This is the end/beginning #SOL21 31/31

This is the last day of my fourth year of writing (and publishing!) every day in March. This is the end of the 2021 March Slice of Life Challenge – an amazing idea and community supported by Two Writing Teachers. I can’t lie: this year was a slog. I didn’t have much of a plan when I started this month – I usually have *some* ideas before I dive in; I didn’t have many hidden, half-written pieces that I just needed to tidy up and publish – I usually have half a dozen, even if I don’t use them all; I didn’t have any sort of available time – I usually have a schedule with daily quiet moments and a March Break. This year, I was constantly scrambling. There were nights when I posted at 10pm (or later), days when I sincerely wished that my children were younger so I could write about them with impunity or that I could tell everyone else’s stories without telling mine. I barely knew my students when we began and didn’t feel comfortable writing about the classroom most of the time. I didn’t join the Welcome Wagon ,and I didn’t have time to read and comment on nearly enough other blogs. (I tried; I honestly did, but there are only so many hours in the day.) As we come to an end, I am relieved.

So why did I keep writing? Well, first of all, I hate leaving things incomplete – even self-imposed things – and I love the community of writers. I know that daily writing – pushing past the point of frustration, letting go of my need for perfection – makes me grow as a writer. Most of all, I feel nourished as I read other people’s work and as they read mine. I learn and think, learn and grow.

This year I end at a beginning, as though I spent a month (or a lifetime) clearing away the underbrush and then am surprised to discover insistent green shoots poking up here and there. This year, I have a sense that some of these shoots are ready to grow. I have ideas that are ready for a little fertilizer, a little sunlight. I’ve found writing under my writing and, while I couldn’t write everything in the rush to write daily, I think I can nurture some of these shoots into something bigger. I have things to say that will take longer than one day or twenty minutes, things that need time. We shall see.

I guess I had to write every day for a month, every week for four years, to realize that I am ready to write, but I think I am. If nothing else, here I am, writing – always writing – at the end of the day, at the end of the month. So, look for me here. Even I’m curious to see what I come up with!

I can’t wait to read other people’s beginnings that stem from the end of March – see you on Tuesday!

Come, begin with TwoWritingTeachers and the supportive community they have grown.

22 thoughts on “This is the end/beginning #SOL21 31/31

  1. Oh my goodness! I think I could have written this same slice. Everything you said are things I have thought myself at some point this month. Plus, my one little word is soil, and I love what you wrote about clearing the underbrush, green shoots, and fertilizer! Congratulations on persevering and here’s to more writing ahead!

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  2. “…that I could tell everyone else’s stories without telling mine.” I laughed out loud here because whew, the temptation! And this image of “writing under my writing” is fabulous! So. many. words. because so. many. dang. stories. in each of us. Of course you’re ready to Write with a big W. I can’t wait to see what emerges. I am here for it! And thank you for being a wonderful dialogue partner in crime. So glad we met in this space.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also loved this line. I think I do a bit of this. Maybe as my kids get older, I’ll have this same revelation. I’m also in for whatever grows next. I’m so glad you were here, that you’ve been here. I’m also glad you’re “ready to write.” I love reading your words and thoughts.

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  3. “I’ve found writing under my writing…” It’s a palimpsest! And I think your myriad thoughts echo what many have felt. Teachers are overwhelmed and in the Vice grip of the zeitgeist. There’s much to be celebrated in having no plan, in simply letting writing bloom, like those sprouts in your photos pushing through the underbrush, reaching for the sunlight.

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  4. This is only my second year in the Slice of Life community, but you are such a big part of that – you are the reason to begin and the reason to stay. I, too, have been scrambling and not knowing what to post and doing it late (like today, when I’m commenting and should be writing…). Off to go do what I should be doing here 🙂

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  5. Amanda, I am feeling much the same, but I’m not as good at putting it into words. When you wrote that you wished you could have written more about your children and “could tell everyone else’s stories without telling” your own – I totally understood that. I wrote a lot of things that were a part of my story this month and then I deleted them because they were too much. But like you I finish the challenge feeling nourished and feeling ready to write more. I’m going to take a break though. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to write such encouraging comments! I know they are a lot of work and I appreciate it. I have learned a lot from you (and Melanie) and effective feedback!

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  6. This is such a great description of the work of writing. I love writing, but sometimes I find that I have to put in the work for a while just to get one good piece. There were several times this month that I thought my piece was more of a “first draft” and it bothered me to post it, but by being vulnerable and posting every day, I developed a habit and a new awareness of myself as a writer. I can connect to your analogy of the sprouts coming up and that this process may be a new beginning for me as a writer as well.

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  7. Every year, I am amazed that I made it. Your posts did not read like they were rushed or done at the last minute. You should continue to explore your voice as a writer. It’s a voice we need to hear. Thanks for traveling this road alongside me.

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  8. It’s funny how you reveal the rushed feeling of slicing this month, because every slice I read of yours felt beautifully crafted and thoughtfully written. Always with so much feeling – subtle and soft. You can make frustration feel soft. I also can relate to, at times, wishing my children were little again and my world was full of sillies and approximations! Thanks for sharing every day for 31 days, Amanda!

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  9. I’ve loved reading your writing this month. Thank you for sharing it with us, even when it was hard to find time for it. I get that!

    I really liked this: “I’ve found writing under my writing.”

    Hoping to make some Tuesdays, so hopefully will see you there!

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  10. All kinds of heartening and hopeful epiphanies in this slice, yet I’m stuck on the plant-based pun at the end 🙂 Fun sharing this space with you once more, and I commend you on reaching the finish that’s not a finish at all.

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  11. Have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of your posts. Thank you for sharing and look forward to what comes next.


  12. Oh my god. I just realized that I wasn’t actually “following” you this year. WTF? Anyway, I guess that means I was stalking you, seeking you out, searching your name. How could I do this without you? The answer is I couldn’t do this without you, Ms. Potts! I can’t wait to see what you write, what will grow from four years of nurturing, what will be “unearthed”…And, I have to agree with a previous slicer that all of your work seems polished, thoughtful, and pure. I, too, usually have a few pieces, waiting in the wings, just in need of a little “dusting” shall we say. This year. Nope. None of that. All of my half-finished stuff remained that way for some reason. Started from damned scratch every time. So much felt unfinished when I posted, but I did it anyway. Maybe having a week to work on things will keep me going…maybe I’ll see you on Tuesdays. I mean, what will I tell the chickadees if I don’t keep at it? Bravo to four years and here’s to many more!

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  13. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, almost every day for a month. You don’t display the lack of organisation you mention, maybe that’s how you write best, under pressure not a plan? Your slices are great to read and I won’t ever forget your generosity to our school a year back. It resonates in my heart! I share a lot of your feelings about being ready to write but for me time is running out, so I have to get a move on…!
    Thanks for your refreshing honesty and openness…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Well, seeing all the comments you get ought to tell you that what you were writing this month had value to a lot of people. I, too, went in with no store of energy and no store of writing scraps. I did have an entertaining group of students and an absurd dog. I’m glad you’re feeling ready to write. Does that mean a project? I feel like these March challenges are a project, but I also feel that everything I submit is a bit less than what it could be. I feel like these March posts are like the store of possible future projects. I agree with a lot of the other people who commented here that your posts do always feel composed and polished, but maybe they are also the seeds of something bigger. That’s a great way to look at this month’s work. Thanks for all of your writing and your comments.

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