I am at a loss today. Every day for the past month I have been writing for the Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by Ruth and Stacey over at Two Writing Teachers. This being April 1, I have completed the challenge! I feel very proud of myself for this accomplishment and for the first time EVER, I feel like a writer.
I have felt like a phony in my Language Arts classes for a long time because I didn't write. I mean I wrote, but not like I was asking my students to write. Now I have a much better idea of what it means to write every day--how difficult it can be, how sometimes you just have to write junk just to get going, how you have to have strategies to get you moving again when you are stuck, and how opening yourself up for others to inspect takes a lot of courage.
I have also learned how important audience is when writing. Before when I felt I had no true audience, I did not invest much in the act of writing and writing well. Who's going to be reading it anyway? Now, I realize that I need to know that someone is going to be reading what I write. They might be commenting on it too and telling me how they feel about the piece and their connection to it.
The feedback part of the Slice of Life Challenge is one of the most valuable parts of each day. When people comment on what you have written, it validates your writing. Those comments often fuel another day of writing. I looked forward to reading those comments each day. In turn, commenting on other writers' slices gave me a chance to pass along those wonderful connections too. Many times, reading the blogs of others sparked a new piece of writing. I learned about some wonderful new structures for writing that I did not know about because I took the time to read and comment on the work of others in the challenge.
I think the most important gift of the challenge was the writing habit that emerged. The way I now feel that I have to write. Everyday. I haven't felt this strongly about needing to put pen to paper before this challenge.
I will continue to write. I will slice each Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers. I will look forward to continuing to work with this wonderfully supportive community and cultivating the friendships that have developed during the month of March.
Thank you, Ruth and Stacey, for giving me the chance to write and learn so much!