Several years ago, I met a number of writers via Twitter. This social media vastland held mystique, one I never thought I’d understand. The threads of conversation moved fast and the content seemed weird. I couldn’t find people doing anything other than saying, “Look at me!”, “Buy my stuff.”, “I know what you need.”.
But, I persisted.
Eventually, I found myself in the middle of a conversation with various Bible teachers about a donkey named Flash. I also caught on to the prolific tweets with shared hashtags and jumped into a twitter party before I knew what it was.
One such social media gathering happens on Thursday nights. You can find Five Minute Friday by searching the tag #fmfparty in Twitter. (Active Thursday evenings between 8:45 & 9:45 PM EST). Lisa Jo Baker started the fun, I don’t know when, and Kate Motaung leads the band today. Writers gather every week as they’ve been doing for years. After they chat about life and chocolate, out comes the one word writing prompt.
Before you know it, bloggers dash off and create new pieces of content.
Participants set a timer for five minutes, then write and publish their post. In friendly competition, they want to know who will be first to link up on the weekly Five Minute Friday post. Once they’ve linked up, they read other entries and leave encouraging comments.
I remember the pressure, and freedom, from writing for five minutes only. Those precious moments opened up a flow of raw thoughts. Sometimes they worked out well. Sometimes they didn’t. (You weren’t supposed to go back and edit them, but I confess I did.) Regardless, the exercise generated momentum for thoughts and stories to pour out. Words which may never have come to the surface otherwise.
A simple idea with easy structure helps writers develop their craft. It also generates community, connection, creativity, and courage.
FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY BENEFITS
CRAFT: Setting a timer creates internal pressure to just get the words out. With five minutes, there isn’t time to be critical of yourself. Just go!
COMMUNITY: New and experienced writers alike find they are not alone.
CONNECTION: People who never knew each other before find others who share similar interests. From this, new communities and dreams are birthed.
CREATIVITY: Untold stories and unrealized thoughts come to the surface. New ways of forming thoughts and telling stories happen in sometimes surprising ways.
COURAGE: And, I wonder how many take their writing to the next level because they’ve faced a fear or two and found encouragement instead of rejection. Or, because they’ve tried something new and learned how to make their writing better.
This five minute prompt, along with the structure of the activity and the community that surrounds it, gets people writing. Not for fame. Not for perfection. But for something else. Perhaps it’s for the pleasure of writing, or the beauty of practice, or the fun of a challenge. Whatever it is, writers find motivation and momentum when otherwise they may have felt stuck or alone.
It’s been awhile since I’ve linked up with Five Minute Friday (FMF), or other linkups for that matter. A few years ago, I sensed God telling me to stop. I think my motivations were getting twisted up. Plus, I was distracted from doing the things I believe God was asking of me. God knows what we need. Sometimes it’s hard to follow and step back from things that are good, but when God leads us towards something or from something, it’s always good.
Five Minute Friday holds a dear place in my heart for all the friends I’ve made and for the way they love on others. They embrace newcomers well and they foster a community where writers can grow. I’m grateful and I know many are blessed by it.
You don’t have to be a “writer” to join in, y’all. You don’t have to have a blog. The practice of writing free-flow thoughts is beneficial for us in ways I can’t get into now, but you can read more here. If this speaks to you, then join in the conversation and write in a journal instead.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can find Five Minute Friday online here. In addition to a dedicated website, click here for a Facebook Group just for FMF participants! Thanks for all you do for writers Kate Motaung!
Also, don’t forget the Rise Up Writers community on Facebook and via a Newsletter. I get to lead this amazing group of writers/speakers/entrepreneurs and I have an an incredible team to help offer practical and spiritual encouragement. Find out more about Rise Up Writers here.
Whatever community or communities work best for you, may you be blessed in them! I believe we are better working in collectively than competitively.
Who is Five Minute Friday for?
- New writers
- Experienced writers
- Individuals returning to writing and starting over
- A writer looking to get unstuck and gain a bit of momentum
- A writer in need of community
- A writer ready to have some fun and try something new
- A writer willing to face fear and procrastination
- Shoot, even if you’re not a writer and you’re looking for a fun activity, join the conversation on Twitter then write in a notebook just for fun!
RESOURCES FOR GETTING STARTED AS A BLOGGER OR WRITER
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