Writer as Commenter

March, 2014 was my first SOL Challenge and I wrote this in my final reflective slice:

I tallied and I received a total of 123 comments! Unexpectedly, getting comments was my favorite part of this challenge. Knowing that someone read my words and then took time to tell me their connection or thoughts about what I wrote gave me so much energy! It kept me going!

March, 2015, no longer a rookie, I wrote this in my final reflective slice:

I wasn’t expecting how much the comments would mean to me – both getting them and giving them. The process involved in commenting is so powerful. When reading others’ slices, I noticed the craft moves made and thought about whether I could try this same craft move in my writing. I especially noticed what craft moves made me laugh or cry and then tried to write to elicit similar emotions. I would notice possible genres and structures of writing I could try. Without reading other slices, my slices would have been same old, same old. 

Fast forward to now, March, 2021. This year I’ve struggled to read and comment on other slices as much as in years past. My personal routine is to awake early, write, post. Then read and make three comments right away. My commenting habit includes the two prior Slicer’s posts and the Slicer who posted right after me. All this occurIng between 5:30-6:30am. In years past, I then would return after school and spend at least an hour reading more and leaving comments to many. And my 2014 and 2015 reflections show how much I valued this part of the writing challenge. But due to the pandemic and my current hybrid/concurrent teaching model, once my school day ends, I need time away from a screen. And sadly, this has affected the time I’ve given to the challenge this year.

This all changed this past weekend. Finally, I’m on Spring Break. Finally, I have time and energy to sit and read and comment. I focused on the dozen Slicers who I consider my mini-community within this writing community. They are the writers who live near me and some who work with me. I clicked on their blogs and read post after post, catching up on all the small moments I had missed over the past weeks. I’m so glad I could read and learn from these gifted writers. Here’s a few of my weekend take-aways:

  • Writing is fun as shown by Amy HERE. I felt like I was listening to Bob Costas give the play-by-play at the Olympics as she describes the TwoWritingTeachers giving a play-by-play of watching her struggle to create a slice. Such clever writng! And shown by Meg HERE who compares this writing challenge to the circus. Such clever writing!
  • Writing is revealing. Katlyn HERE shows so much about herself through the 20 phrases crafted in her ID poem.
  • Writing is hard. Marilyn HERE shows this through her encouraging letter to a child she is tutoring. Wisely, she commends this child on what he can do as a reader and then connects that to what he can work on as a writer.
  • Writing teachers have to make hard choices. Meaghan HERE shows her angst as a state mandate has her and her collegues choose how best to support struggling readers. Sadly, writing takes a hit.
  • Writing is healing. Beth HERE shows this as she reflects on the mother she lost last year and also years ago to alcoholism. Through writing she continues to heal from her grief.
  • Writing is healing. Cindy HERE honestly shares the racism she experiences living in her Asian skin.
  • Writing is healing. Fran HERE honestly reveals her inner thinking as her own daughter lies in a hospital bed a year ago after being hit by a car while crossing the street in Cuba.

This past weekend, I left comments on ALL these posts and many more. This past weekend, no longer in a brain fog, I read and I commented. I can’t thank the TwoWritingTeachers enough for creating this writing community. Thank you AMY, BETSY, BETH, MELANIE, and STANCEY. This year, 2021, it took me 28 days to fully participate and I know I am better for being a member here.

22 thoughts on “Writer as Commenter

  1. Cathy M says:

    Like you, I value the commenting. I work to try to make it to blogs and have a routine that I use to keep myself from becoming overwhelmed. SOL is certainly a lot of FOMO as there are so many great posts each day. This year, I think I have commented more on content of posts. In years past, I really tried to study the craft of pieces and comment on the writing. I haven’t been as good about that this year.

    The way you began your post today with a look back and then a move to the present worked well for your point. You are right, it is much easier to comment when we have a little extra time and room to think. I appreciated the addition of the posts you amplified at the end today. Along with your take-aways.

    This post is full of little nuggets. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ms Victor Reads says:

    You are one of the most reflective people I know and I find I can always gain takeaways from your reflections! Thank you for highlighting a few writers whose writing I can look forward to exploring. I always love the comments too and wish I made more time for commenting. It is hard! SOunds like your break came at just the right time (two more weeks for me).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dianelisa2 says:

    You are thoughtful to comment on so many people’s posts. When I read people’s posts, I often have no idea what to say, so I read many more posts than I actually comment on. Like you, I appreciate getting comments on my own posts. I have been amazed by how supportive this community of teachers and writers has been! I thought that just because I was on the Internet, I would get some nasty remarks, but so far, it hasn’t happened once.

    Like

    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      So glad you joined this kind writing community. One thing I have tried to do with a comment is to notice the writing of the write. – a favorite line or a place where they described the moment well or how they structured the slice. I know I like it when others notice a craft move I made and so I try to comment on the craft moves I notice. Feel free to use this tip when commenting!

      Like

  4. margaretsmn says:

    Like you, I comment in the morning when I post. But I also check on a few bloggers throughout the day. It’s hard to comment on as many as you want to. I’m glad you took the time to find and comment on these posts. I’m sure these bloggers appreciate the shout outs, too. What a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jarhartz says:

    I too have struggled to give back in comments this year. I think I am a bit overwhelmed with the number of participants. I followed some of the links and found beautiful work and new people to find in the massive list. This week is my spring break so I’ll be able to give more. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. djvichos says:

    I liked reading your reflection on the commenting portion of this challenge. It really is such an important aspect of the challenge. As you said, it keeps you going! Also, you can learn so much about craft and writing with meaning by reading other slicers. I’m glad you have established a mini-writing community, that sounds like a real treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mschiubookawrites says:

    I always appreciate your reflections and growth mindset. Pandemic teaching is hard on the eyes and breaks away from the screen are a MUST. Thank you for the shout out and the waterfall of comments yesterday. Comments are the backbone of this challenge. I try to leave a dozen a day. Sometimes that is not possible, so I too am thank for Spring Break.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. glenda funk says:

    I think if we’re all honest we’d have to admit we love receiving comments. It’s human nature to desire attention and support for our thoughts and words. Going into this year’s challenge I thought about the challenges teachers face during the pandemic, so I tempered my expectations of others and have reminded myself as a retired educator I have more time to give, and that means commenting. You allude to having a core group of bloggers you visit. I suspect that’s true for veterans in this community, and I’ve noticed these “groupings” over the years. How do those new here find their group? That’s a question that needles me often and has—at times—caused me to question why I’m here. There are a couple people in my welcome wagon I hope to see on Tuesdays when the challenge ends.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Amy Ellerman says:

    I love your list of all the things that writing is, along with links to slices that embody those qualities. This reflective slice is powerful to read as we head into the final days of the challenge. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Like

  10. Beth Sanderson says:

    Sally,
    Every year you are our Slice of Life Champion…you bring us a calendar with orange stickers (all the incentive I need!); you gather us at the beginning and the end of the month to celebrate; you provide sustenance for every writer you give feedback; you are a gatherer, an encourager and a friend to so many of us. Slice of Life writing seems overwhelming before it begins, but
    every.
    single.
    year…
    I am incredibly thankful for the journey. Thanks for the shout out and for your generous writing spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. LindaG. says:

    Sally,
    This is my first year slicing. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy the comments. Seeing my writing through someone else’s eyes allows me to learn more about myself. Reading other people’s writing is inspiring, too.
    I enjoyed reading about your journey as a commenter. I also truly appreciate being the recipient of some of your comments. Thank you!

    Like

    • sallydonnelly11 says:

      Linda,
      I am so glad you took on this challenge for the first time this year and hope the experience of writing, reading, and commenting brings you back next year!. (You can also keep writing and posting during the year on Tuesdays.) This writing community is the best! So glad you joined it!

      Like

  12. Radutti says:

    This is an excellent tribute to the power of a writing community. Thanks for the insightful reflection and reminder – as well as permission to be gleeful when others appreciate our writing. We write for ourselves, but it’s pretty awesome when others like our writing, too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. WOWilkinson says:

    Thanks for sharing. I agree that this Pandemic-Brain has drained energy from normally revitalizing activities. I liked the reflections from previous challenges, and I affirm the vital role the commenting plays.
    Thank you also for the shout-outs to other blogs you’ve commented on. I missed some of those, but, luckily, I can catch them now.
    Enjoy your break.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JenniferM says:

    Commenting is the heart of this community, and like you, I’ve struggled to do any more than the minimum 3 lately. (Like you, I tend to do the 3 writers before or after I post mine!) I loved how you considered how different slicers’ posts show the many facets of writing identity and the many purposes for writing!

    Like

  15. Mmk says:

    You’re an inspiration, Sally! I loved reading all of your very specific comments on my posts. And, I love love loved that you left one for me to tell my daughter when I posted her writing. She was beaming. So glad you were highlighted today! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pia Alliende says:

    Sorry Sally, I was trying to post my Daty 31 and got confused since I was reading your post at the same time. Please erase my previous comment with the link to my post. You are an inspiration. I felt like you so many times. Thank you for this slice.:)

    Like

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