Tuesday, March 1, 2016

And so it begins! (#SOL Challenge 2016)

Wow! Another March, another Slice of Life Challenge! Thanks so much to the entire crew at Two Writing Teachers for organizing and hosting this massive event! You are all rock stars!

As the Slice of Life Challenge begins for 2016, I am working toward a slightly different challenge this month than many of the participants. It is not my goal to write each and every day. Rather, it is my goal to write posts that are meaningful to me, posts that give me joy, or have caused me to be reflective about a topic.

My writing group met at my house a week ago today, and I had been dreading it. Our group originally  organized after attending a writing retreat together several years ago; we were so excited about the community of writing, sharing, and reflection we had created at the retreat, we decided to try and replicate that energy once we got home.

And so our writing group took root. As with many lofty plans, we had several stops and starts before finally getting off the ground on a regular basis in the last 18 months. But, even though the group was gathering, and I loved the company of these smart writers and thinkers, I just couldn't get inspired about any specific piece that I might want to write and submit for publication. So, while others were quite industrious, I tried to come prepared with a plan for writing, but lost steam part-way through the writing time. Uninspired might be too kind of a word for my writing.

That is, until last week. Prior to that writing group, I reflected a great deal on who I was as a writer, and realized that, because I was so busy trying to write something that someone else would like and then publish, I had lost my voice. Changes needed to happen.

During my reflection, I asked myself the million dollar question: "Why do I write?" And I realized the answer was to please others, not myself. So, last week I spent my time at writers' group doing the following two things for myself:

  1. Took the time to go to Slicers' posts and responded thoughtfully on at least 15 of them / became part of that community again.
  2. Started a new writer's notebook, where with my favorite #2 Ticonderoga pencil, I began to sketch out possible topics for the Slice of Life Challenge.
With these two goals, the darnedest thing happened! The joy of writing came back, and words and ideas began to flow onto the pages of my writer's notebook and into my commenting. I felt happy, and that feeling proceeded to lift up my words and ideas.

After about 30 minutes of brainstorming, the next breakthrough happened. The writer's block because I thought I had lost my voice - it disappeared! Out came my professional writing notebook, and more ideas flowed into that notebook.

Joy - that was the missing piece, and once the joy was back in my writing, the block lifted and words appeared. I can't wait to see what's next for me as a writer!

I am hoping that many of you feel joy as you work through the Challenge this March. Best of luck to all!


  1. Great post, Karen! I am glad you have found the "joy" in your writing. I am trying to recharge my writing life as well. Happy Writing!

  2. Writing with joy is the best way! Glad your block is gone and you have a new found purpose in your writing. What a perfect time for the challenge to come along and feed that joy.

  3. Writing is complete joy for me -- I truly love it and I think you found the answer. Writing is your space. We all write with an audience in mind, but we write for ourselves. You have so much to share - never doubt your voice.

  4. Yep, "joy" - you can't move forward in writing without that joy. So glad to "see" you here every day in March, Karen!

  5. Yeah, Karen, your joy is back and writing is flowing. Happy Day 1.

  6. JOY! What a great word! Thank you for sharing -- you are inspiring me to write more. I write on Tuesdays for Slice of Life, but my other projects are left behind. Time to get them back out! Have fun writing! Jennifer Sniadecki

  7. JOY! What a great word. Thank you for sharing -- you inspire me to write more; I want to be like you! Jennifer Sniadecki

  8. This is very inspiring, Karen. I guess we do write for ourselves, and that is something I lose sometimes. I like talking (writing) about things I love, and sometimes I meander down another path. You've given me something so valuable to remember. Thanks!

  9. Karen, I'm so glad you are writing again. Your thoughtfulness in your placement of words is always inspiring. I share your love of the #2 Ticonderoga pencil it's the perfect writing tool. I can't wait to continue to read your words.

  10. You always encourage me. I needed the reminder to write for me first.
    Thank you!

  11. Hooray "joy" is back that is a celebration! Always appreciate learning side by side with you and even sometimes with a delicious amazing dinner. Just saying :)

  12. Karen,
    This just made me smile. Find the joy, friend.


  13. So glad you are back writing. I still need to write my slice tonight! Yikes!

  14. Agreed. This was joyful to read! All writers lose their way, but you are right where you need to be. It's a part of the journey, right? Enjoy your adventure and let the ideas flow and the stories be shared! Here's to bringing the JOY back to writing!

  15. What a great point you make here, Karen! It makes me ask myself the same question. Writing just to please someone else is not a great place to be--a great thing to remember about kids as well.