Five minutes… it doesn’t seem like much.
It’s easy to waste, thinking it’s too insignificant to achieve anything – far too easy to fritter away on social media.
And yet when you stop to think about it there’s a lot we could achieve. We could read a few pages of a book, we could tidy up, we could listen to a worship song, we could call a friend to encourage them, we could reply to a couple of quick emails… or we could write.
When I started writing, almost four years ago, I discovered a wonderful community called Five Minute Friday. Every week a one-word prompt is given and the idea is to write for five minutes without editing or overthinking, and see what comes out.
It’s a simple idea, but I have found it remarkably effective.
First of all, it has got me into the habit of writing. When it only takes five minutes it’s harder to justify the excuse that I don’t have time. (Confession: I do sometimes take a bit longer than five minutes.)
Then there’s the community. I have so appreciated the friendships I’ve made and that so many people are encouraging and take the time to visit one another’s posts. This definitely helps provide motivation to write.
Finally, so many times I have looked at the prompt word and thought I had nothing to say, yet once I get going I find the words flow and sometimes I produce posts I would never have expected. I have been able to develop some of these posts into longer pieces and, even when I’m not particularly happy with the end result, I still feel that the practice is valuable, and that it has improved my writing over time.
New people are always welcome at the link-up, so feel free to click over each Friday and join us.
If that’s not for you though, you might be interested in the new Five Minute Writing Prompt Journal.
Now you don’t have to wait for Friday! This journal provides 52 prompts as well as plenty of space to write, and it also includes some inspirational quotations to motivate you to write.
You might surprise yourself with what you can achieve in just five minutes!
I was pleased to have access to a complementary digital copy of the resource and it looks great, but I’m sure the printed one will be even better.
As I was preparing this post, I took a look back over some of my old Five Minute Friday posts, and I thought I’d share one with you here as an example. This is a post that was originally shared in November 2015, based on the prompt word “dance”:
Several years ago, I attended the wedding of someone from my church. He was Scottish and his bride was English, so the wedding was taking place in England but the dancing at the reception was traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing.
Anyone who is brought up in Scotland becomes familiar with these dances from an early age, as you are taught how to do them at school. I still remember being made to line up- girls on one side of the gym hall, boys on the other- and the awkward wait after the boys were asked to choose their partners, as you stood there, hoping to end up with someone decent, hoping that someone else didn’t ask you first as you were never allowed to say no, hoping above all that you wouldn’t end up being one of the few girls who weren’t chosen and who had to pair up with one another.
The wedding party was made up of a mixture of Scottish and English guests and, while the Scottish guests knew the ceilidh dances, most of the English guests had never done them before, so it was funny to watch. A boy from my church was there – he was about 6 years old – and he asked to dance with me for a couple of the dances. The dances we did were quite complicated and, as we went on, I could see more and more of the English people noticing and marvelling at how such a small child could do these dances more or less perfectly. He beamed with pride as several of them came and complimented us when the dance was over.
What the English people didn’t realise was that, while he had a good sense of rhythm, he actually had no idea how to do the dances. All he did was hold onto my hands and allow me to pull him in the direction he was meant to go. He trusted me and he responded so well to my lead that he did the dances, although he could never have done them by himself.
As I remember that day, it makes me think that is how it should be with us and God. It’s as if he calls us to come and dance with him – to join in with what he is doing. We may not have the ability in our own strength, we may not be capable, but with him we can do more than we would ever have dreamed would be possible. If we trust him, keep holding onto him and follow his lead, we can do whatever he is asking us to do. We don’t have to understand how the whole thing works, we don’t have to know what the next steps will be, we just have to stay in time with the music, hold on and follow his lead.
What dance is God asking you to partner him in today? Will you dance with him?
I’ll leave you with the song that came to mind when I saw this prompt, and “when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”