13 Jan 2011

What can you write in five minutes flat?

Pete is wrestling with the boys in the bedroom.

Five minutes.

I know I have at least five golden minutes to myself. Now, what to do with them? Clean the kitchen? Fold laundry? Reply to emails? Indulge in a slab of chocolate and a caffeine free coke? Pick up legos?

What if I wrote?

What if I took five minutes and wrote them down just to see what would come out? Not a perfect post, not a profound post, just an exercise in the discipline of writing. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. The balance between art and discipline when it comes to what we write. And I’m thinking when this baby girl arrives and I’m too delirious, exhausted, in love or all three to stumble over to my computer I may ask a few of my friends to stop by with their thoughts on the matter as well.

The art and the discipline of writing.

Because I think both matter.

Want to take a whirl with me at them? Come play five minute Friday with me this week. Set a timer for five minutes and write your heart out. My friend Alece regularly showcases what can be done in a five minute post. If you’re not sure where to begin, here’s an easy prompt: go look at the photos you currently have on your camera. Pick just one and then write that moment.

Write the reader into that time and space until we can feel it, smell it, touch it.

Root the reader in your memory. In five minutes flat.

Show, don’t tell. That’s what my mom always used to say about great writing. Show me what happened; don’t just tell it to me explaining the imagination away.

Let’s do it together; let’s enjoy the writing process and see what we learn from it. I’ll go first and offer an example here.

Will you come back on Friday to link up what you’ve captured in 5 minutes?
I’d love to read it! OK, here’s my first attempt:

5 minute sample
Prompt: photo on camera of Pete and kids taking out the Christmas tree

Start-

The tree has died in the two weeks we’ve been gone. But it still smells delicious.

Crackly pine needles and the whiff of sap. Christmas still lingering in the house even when Christmas is already three weeks old. Pete says it’s time to take it down. And the boys, they are ready to be men of the house and tackle that tree and help dad cart it to the curb.

They wrestle it out of its bucket and through the too-tight, too-small door frame. Branches snap, crackle and pop. Little boys shriek in delighted frustration and six hands threaten to throttle the branches that remain.

They drag it out the deck porch leaving a trail of shredded tree shrapnel and warm breath smoking on cold air. They laugh and yell back and forth and instruct Pete where to go, when to turn, how to open the garden gate.

Victory. The trash can and curb come into sight. Victory.

The tree bows before them, lays down on the ground and even from inside the house it seems to me it still has a twinkle in its eye.

Christmas persists well into the New Year.

Stop-

Don’t want to miss a post? Sign up to get them emailed to your doorstep right here
Or delivered to your reader of choice.

Comments

{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    recently I got caught up in the art of writing and it swallowed up my discipline to write. I took a break and came back, realizing I write for the love of it. I would love for every word to be art, but really that’s prideful. Insane really. So, I’m back to love.

    I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!
    -Elf (the movie)

  2. 2

    which is to say, I love this idea, and I need to practice discipline. I’m hoping to be disciplined enough to join in!

  3. 4

    Definitely a worthwhile exercise…trying to decide if I’m brave enough to join in.

  4. 5

    Count me in!

  5. 6

    I like the idea. If I can possibly remember, I will show up.

  6. 7

    I would love to give this a whirl. Considering how often I’ve been staring at a blank screen, wondering where to find words that mean anything, an exercise like this might be just what I need!

  7. 8

    Of course you know I’m all in on this!!

  8. 9

    love this idea lady! i often feel like i have to really think through a post…put a lot of time and effort writing and re-writing getting the wording just right. that’s part of my personality too…perfectionism….a fault really. this is such an awesome idea. i will totally be back friday sweet friend!!!

    • 10
      thegypsymama says:

      I’m the same way. So to just write without worrying about the editing or where it’s going to end up – it’s super liberating.

  9. 11

    You did a great job! I love the house with a twinkle in its eye.

  10. 12

    I love your writings – wish we lived closer – it would be nice to get to know each other better considering we are relatives. Tell Debbie I said “Hi”.

  11. 13

    Last year at Blissdom, the writing wisdom workshop girls had us write for a few minutes based on a theme. Oh…my…I was in tears in those few minutes! It was SO fun and I think with a beginning and ending time when we had to GET IT DONE, words flowed like water from the hydrant!

    Love this idea, Lisa-Jo :). Why, I think I will join in the fun!

    :)

  12. 14

    You are so fun. I’m on it! Mickey Mouse Clubhouse will be over in 5…let’s see what I can do! :)

  13. 16

    What a great exercise! Not sure if I’m brave enough to make it a post quite yet, but I will try the exercise. I’m wanting to become a better writer, I enjoy it so much. I read your post and I’m inspired by the beauty and ease of your words. Thanks, Lisa-Jo!

  14. 17

    I’m in. I love this idea! :)

  15. 18

    Does this include editing/spellchecking/tinkering/changing my cotton-pickin’ mind on whether to italicize that word or another in a sentence?

    This sounds so wonderfully liberating – and yet a bit terrifying for the OCD in me. Eh, why not – I’m no scaredy-cat…I’m in!

    • 19
      thegypsymama says:

      Yup! It’s a package deal, baby!

      And it *is* liberating since I love to knit-pick as well by the end. I’ve already had several ways I’d love to go back and edit the Christmas tree one I wrote above. But take the 5 minutes and just write. Free yourself from your own internal editing and just let it be all about the words.

  16. 20

    Girl, your sample post would take me days. I only write because it’s the the best way for me to encourage and share in this online world. I think if I did the 5 minute challenge it would look like this:

    “I don’t know what to write. What should I write? Shoot! I only have 4 minutes and 26 seconds left. What could I write in 4 minutes and 26…21 seconds? …Ad nauseum.”

    However, it sounds like a good challenge for me. Whether I actually post it or just share it in the comments (if that’s ok?) – it sounds like an excellent challenge for me.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. 23

    one of my favorite games to play with my writing! i’m in :)

  18. 25

    Your five minutes and my five minutes are two very different creatures! :)

  19. 26

    I love this idea! As I am expecting as well (February 17thy) I think this kind of discipline will be perfect! COunt me in!

  20. 28

    Okay, this just makes me laugh…It took me like 4 days to work thru writing this post:

    http://www.stumblingaroundinthelight.com
    (oh, I referenced & linked to you in it!!)

    So, I know I wasn’t just jotting something down, I was really working thru a heart issue. But STILL! Wow, I just take too long; write & rewrite, delete, reformat, start over – argh!
    This is REALLY encouraging tho. I need to move towards just jotting down some things – sharing the bits of life & truth & heart-stumbling that happen in a 7-kids-filled-homeschooling day! Thanks so much – for always bringing a smile to my day!

    • 29
      thegypsymama says:

      You. Can. Do. It.

      Even if all you end up with is a sentence.

      But give it a whirl, surprise yourself!

  21. 30

    My best writing happens when I sit down and just type a post out Hehe

  22. 32

    I’m in!

    I need the little push to get me out of my “too busy to write” slump.

  23. 34

    Yeah! Thank you so much, this is such an answer to prayer for me. I love to write but I can get so overwhelmed with life or with writing the “perfect” post that I often give up. Anyone else like that? I will see you back here on Friday.

  24. 36

    I am so excited to explore your blog!! I love it! I also spent some time in Ukraine…mostly in the Dnepropetrovsk area, but we traveled around a lot. Love the way you write, girl!

    • 37
      thegypsymama says:

      Spasibo! Ochin priatna! I traveled to Dnepropetrovsk once for work. Along with Odessa, Lviv, but we were mainly based in Kyiv. So glad to meet you too :)

  25. 38

    What fun, count me in!

  26. 39

    LOVE this idea. I’m in….

  27. 40

    Tomorrow is actually my 44th wedding anniversary (really?!!!), but I love this idea. If I can squeeze it in tonight, I’m in. It sounds like such fun.

    • 41
      thegypsymama says:

      It’ll only take five minutes! :) PS Happy Anniversary!! 44 Wow! That’s wonderful!

  28. 42

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! It will be so fun!!! I think I have the pic in mind…ooo can’t wait, just the boost I needed on a ‘down day’…hugs:)

  29. 43

    All right…I am going for it!!! I am not the biggest picture taker, but I will find something. ;) Yes unfortunately I am one of those who gets so into the moment I forget to capture it. ;D

  30. 44

    This is lovely! I’ve been participating in FMF for a few months now since I first noticed it on Gitz’s blog. It was wonderful to read the post where it at started!

    I love your mother’s guidance to show rather than tell. I will keep that advice with me. Thank you for this story. I felt like I had my hands on the tree.

    Cheers & Happy New Year,
    Heather @ Find That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

  31. 45
    Garneth Lighthiser says:

    see…..I am sitting in my room upstairs looking out at the tops of trees. I see the tops of trees and sky from this point. It looks cold and dreary out there for the first day of June.It should be a beachy, sunshiney day but instead it is this God given day. We are in the process of selling and then moving so this kind of day is great for packing, culling, sorting, and pitching. Putting all of this stuff into bins or the trash is a great experience .It is wonderful for the organizational person that I want to be….to actually be that. But oh the choices…do I keep the first grade picture of our family drawn by mynow grown daughter…is the hand thrown vase from our son important…and what about allllllll those cards over the years. Some of these things that I see I will see again when I can mull over them in a snowstorm…packed away in a bin for a while.

  32. 46

    four. You’ll be able to use home treatments including olive oil. Prior to you retire to bed, drink a teaspoon of olive oil. Olive oil will help lubricate your throat and quit the vibration of air against the tissues inside your throat.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by oh amanda, spicymagnolia, Faithful Bloggers and others. Faithful Bloggers said: What can you write in five minutes flat? http://dlvr.it/DD17V […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Marci Debetaz. Marci Debetaz said: RT @thegypsymama: So, does writing a post take you hours? Free your words. Take the #FiveMinuteFriday challenge http://bit.ly/fjfpWE […]

  3. […] 14th, 2011 § Leave a Comment Have you heard of The Gypsy Mama? She is a writer and blogger and I have started reading her blog. She threw out a challenge to see […]

  4. […] I loved this one. It’s called Five Minute Fridays. Lisa-Jo posted this a few months ago: “What if I took five minutes and wrote them down just to see what would […]

  5. […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things and Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy […]

  6. Wise Council says:

    […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things and Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy Mama. Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: baby, Faith, friends, love, […]

  7. […] post is part of Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy Mama and Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things. […]

  8. Squeaky says:

    […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things and Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy Mama. ShareShareEmailPrintFacebookStumbleUponDiggReddit Posted in Friends and […]

  9. […] Five Minute Friday {what can YOU write in 5 minutes flat} by The Gypsy Mama – thinking about starting this up next week! […]

  10. […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things and Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy Mama. ShareShareEmailPrintFacebookStumbleUponDiggReddit Posted in Friends and […]

  11. […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things and Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy […]

  12. […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things and Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy […]

  13. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  14. […] So, here’s the skinny: I’ve been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out […]

  15. […] post is part of Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy Mama and Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer […]

  16. […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things, Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy Mama, and Friday’s Nature Table at The Magic Onions. Posted in Faith and […]

  17. […] I can’t keep from editing a bit when I go back to add links—so it’s hardly fair to link it in Lisa-Jo’s 5-minute Friday, because it’s not even based on a photo prompt, but I’m going to anyway.  Call it a […]

  18. […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things, Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy Mama, and Friday’s Nature Table at The Magic […]

  19. Role Models says:

    […] post is part of Finer Things Friday at Amy’s Finer Things and Five Minute Fridays at The Gypsy […]

  20. […] and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And so a while back I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  21. […] but I thought it might be a little cathartic for me this Friday the 13th.  And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  22. […] thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  23. […] thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  24. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  25. […] thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  26. […] thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  27. […] thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  28. […] is a creative writing exercise I participate in with a beautiful community of women […]

  29. […] is a creative writing exercise I take part in with a beautiful community of women […]

  30. […] is a creative writing exercise I take part in with a beautiful community of women […]

  31. […] is a creative writing exercise I take part in with a beautiful community of women […]

  32. […] is a creative writing exercise I take part in with a beautiful community of women […]

  33. […] is a creative writing exercise I take part in with a beautiful community of women […]

  34. […] is a creative writing exercise I take part in with a beautiful community of women […]

  35. […] is a creative writing exercise I take part in with a beautiful community of women […]

  36. […] is a creative writing exercise I take part in with a beautiful community of women […]

  37. […] thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  38. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  39. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  40. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  41. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  42. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  43. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  44. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  45. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  46. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  47. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  48. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  49. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  50. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  51. […] thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused […]

  52. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a […]

  53. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a […]

  54. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a […]

  55. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a […]

  56. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a […]

  57. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a […]

  58. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a […]

  59. […] about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. So now on Fridays a […]

  60. […] I wrote the first Five Minute Friday post on January 13, 2011. You can click here to read it and find out how it started on a whim and I never could have imagined … […]

Hide me
Free eBook for Blog Subscribers!
Email:
Just enter your email & you'll receive a welcome email with a link to download the eBook. Easy Peasy!
Show me