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Thinking out loud

March 27, 2021

I dreamed my friends had gotten the mistaken notion that I was in an abusive relationship, and they coordinated to all show up together and encircle me–metaphorically and literally–with protection and love.  I woke up and thought about how this group of friends would do that for me if needed, even in the waking world, and I thought, “I should send them all cards.”  But I know I won’t….at least not until March is over. 

I have a stack of library books that I checked out in mid- February.  This winter I’d been reading 3-4 books per week.  I have so far read 4 of the books I’d checked out; the rest of the stack sits on my floor, waiting for April.

I haven’t been getting enough sleep.  My aspirational bedtime comes and goes while I type and delete, type and reread and revise, and my husband calls downstairs, “I’m going to bed.” I call back, “I just have to finish this slice!” but he’s asleep before I hit publish.

It makes me think about the purpose of the slice-of-life challenge–or at least one of the purposes–to build a writing habit, and I know I’m not.  I’m certainly building a noticing habit, I’m building a gathering stories habit, a generating lines of poetry habit, but I’ve carved time for writing out of other things I love–reaching out to friends, reading, cuddling with my husband, going for walks, sleep.  I haven’t created a space for daily writing in a way that’s sustainable.

And I’m not sure what the answer is. I know it’s not to do less of the things I love.  It’s also not to give up the slice of life challenge–I love this, too.  I love reading the amazing writing that other slicers post, of seeing the glimpses of their lives that they are so generous to share.  I love rediscovering the joy in writing that I find each March.  But I don’t know how to make this daily writing sustainable.

I will be successful in the 31-day writing challenge, but I’m not sure that I can really count my month as a success.

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  1. You’ve mentioned a key factor, a sustainable writing habit and I agree, I don’t have an answer either because my current slicing time is not enough. Maybe someone has a solution!

  2. I think the noticing and living like a writer is just as important. At the beginning of the challenge, I didn’t think I’d have something to write about each day. The habit of living like a writer comes back though. Maybe your habits leaving March won’t be daily writing…but maybe a few days there could be time for writing.

  3. These are such great questions! I think for me one of the key things that makes slicing not sustainable long-term is that it’s requiring a published piece of writing every day. Writing and polishing a piece, finding images for it, plus all the commenting takes a lot of time. Writing in my notebook daily is not such a time commitment though, and I try to do that every day even if it’s five minutes (and it often is). I rarely write more than 20 minutes, but I’m sitting down and writing and staying connected to my identity as a writer. I guess the sustainability all depends on your goals in your writing life? Really thought-provoking post!

  4. You put into words exactly what I had been feeling… “I’m certainly building a noticing habit, I’m building a gathering stories habit, a generating lines of poetry habit” but not the habit of comfortable, easy, sit-at-the-table-with-a-cooling-cup-of-coffee writing habit that I dream about. It is good to know that we are not alone. Maybe these are the stepping stones?

  5. There is a story beneath this allows each reader to place themselves unknowingly in the story and I found it quite interesting reading the comments to see how different my interpretation of the “abusive relationship” is compared to others. And this clever type of writing is what allows people to connect and whatever the struggle may be – because it is the human struggle where we write out way with it. Thank you for sharing this.

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