This month I have been writing in the Slice of Life Community 31 Day Challenge created by Two Writing Teachers. While I always learn from my writing companions in this group, this month has been particularly poignant. This is Day 29/31
What I’ve Learned this Month #sol20
March 29, 2020
Writing thirty one days and commenting on others writing always teaches me so much. I learn different writing styles, different approaches to the same subject, other writer’s processes. I also learn about their lives, their hopes, their frustrations, their fears and… they learn about mine.
I haven’t counted the total number of writers in our writing group, but I admire and cherish them all. During the year, I write on Tuesday each week and follow many writers all the time and other writers much of the time. I usually read and comment on over a dozen blogs each week. Each of them is inspiring to both my own writing and my coaching. They are some of my greatest teachers.
During our March challenge, my blog is followed and read by many other writers. They offer me advice, suggestions, encouragement, and humor through their comments. I personally follow 20 blogs every day, read and comment on between 15-20 each day. I’ve had the opportunity to read a great deal of writing and learn so much about writing and so much more.
From one far flung slicer, I gained so much advice about managing this new world of distance teaching. She explained how to set it up, where the difficulties lie, how to maintain self-care and how easy it is to overextend. She even showed me how cleaning out my refrigerator could be an act of meditation. Her practical advice, her pragmatic nature, and her calm spirit displayed in her writing will stay with me for a long time. I hope we will stay in touch.
From other slicers, I admire community, all the things they are doing together and separately to maintain their school’s writing heart and community purpose. They lovingly refer to each other in their blogs and graciously build each other up in their comments. They comment on many, many other blogs as well as give practical advice for navigating the world of literacy in elementary school. They are beacons to me in their practice, in their generosity, and in their connectivity.
Elisabeth always pushes me to think more, to consider other mentors, to consider my own practice, and to try new things. Last year, she convinced me through her blog to write poetry for the month of April after our slice challenge was complete. This year, she made me consider what books comfort me, how I decide what to read next, where I am creating my space at home, and what is keeping me moving forward.
I have the pleasure of being a welcomer to some new to the slice challenge. From one of them, I learned to look to our past relationships and situations for lessons for the present. Her powerful observation skills will be ones I continue to search for in my own writing. From another new slicer, I learned about her practice of confronting her advantages and working toward social justice in her learning, in her writing, and in her practice. I strive to be brave like she is. One of my followed slicers was all about connections, since this is my OLW for this year, her writing and her thinking drew me to consider the connections I am making and maintaining in this new frontier. One of my new slicing buddies shared her day to day successes and struggles with heart and a fresh writing perspective. Her comments were kind and supportive and I hope to read a lot more about her practice and thoughts in the future. This year more than others, these blogs feel like new friendships.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sustaining friendships this group affords me. My friend, Clare, who first encouraged me to write about my work. Brian, my welcome wagon slicer those years ago continues to inspire me with his concise writing and quick witted comments. My good friends in the group now who speak to me like old friends in their comments are so often encouragers-in-chief, commiserators, teachers, mentors, and so much more.
Lanny, Stacey, Melanie, Kelsey, Beth, I don’t think I have the words to express what your hard work in maintaining this community has meant to me and so many others. As Clare said the other day, in times of difficulty we turned to the folks who have sustained us all along. You and Two Writing Teachers has certainly been that place now more than ever.
As we approach the twilight of this March Challenge, I am grateful for this time, these writers, and this challenge. This month, I believed it is what sustained me.