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An Exercise in Writing

I’ve been a bratty “writer.”  And by that, I mean, I love writing, I do it when I’m inspired, sometimes I’m inspired when I don’t have access to a computer or even paper, so I “write” in my head, but then it gets lost in my mental cosmos.  But as far as “practicing” I’ve operated under a bratty opinion of, “I’m only going to write if I’m inspired…otherwise it’s so contrived.”

Super bratty, but I’m hungry for, and willing to, change.

Except I’ve been thinking about such a mentality for the last year or so and realized something.  When you practice something, you often get better at it.  Take, for example, swimming.  I started out as a toddler on the side of the pool, only dipping my toes, telling my mom I didn’t want to go in the water. We moved to Arizona when I was 6 and were enrolled in swim lessons right away since a pool is mostly standard issue in every backyard, and if not, for sure in every neighborhood.  My first swim class was for “Minnows”, aka, little swimmers…beginners getting comfortable with the water.  I know at some point I became a “Shark” and then in time I was on a team, gathering 5th and 6th place ribbons, then 4th and 3rd, then years later State Titles with teammates in High School.

We practiced every day after school from mid-August to the end of November, from 2:30 to 5:00.

A lot of hours, a lot of practice.  Some of it redundant, but building strength and endurance, perseverance, and in some races, excellence.

So, I’m trying to apply the same mentality to writing.  Because I really like writing.  Mucho.  So, recently when I saw on Twitter a post by Lisa-Jo Baker about a writing exercise group link she does on Friday’s with readers, I was intrigued.  It’s called, “Five Minute Friday,” and she gives a prompt, you set your timer, and then write.  And write.  And write until the timer goes off, and then, you stop.  So, I’ve never done it before, but I’m starting it now.  Like, right now.  And the prompt is:  She.

GO:

She.

She is your mom.  She is your sister.  She is your daughter.  She is your aunt, cousin, grandmother, friend.  Her strength is astounding.  Her smile strengthening, lighting up a room, filling hearts, bringing life and love wherever it’s revealed.

There are days when her smile is hidden.  She doesn’t realize the power behind its revelation, she is unaware of the life it offers, she doesn’t know because it has been darkened, the lines diminished from years of sorrow.  Life unraveling.

We look at her and long for the smile to return to her face.  She has aged, but the lines in her face aren’t from laughter but longing.  Worry, wonder, despair, a broken heart.  The lines are deep and they draw her smile, the beauty that was once alive on her face, the lines draw them down.

Look up!  Look around you!  See the sea of faces looking back at you.  These are the faces of family and friends, and we love you.  We are so sorry for the hurts in your heart, the aches you’ve hidden deep, the memories fresh even though ancient.  We love you and want you to know your sheer existence, the fact that you are here, now, in this space, brings love and hope to us.

Let those lines run deep, not from sorrow, but because of laughter, laughter of days to come, joy in the unknown

STOP.

Wow.  That was a cool exercise.  I practiced writing.  It was kind of crazy to see what came to mind.  I think I’ll practice this exercise every Friday.  It only takes 5 minutes, so it’s not like I can say I don’t have time to write.

If you care to join in the practice, here’s the information.  You may leave your writing in the comments section or link your blog post in the linky section (I’ve never done a “linky” so hopefully it’s easy and I can figure it out…), then head to the blogger’s site who posted prior to you and read their piece and encourage them.

Have a great weekend! 

9 thoughts on “An Exercise in Writing

  1. I signed up after you thinking I would get to follow your Friday posts… but now I think we have to resign up every Friday after the prompt word. And now I think I’m late in the game after already reading Lisa Jo’s post and yours. How can I write my own “she” without thinking of the ones I’ve read. AND now my blog is locking me out. uggh… so… I can’t even write my she if I wanted to. 🙂 perhaps when the 20 minute lockout is over I’ll have a new inspiration for she.
    Heidi jo

    1. And don’t give up, Heidi Jo! We link up every week, and I almost always read other posts before writing my own. We’re all a bunch of rule breakers — only a few people actually write in five minutes. I usually block out an entire night to sit at the computer and write on the prompt. That stuff doesn’t really matter. What does matter is being part of a beautiful group of women who are excited to be with and encourage each other! Keep at it!

  2. Love what you wrote!

    So often I’m so busy with my own concerns that I don’ t look around at all the hurt and despair around me. I want to really try to see others and give them a listening ear, or even just a smile!

    Don’t you just love doing the 5 minute writing exercise? At times it’s the only thing I write all week! And the prompt is often so right for the things I’m dealing with at the moment..or is it just that God always wants to talk to us , through anything and everything, if we only listen?

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