We’re about to embark on the 14th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! Through the years, we’ve received similar questions from first-time participants. Therefore, I’ve decided to update an old FAQ post, which will help you get ready for the Challenge, which begins this Monday.
QUESTION: Do I have to have a blog to participate in the Slice of Life Story Challenge?
ANSWER: Yes. While you’re welcome to write for 31 days of March in your writer’s notebook or a Google Doc, participating in the Challenge means being a part of an online writing community. Your blog should be open to comments so other Slicers (That’s what we call the people who participate in this writing challenge.) can support you on your writing journey.
It doesn’t take long to start a blog. It’s also free! I’m partial to WordPress. Blogger and Edublogs are also good options. (You should note some folks have had ongoing issues leaving comments on Blogger blogs — because of the Captcha images — from their mobile devices.) Click here for a blog post I wrote a few years ago about how to create your blog.
QUESTION: Where will I place the link to my blog?
ANSWER: Every day in March, there will be a call for slice of life stories at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time. You will place the permalink to your blog post in the comment section of that day’s blog post. Here’s an example from last year: https://twowritingteachers.org/2020/03/01/day-1-sol20/.
Please do NOT link on this page, https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/challenges/, which is our Slice of Life Information Page. Comments left on that page will not be seen by other Slicers.
For your convenience, day 1’s URL where you’ll link your story (on 3/1) will be:
NOTE: This won’t go live until 12:01 a.m. EST on Monday, March 1st. I wanted to give you the exact place where you will need to link your slice of life story on the first day.
The links for days 2, 3, etc. will look similar (i.e., https://twowritingteachers.org/2021/03/02/day-2-sol21 and https://twowritingteachers.org/2021/03/03/day-3-sol21).
QUESTION: Do I submit my posts on the Two Writing Teachers Blog? Can I submit my link via Twitter using the #SOL21 hashtag?
ANSWER: You must link up on Two Writing Teachers daily. Twitter is optional. If you wish to Tweet the link to your slice of life post on Twitter, you may use #SOL21 hashtag so other Slicers will see your post on Twitter as well.
QUESTION: What should I write when I leave the permalink to my slice of life story?
ANSWER: Write a short teaser and leave the link to your blog post. Here’s an example:
Every blog post you publish will have a unique URL, which we refer to as a permalink. Please share daily with your permalink, rather than leaving a link to your blog. To find this link: click on the title of your blog post. The permalink will appear in your browser. Copy that entire link so you can paste it into your comment when you leave a link to your slice of life story on Two Writing Teachers.
QUESTION: What should I write about? Can I write about teaching?
ANSWER: A slice of life storytelling technique that offers insight into an ordinary person’s life. You can think of it as a small moment story. You’re not telling about your whole day – just a piece of it. (For more information, click here.)
That being said, your slice of life post should not be, for instance, a lesson plan or notes about staff development training you attended. Information/advice that’s not presented as a narrative is not a slice of life story. Neither is a book review or a giveaway. Please do not link to whatever was on your blog that day. Our goal is to build a community of writers through story. We hope you honor that request by sharing your stories with the Slicer community.
QUESTION: Why story?
ANSWER: The word story is in the full name of the Challenge. Stories have been at the heart of this Challenge since it began in 2008. To learn more about the significant ways stories have connected members of this community through the years, you may watch part or all of our recent Facebook Live Session.
QUESTION: What should I do if my comment is held for moderation after I leave the teaser and permalink to my slice of life story?
ANSWER: If you’ve never posted a comment on TWT before, or if your comment contains more than one hyperlink, then your comment will be held for moderation. The co-author team monitors blog comments several times a day so we can approve comments that don’t post automatically. Therefore, there is no need to submit your comment multiple times if it doesn’t appear after you click “post comment.”
If you use the same username/email to log in when you leave your comment, your comments should appear instantly in the future.
On occasion, a Slicer’s comment is marked as spam by WordPress. Recently, our site has received thousands of spam comments each week, making it difficult for our team to monitor when real comments are sent to spam.
During March, if you believe your comment inadvertently went to spam, please message the TWT co-author whose responsible for Slicers with the first letter of your last name. (E-mail addresses can be found at the bottom of this post.) Send the co-author the approximate time you left your comment so she can fish your comment out of spam.
QUESTION: I participate in other online challenges, like Poetry Friday and #IMWAYR. Do I post one slice and one other post or can my post for that meme serve as my slice of life story on that day?
ANSWER: We encourage people to continue taking part in memes they love. However, these challenges are separate posts from the SOLSC. We prefer posts do not overlap.
QUESTION: What if I miss a day? Am I out?
ANSWER: Part of the Challenge is to write for 31 consecutive days. If you write daily for 31 days, link to the daily call for Slice of Life Stories, and give at least three other people comments every day, then you will be in the running for a Classic Prize once the Challenge is over. (NOTE: There will be prizes for reaching a variety of milestones throughout the month.) However, we realize life happens. Sometimes people miss a day. While you won’t be in the running for a tangible prize at the end of the month if you miss a day, you should come back the following day to share your writing. Being part of this writing community is about so much more than working for a prize. You’ll never be “out” if you have to skip a day or two.
QUESTION: I write on a collaborative blog with another teacher friend. Will it count if I write on the even days and my friend writes on the odd days?
ANSWER: Each person must participate in all 31 days of the Challenge if you want to get the most out of being part of this writing community. Each of you should be writing a slice of life story and linking to your slice of life story every day in March in order to be considered as having fully participated in the Challenge.
QUESTION: Can you explain how commenting on other writers’ blogs works?
ANSWER: We’ve never set rules like “comment on the previous three commenters’ posts” or “comment on the person who posted before you.” We do not want to mandate who people should connect with. Just because you like to post at 8:00 p.m., doesn’t mean the people who posted from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. will have written posts that will resonate with you.
Typically, people write a sentence or two (aka: a teaser) about their slice of life story when they leave a comment. Read those teasers. That might help you decide whose blog posts to read.
QUESTION: What is the “Welcome Wagon” I’ve read about?
ANSWER: The Welcome Wagon is a dedicated group of volunteers who have participated in one or more March Challenges. They have committed to commenting on new Slicers’ blog posts every day this month. (This is why we ask you if you’re new to the Challenge on the participant information form when you sign up for the Challenge. If you are, then you get matched up with a Welcome Wagon volunteer during the first week of March)
QUESTION: What if no one comments on my blog? Should I stop writing?
ANSWER: First of all, if you’re a new Slicer, make sure you let us know that when you fill out the participant information form. From there, we’ll dispatch someone from the Welcome Wagon Team to greet you within the first four days of the Challenge.
Second, ask yourself, “Am I writing too much?” Sometimes people who write longer slices lose their readers before they get to the end of the piece. Slice of life stories do not have to be lengthy. Think 300 – 700 words.
Third, make sure you’re commenting on other people’s slice of life stories. We recommend commenting on three other blogs as a bare minimum. If you have time to visit more blogs, then please do so. Part of being in a writing community means getting to know other writers in the community. If you’re stopping by other people’s blogs and leaving comments, chances are they’ll visit your blog and leave a comment on your slice of life story.
If you aren’t feeling the comment love by the end of week one, then shoot me, Amy, Beth, Betsy, or Melanie an e-mail. We don’t want anyone to stop writing because they feel as though their voice isn’t being heard.
QUESTION: What if I need tech support?
ANSWER: If you have tech-related questions during the Challenge, you may contact Beth Moore at beth[at]elizabethmoore[dot]work.
Some final notes & our contact information:
- If you haven’t read about how to join our writing community, which is a post that contains an overview of essential information about the Challenge, click here to read it now.
- Should you have questions about getting started with this Challenge, please direct your question to the appropriate coauthor:
- Individual SOLSC Challenge:
- If your last name begins with the letters A – F, please email questions to Amy Ellerman at ellermanamy[at]gmail.com.
- If your last name begins with the letters G – L, please email questions to Betsy Hubbard at betsymhubbard[at]gmail.com.
- If your last name begins with the letters M – Q, please email questions to Beth Moore at beth[at]elizabethmoore.work.
- If your last name begins with the letters R – U, please email questions to Melanie Meehan at meehanmelanie[at]gmail.com.
- If your last name begins with the letters V – Z, please email questions to Stacey Shubitz at stacey[at]staceyshubitz.com.
- Classroom SOLSC Challenge:
- If you have any questions, please email questions to Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski at mrs.sokolowski[at]gmail.com.
- NOTE: Comments on this post are closed.
- Individual SOLSC Challenge:
See you on Monday, March 1st!
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).