So, here’s the skinny: every Friday for nearly four years hundreds of people joined a kind of writing flash mob over here.

We called it, Five Minute Friday. Because that’s the time limit we gave ourselves for each post. Each unedited, perfectly flawed post. Much like each of us who gathered here.

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I wrote 172 Five Minute Friday posts.

We would write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I posted here starting at 10pm EST on Thursday night and all through Friday. And we would connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FMFParty (It stands for Five Minute Friday Party).

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

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 it would still be going.

What a pilgrimage it was. What a ride. What a wild meeting of minds and spirits and writers who believed that they were given a message no matter how many people ended up reading it.

It outgrew my wildest expectations.

Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker

FMF in real life at Allume

FMF with Trina Holden

Five Minute Friday Retreat

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A weekly flash mob of writers. Who gathered over kitchen sinks and in conference rooms. Around virtual coffee tables, on Facebook, between the car pool drop offs and every Thursday night on Twitter.

We wrote.

We adventured.

And then we passed the baton on to Kate Motaung who has been hosting Five Minute Friday since late 2014.

And now, five years since Five Minute Friday first started, there’s going to be a book. A collection of Five Minute Friday posts compiled by one of our own – Susan Shipe.

Five Minute Friday Book

A celebration of the writing that comes out when you challenge yourself. When you turn off the critic in your head. When you remember you already are a writer; no one needs to name you what you already are.

Your words. This shared feast.

It’s easy to submit a post to the Five Minute Friday compilation, just:

  1. Pick your favorite Five Minute Friday post you ever wrote.
  2. Email it to Susan Shipe at
  3. BEFORE March 31.
  4. And if you have a testimony you’d like to share about what Five Minute Friday has meant to you – you’re welcome to include that in your cover email. We may feature a few of those in the book too.

And because Five Minute Friday is all about community – any and ALL proceeds from this book will be donated to the projects that Kate and I support in South Africa

So, I sure hope if you’re a current Five Minute Friday writer or an alum that you’ll consider submitting a piece.

And for old time’s sake – the writing prompt this week is the word SURPRISE. Here goes, five minutes, unedited:


She was the last thing I was expecting. Those two pink stripes I thought would be born a bundle of blue. But they weren’t. You came instead and you are all things pink and twirly and sparkle and glitter. I wasn’t ready for it. I was afraid. I didn’t think I could live up to all your world of girl expectations. But you cupped my face in two chubby hands and looked me in the eye and told me, “Mama, I wuv you.”

And that was enough. That was all the things. That was the whole world in the palm of your fingernail-paint-streaked fingers. I was won over and I will spend all my days learning your ways. We will paint tiny lips and slip into pink ballet slippers and sing each other love songs across cookie trays and I will always treasure the way each day I unwrap more and more and more of the same.

This surprise set on repeat that gets up and calls me, mama. And BFF. And mom. And I am. I am your mother. I am the mother to a daughter and how could I possibly have known what that would mean. All these feelings that bubble out of you and catch my breath as I catch hold of your hand and spin you around again to that old tune. You my small little sugar. Thank you for remembering to find me when I least expected it.


You’re welcome to come and join us and link up your own five minutes on the prompt, “Surprise” over at Kate’s place.