Some Thoughts on Slicing: Slice of Life 27/31 #sol17

slice of life

It’s not so much a daily writing challenge as it’s a daily publishing challenge, and that’s very different. With daily writing, I play, I ponder. I spend more time staring out the window. I patiently follow a thread through several meandering pages, and I don’t mind if it’s a dead end.

With daily publishing, there is no such thing as patiently following a thread through several pages. If it hasn’t started to resolve itself into a piece within a paragraph or two, I scrap it and move on to the next idea.

In some ways, the Slicing Challenge is really a daily ideas challenge. Most days, I generate and reject 5-10 ideas before landing on the piece that I will write.

It is not always the best ideas that get written. It’s the writable-in-the-time-and-with-the-energy-I-have ideas that get written. Sometimes an idea I want to write gets set aside for another day, when I will presumably have more time and energy. Sometimes the best ideas get set aside indefinitely because the best ideas often take too much time to percolate and begin to cohere. If this were a daily writing challenge, I could write a bit on them each day and develop them slowly. But with a daily publishing challenge, I just don’t have time to develop the bigger ideas.

Of course the point of the slice is that it’s small, manageable, a moment. But even moments need time to bake. It took three Saturdays before I could figure out the very simple solution to the piece I wanted to write about my Saturday afternoon routine. The piece just wouldn’t write—until I landed on the repetition of “On Saturdays” at the beginning of each paragraph. And then suddenly, there the piece was.

A daily publishing challenge can be therapeutic for would-be recovering perfectionists and commitment-phobes. A piece has to be finished and published. I can’t tinker indefinitely. I can’t even tinker for more than an hour because I don’t have more than an hour most days to devote to writing. During March, I learn to be comfortable with “right enough” and “polished enough.”

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12 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Slicing: Slice of Life 27/31 #sol17

  1. That last paragraph resonated so much with me! I am one of those perfectionists:) I agree that this challenge has forced me to click the Publish button because I have a hard time letting go of pieces of writing. I have discovered that I need to be forced to put my work out there for everyone to see.

  2. You know, this really speaks from the heart and is so, so true. I feel many times I just slap a post together just to say I posted. And then I ask myself, is this really writing? I have so many drafts started that have sat there for so long, just waiting for the time to polish it. Hopefully, this helps you know that you are not alone!

  3. I appreciate the way you point out that while slices are small and manageable, they still take time to bake. As you point out, though, we don’t have all day to spend in the kitchen! Thank you for a post that gives me some perspective about my own writing practice as it’s coming to be a regular part of my routine.

  4. I was thinking about this idea today. Some posts this month have been harder than others and some just barely seemed worthy to publish. There is something about the commitment to publish… not every piece will be my best but I think that’s ok. I enjoyed your reflections!

  5. I like this–it is a the daily generating of ideas that can be taxing. I viewed this as a writer’s notebook of sorts. I quickly wrote with an idea, an impulse which leads me to more focused writing. Now, comes the baking.

  6. You are so thoughtful. I love it. Meanwhile I’m sitting over here thinking “what’s the most semi-humorous thing that happened today?” so I can hurry up and write about it.

  7. I have abandoned several pieces this month because I found that I lacked the emotional energy the topic deserved. It’s been interesting to see what gets written and what I actually publish. Although, like you, I don’t have a lot of time to waste words. The writing challenge has been a worthy exercise in putting our flaws out there, which I find is both the best and hardest part.

  8. Absolutely. It’s an ideas game. And all about time limitations. I have some things I want to write that are hours long for sure in terms of time investment. Which I just don’t have. Yet sometimes what gets written in just 15 minutes is much better than something I would have put tons of energy into. I am shocked by how many pieces we have all managed to write this month.

  9. I totally agree with you. It’s not the writing. It’s the publishing something every single day. And letting it go and be good enough somedays, when I know it’s really nowhere near what I could write, if I just had time. This writing for an audience is hard work for those of us who are perfectionists.

  10. You have hit the nail on the head, as they say. Daily publishing is os much harder than daily writing. I wonder if this is true for my students as well. Not so much writing every day which we do already in the classroom, but that daily pressure to publish. You have made me think this early morning.

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