Slice of Life Story Challenge

Slice of Life Story Challenge: A Reset for 2022

As a child, Wilson’s World  by Edith Thacher Hurd and Clement Hurd, was one of my favorite picture books. It’s out of print now, but you can purchase used versions from various sellers. The title character, Wilson, begins by painting a world– and his world becomes busier and busier, more and more crowded, and grayer and grayer as he works until he declares “Phooey” on his entire creation. “‘This isn’t the kind of world I want. This isn’t MY WORLD!’” he states, and he is left to wonder about the kind of world he really wants. 

For many people, the pandemic has challenged us to think about what we really want and what we really value. While the pandemic has had insurmountably tragic consequences, it has also been a time to reset where we are in life and rethink what matters most. These thoughts have been part of some people’s personal lives, as well as professional lives. The Two Writing Teachers co-authors have grappled with our priorities in our writing, our conversations, and our planning around the 15th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge, or SOLSC, which will begin on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Just as Wilson asked himself what kind of world he wanted, we have also asked ourselves about the original purpose, rationale, and mission of our annual writing event. 

Above all else, our goal for the SOLSC, regardless of the year and the surrounding events, is to nurture a global writing community by building and sustaining writing lives within a community of writers. Through this community, we impact students around the world. When students have teachers who write, they have teachers who understand the processes, challenges, and rewards of identifying and communicating ideas, enhancing teachers’ ability to lead a group of student writers. 

When we focused our attention on the true meaning and mission of the SOLSC, we realized it is not about the prizes. Yes, there are some Slicers who may have joined because of the possibility of a prize, but they have returned annually because they value the community and the experience of challenging themselves as writers. The SOLSC is about establishing the authentic connections that happen when people write alongside one another– even when miles and oceans separate them.  

At the end of Wilson’s World, Wilson created a new picture, keeping the world more like what he wanted. We are also re-envisioning our metaphorical canvas. As we unfold the details of the 15th Annual SOLSC, you will read descriptions of logistics and expectations, but you will not see posts about the Prize Reveal or the call for a Welcome Wagon. One of the main purposes of the Challenge is to strengthen ourselves as writers by paying attention to community and audience, and we want that to be inherent and organic– not fueled by prizes or assigned responders. Additionally, at its core, the Challenge makes participants authentic writers, and there is no prize necessary for the reward of sitting beside and teaching students, writer to writer,   

We value every single member of this unique writing community. We can’t wait to see you in March! We encourage you to invite others to participate and experience the intrinsic pride, authentic relationships, and important learning that happens when writing for 31 consecutive days.

10 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge: A Reset for 2022

  1. Glad you are looking to reset – the need to focus in these times is so important. The time to just write is really what I thing people are looking for. Your space gives them a reason to set that time aside. As a blogger it makes a difference when there is a community that you are a part of. A place to send your words out to and a place to catch others words, thoughts and feelings is a gift. I have valued this space for years.

    I am also creating a refocus and wonder about the role of those of us who use to teach but have now been retired for many years. Questions for me are – are my post still helpful to this community of teachers? Since I have been out of the classroom for years and the current teaching is now so different i know longer feel I can write to this topic and have moved on to other areas of thought. Does that still fit into your goals for this community and into mine goals as a writer? All big thoughts! All and all I am glad you are finding new ground to stand on! For now I will follow, continue to write and see what changes come forward. Thanks for all you have done for teacher writers and for those of us who continue to write long after we are done teaching.

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  2. I absolutely love the connections I made in my first year (last year). The power of community and feeling seen through writing is something that we are blessed to have in our lives. Thank you for giving us this space and cultivating this community. ❤ Can't wait for March!

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  3. It was never about any prizes (for me) and to be honest, I always find/found the sponsorships a little unsettling for reasons I could never quite articulate. So I mostly ignored it, and just kept on writing and commenting. I support the idea that this time of reflection and re-evaluation may be a time to let the community of contributors itself be the continued motivation here for us as writers, and not the possibility of stuff. It’s also OK if things go smaller, I’d suggest, as long as connections remain strong. The network can help keep us all motivated.
    Thank you for all you all continue to do to support teachers as writers.

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  4. Dear TWT Team,
    As I read this post about changes to the upcoming SOL challenge, I thought about all the extra work you all do each year and how hard that has been during the pandemic. I hope this change alleviates much of that work. I also thought about Daniel Pink’s book “Drive” in which he writes about motivation. Pink says what really motivates us isn’t sticks snd carrots but mastery, autonomy, and purpose. These ideas about motivation are reflected in your decision, and they have been driving forces in my presence here and in other writing spaces. I appreciate you all and thank you for all you’ve given each of us in this community.

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  5. Every year, I wonder whether to participate again or not. Every year, I do, and I am rewarded beyond measure. I thank you all again for creating this opportunity and I applaud your reset! (PS I just ordered a copy of Wilson’s World and can’t wait to read it myself and to share it with my class. Sounds like a wonderful springboard for reflection and discussion.)

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