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


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.


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