chance to build a community, but I also find that newer slicers seem less likely to reciprocate and do the "comment for a comment" thing. My dedicated commenters are all long-time slicers. Your thoughts here left me with much to think about. I've done a terrible job building that writing community in my classroom this year. I need to think about how I can change that going forward and next year. Selfishly, I hope you'll slice again next year because your blog is one of my very favorites to read.
Oh, I hope you'll stick around for years and years (says the woman who almost didn't slice this year)! And I just discovered that you're writing poems for NPM. I'm always amazed and grateful for those who do this on the heels of March!
I really hope that SOL will create pods (writing communities) for future years. It would be easy to do with a few indicators and the right tech person. Take an oldie (in slicing years), a retiree, a newbie, a teacher, a mom, a grandma, someone from each coast and in between, an empty nester, someone who lives alone, . . . Mix them all together for one month and voila! A new community of writers is created.
Perhaps the newbies need to understand that part of hoping in and being supported is to support others. In all the years that I participated in Welcome Wagon it was rare to be visited by those I supported daily throughout the month.
I love your blog writing... please don't stop. The community part is just so important. I agree. Since I've retired, my focus has been so hard. I continued with my University students, but then that ended. I continued with my writing group. We were all writing kids' books. I got so weary from trying with the publishing industry. I tried writing with a group at church... Proverbs 31... that ended too. Today I write with pretty much God as my audience... and that brings me happiness... but I definitely need a partner because I desperately need more feedback than... way to go.
I miss your writing and hearing your very funny voice. You are a remarkable teacher, and I wonder how you survived the COVID stuff in schools in CO. My friends that were subbing are not subbing any longer. I pretty much disliked subbing from the get-go because of how I feel about community building. But on some days, I wonder if I should consider it again... though I'm in 3 B. Studies and leading one... not too much time.
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