Faint of Heart #sol20

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 5.04.44 AMFaint of Heart #sol20

March 1, 2020

Dear Reader (& Writer) and Myself,

I am just going to put this right out there.  I don’t want to make this daily writing seem easier than it is. Like any other habit we create, it’s true that it needs time to mature.  Also true is that making a public commitment to write every single day also makes you write every single day.   So here’s some of the advice for me to remember and for possibly, if your thinking of doing this, joining in, for you to consider.

Don’t (and do) think about THIRTY-ONE days… Thirty-one days is and actually is not that long of a time.  If you think of it in any sort of reductionist way you want to, you can reduce it.  For example,  it’s five Sundays.  What might your Sunday theme be?   It’s five Mondays, perhaps on Mondays you write about books.  You get the idea.  Some years I have a theme for every day of the week.  I’m a coach, so one day I write about something from my coaching notebook.  One day I write about something new I’ve read about or want to try.  One year I always wrote abut someone else’s blog on Friday.   You get the idea, which leads me to my next secret to my success. 

A PLAN & a Notebook For me,  it’s an actual notebook (actually 2) that I carry with me all the time.  I don’t write complete slices, however when an idea strikes me, I write it down.  In the beginning,  I wrote most of the slice when it came to me in a document and then later revised and dropped into the blog.  So two things:  I had a stockpile and I had an idea bank.  After years of slicing,  I know there are lean times with less ideas and feast times with so many ideas to write.  Side note if you’re an educator,  this is a real life version of a working heart map or idea bank and a writing journal.  It’s something you can use with your students to talk about the ever present coaching point of idea generation.

READ other peoples’ blogs.  Steal, borrow, poach, elaborate on others’ ideas.  In writing we teach students to use mentor texts.  You have a whole cadre of mentors right at your keystroke.  Definitely read and comment on the couple of writers immediately above you in the comments.  Also find some writers ( and to do this you have to read lots of blogs for several weeks) that you read and comment on every single time.  This is how you build a cohort in this group.  A cohort, your band of writers, is essential.  They are like running buddies.  They notice if you slip, in a good way, and encourage to keep at it.  They give you ideas.  They begin to comment on your writing.  You learn their ways.  Some of them you adopt too.  However, don’t be discouraged if it takes a while for that to develop.  You can help it along by commenting on a lot of posts at a lot of different times a day.  Another thing that helps is posting at a consistent time every day.  Then folks that post  at that same time become your cohort.

500 words . One of my writer friends named his blog a riff on 500 words.  Shoot for 500 words a day.  I’m not sure why it’s magic, but it seems when we get to that number, the writing really comes together.

Benefit.  This is my fourth year…  it seems like yesterday and it seems like forever.  I have good friends here.  People I know are looking for my words and even when their jumbled or confusing or downright personal, will still encourage me to write more and notice my presence.  The most important thing that has come from this writing is becoming a writer, a real writer.  Just like the Velveteen Rabbit when loved a lot becomes real, when I began to write a lot,  I noticed writing in a completely different way.  I taught writing in a completely different way.  I talked about writing in a completely different way.  This writing changed everything I thought about myself as a writer, as a reader, as a teacher, as a coach.

Enough about that for right now.  There will plenty of time this month for us to remanence, to get to know each other, to learn so much.

IMG_8436 (3) I am grateful to all of the coordinators at Two Writing Teachers or all of their inspiration in the slice community and also in their blog about teaching writing and all it has inspired in my work.  I am grateful to my welcome wagon blogger who commented not just that first year, but every single blog I wrote for over three years.  He was more than a mentor to me and I’ll forever be paying forward his kindness.  I’m grateful to my friend, Clare, who got me started and to my Connecticut gang who teach me, support me, and laugh with me.  I’ll be writing daily for 31 days in the March Slice of Life Challenge.  This is day 1. 

21 thoughts on “Faint of Heart #sol20

  1. Such wise advice! I love your suggestions and ideas about the challenge. I am thrilled to see you here again and appreciate your support on the Welcome Wagon!

  2. “Steal, borrow, poach, elaborate on others’ ideas.”
    Yep, and remix … honor the writer but then slant off into your own universe …
    Good advice, all around
    Kevin

  3. Such great tips! I needed them today, as I haven’t given much thought to March actually coming. It’s a lean year for me in terms of prep. But I know the ideas will come and I’ll be glad to be here. Looking forward to it!

  4. I’m with Kevin, steal, borrow, poach! My first slice today is an inspiration from someone last year! I appreciate your perspective on 31 days! Rethinking my perspective on 31 days, thanks to you! Looking forward to reading and writing for five Sundays and all the days in between!

  5. Great advice! Love the tips, especially the one about having the notebook close by. I always find that I think I’ll remember the idea, only to not write it down and have it dissipate into the ether. Finally, I love the Velveteen Rabbit reference…so perfect!

  6. 31 days…and we are already one down. Great advice, will keep it close as I step into my second challenge. I like the idea of 500 words, thanks for the tip!

  7. Thank you for the advice. Even though I am a returning slicer, this year seems harder. I needed to hear again some practical tips to grasp when I am foundering. It is time to take out my old notebook of ideas again..

  8. I so appreciate your advice; the tips are ones I will try to utilize. I especially love your analogy to the Velveteen Rabbit.

  9. Love these tips – I don’t plan as much as I should. I took down a few tips. I am grateful you took my encouragement and that we have a chance to connect this month and all year through our slices! Here we go!

  10. I came back looking for your writing, just like you said, Sue. Glad I did as your advice will help me navigate a return to daily writing.

  11. What a great coach. You made this seem doable. You have lived a lot of this advice and have certainly paid forward, so I am also grateful for that person who welcomed you! I really need some of those reductions you mentioned. I love the idea of the five Sundays, five Mondays, etc. I may have to try something like that to make this seem less daunting. I also love the idea that our reading is like when our kids read mentor texts. That is so true, and it gives us license to “poach.” I’m going to write that in my notebook (thanks for that reminder) now.

  12. Thanks, Susan, for your practical tips. As a SOLSC newbie, I appreciate them a lot. I recently, even before reading your post, added a small notebook to my purse to capture the moments of inspiration. Your post reminded me that this practice can help sustain me through the month. Wishing you an incredible fourth year!

  13. I love all of this so much, especially the advice to find your cohort and comment, comment, comment. That’s the best part! Not just because it builds community but also because you find so many ideas for writing that way. I keep a file open while I read and comment on slices and drop links to anything I want to poach. And there is a lot!

  14. Thank you for the thoughts and encouragement. I especially like the thought of the notebook for ideas to bank. I used to do that and need to bring it back into practice.

  15. I really needed to read your post tonight! This is year #6 for me, but for some reason I’m not in the groove yet (and it somehow snuck up on me, even with the “extra” day in February). Here’s to another March of coming together through writing!

  16. Thanks for the tips, coach! I’ve bookmarked this and will refer back from time to time when am in need. This is all great stuff for us adult learners AND our students too!

    Always glad to see the notification pop up that you’ve posted. 30 more days! 🙂

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