Sunday, March 31, 2013

#Slice 2013: 31 of 31- Reflections on Daily Writing

Today is the final day of March, so it is also the last day of daily slicing, a challenge hosted by Stacey and Ruth at

I am so glad that I participated in the Slice of Life Challenge throughout the month of March for many personal and professional reflections. This morning, before I go hide 300 Easter eggs and make lunch for seventeen, I will try to list some of them.

  • I wrote creatively. I have spent so much time over the last year with a new blog writing about the practice of teaching that I left my private writing life and I didn't realize how much I miss it until I re-visited it this month. To honor the mission of the professional blog that I share with Melanie Swider (, I started a new blog for my stories and more personally-oriented work. I will continue to write as much as I can at
  • Audience matters. The connections to a world of writers propelled me. Even though I belong to a writers' group, we meet monthly at best and the instantaneous response in the world of the Slice Challenge felt great. This reflection has an impact on my ideas about teaching practices. I didn't always want to know what I can do better in a piece; I wanted to know that someone had read it and thought enough of it to say something.
  • Writing begets writing. I have heard people compare writing and reading to exercise in that the more we do them, the easier they become. I never had that experience with running--it always stays hard!-- but I did have that experience with writing. Daily writing became part of my day.
  • Reading other people's writing inspires writing. I found inspiration in other people's posts all the time--what they did during the day that became important through documentation, memories that they shared, important people. I wonder about this last two realizations and our practices as writing teachers. Do we have time in the workshop set up for reading and responding to each other's work? Is the typical five minutes enough? There were definitely days when I spent more time reading and commenting than on writing.  
  • Alan Wright's blog is called Living Life Twice because, he writes on his blog, "People who write get to live life twice - in the moment and in retrospect. That's what sets writers apart. I rarely go anywhere, or do anything without the shadow of my writing self being part of the adventure. Every experience provides opportunities to harvest writing ideas. It is a lens through which to view the limitless possibilities of the moment."  I have thought of his words many times throughout this month because I really have noticed life differently, given the pressure of a daily slice. In the classroom, I wonder about teaching more of the noticing that goes along with writing. I could not just sit down at the computer and concoct my post; I noticed and nurtured a thought, memory, reflection, or moment before the actual writing. My writing life encompassed much more than the hour or so  that I wrote, read and commented. What does this mean for our teaching practices?
I have learned more, but I know that there will be many reflective words to read today as we all finish our month of daily writing. Thank you to Ruth and Stacey for creating this experience, thank you to all of the people who have helped, and thank you to all of the people who have read and commented on my work throughout the month. I will miss the routine but will certainly continue on a weekly basis and I look forward to next March.

Have a wonderful day,


  1. So glad to have had the chance to slice with you, write with you and learn from you, Melanie. I'll be checking in to both your blogs!

  2. Well said, Melanie! I,too, have noticed that I am seeing life differently as a result of participating in the slice challenge.

    I plan to continue blogging and hope to read more of your posts in the future.

    Happy Easter!

  3. It's been a treat to read your slices and our email conversations too. I look forward to reading more.

  4. Have loved reading your writing this month - and love Alan's quote! So true.

  5. It has been a great month and I have enjoyed reading your posts as well as so many other bloggers....just hoped to be able to comment as much as possible because I know how much that helps. I am glad you included Alan's words about living live twice....I read that too...and how true it is...and after this month...looking too, have I experienced that. I hope to see your blog on Tuesdays. Jackie

  6. It has been a great month, and I've experienced many of the things you shared. I always look forward to reading your posts.

  7. What a great list of learnings/take-aways.

    Hope you consider coming back on Tuesdays, Melanie!

  8. I love how you connected all of this back to teaching. I also am in a writing group and I would so agree with this statement Melanie...
    "I didn't always want to know what I can do better in a piece; I wanted to know that someone had read it and thought enough of it to say something."
    Thank you for your writing this month and also for your commenting. xo

  9. I agree, Melanie, this month has been quite a learning experience! Thank you for all your kind words of support. I truly appreciate them. I also found it much easier to write as the month went on, and have been much more mindful of the events that fill our days. It was a real pleasure getting to know you through your posts, and getting to meet you in New York. Hope to see you at TCRWP in the fall, if not sooner.

  10. Melanie, I did know you before from our Reading Mondays, but now I know you as such a thoughtful teacher who asks provocative questions, and know you as a person with some sorrow in your life, struggling to make sense of it. I've copied several of your posts to share with those I work with, or at least to bring up certain points you made that were so powerful. Thank you for all of this! FYI-your link to your personal blog is not working. It only took me to blogger. Hope to see you on Tuesdays!

    1. Thank you Linda, for the comment and also for letting me know about the link. I fixed it and it's working now. I'll see you on Tuesday, although maybe not tomorrow!

  11. Your reflection really sums it up for me! I agree 100% on all points. PLUS, I need to say that reading YOUR writing has been a powerful part of my month. See you on Tuesday - we don't want to get out of shape!

  12. Sounds like this has been a really powerful month for you. I've loved getting to know you through your posts. Especially loved the series about your dad. Look forward to reading more of your work on Tuesdays!

  13. I agree with you about the way participating in this challenge really pushed my thinking as a writing teacher. I did not anticipate how much it would mean to me to have people commenting on my posts. As I think about how to incorporate some of what I learned into my classroom, I will be thinking about how to help my students share more. Thanks for your beautiful memoir slices. They really inspired me to start thinking about and writing about my own personal difficult moments and memories of my dad.

  14. Your reflections are dead-on! I totally developed a daily writing routine, living life with my eyes wide open, constantly on the hunt for slice ideas. Since I was just on vacation, I got out of the habit of daily blogging, but I'm looking forward to jumping right back in! Thanks for sharing your reflections. :)