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.