This is my third year Slicing every day in March. Just like last year, I dithered and hesitated in the days leading up to March 1. Was I really going to do it? Did I have time? More importantly, did I have energy? I thought up plenty of excuses. But in the end, of course, I had to join in—as I expect I will from now on, hopefully without the dithering and hesitating.
In previous years, I’ve been a planner, but this year I followed my natural inclination as a writer and pantsed my way through the challenge. I rarely knew what I was going to write about when I sat down to start writing. I dutifully kept an ideas file this year but I almost never used it. I settled into my morning routine very early in the month: read through some other slices, commenting and fishing for my own slice; find a format or structure or idea to wonder or wander my way through; do some writing.
In previous years, I worried about Slicing when I wasn’t Slicing, but this year, I had more trust in my process. Before, I felt like I needed to think about Slicing all the time in order to be sure I’d have something to write about the next day. As soon as one slice was published, I started searching for the next one, turning over everything that happened to me in a day to see if that moment was the slice to save and rejecting nearly everything as not interesting enough. I worried that I would somehow skip a day. I worried that I only thought I clicked “publish” but actually clicked “save.” I worried—a lot—that I would run out of things to say. None of those things happened in Year 1 or Year 2, and they didn’t happen in Year 3 either.
In previous years, I wrote and published whenever I could, but this year, I was strictly a morning slicer. I’m not an early morning slicer like some, though I do start reading, thinking, and writing early in the morning. But most of my slices were published by 9:30 a.m. The one day I didn’t hit publish til nearly noon was also the day of my blog’s lowest number of views and comments, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Morning slicing really is better if you want to catch your readers.
In previous years, I’ve relied heavily on sentence stems and “save it for a rainy day” ideas like book spine poetry and Currently, but this year, I’ve hardly used those formats at all. They’re in my ideas file, and I just knew I would need to pull them out by Week 3, but somehow, I kept finding other things to write.
In previous years, I’ve written a few slices inspired by other slices, but this year, most of my slices were written alongside someone else’s words. I found nearly all of my ideas and inspiration in other people’s slices and comments. Writing from other people’s words and ideas is one thing I think makes slicing so unique and creates such a strong community. I love to trace a writing seed as it travels from blog to blog and grows into quite different pieces of writing.
In previous years, I’ve questioned whether a slice was truly a slice, but this year, I happily wrote and published plenty of non-slicey slices. I tried to be mindful to include a story of some sort in my advice and list posts, but I’m probably stretching the definition of narrative in a few.
In previous years, I discovered that I loved reading and writing lists but I only allowed myself to write lists a few times. (So many self-imposed rules for no reason!) This year, I wrote most of my slices as lists, even the ones that don’t call themselves lists. Next year, I might do 31 days of list slices!
In previous years, the slices I enjoyed writing the most were also the ones that got the most views and comments. This year, my very favorite slice got the least number of views and comments! Chipotle, it turns out that you really aren’t for everyone!
In previous years, I’ve written mostly about and from my personal life, but this year, especially after the first week, I wrote as often about teaching, reading, and writing. Since those are the things I spend my time doing and thinking about, it’s perhaps not surprising that most of my slices came to me much more easily this month.
In previous years, I would have wanted this list of observations to come with some kind of ah-ha moment before I considered it adequate, but this year, I’m content simply making observations. I’m not sure what, if anything, any of this means about my writing or about me as a writer, and next year, it may all be different once again.
How have you changed from year to year as a slicer? How have you grown just over the past month of Slicing?