I owe a real debt of gratitude to the Five Minute Friday website and community https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/08/01/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-five/ because this is what got me blogging and writing on a regular basis rather than just ad hoc or as the muse hit. Even if it turns out more to be Six Minute Saturday, Seven Minute Sunday, or even Twenty Minute Tuesday some weeks!
It was recommended to me by someone in the Association of Christian Writers https://christianwriters.org.uk/ (another big influence in my writing life) and since my first post (almost exactly three years ago), this will be my 241st post! I’ve gained 5,621 views, 472 comments, 127 followers to the blog itself plus 267 on Facebook and 74 on Twitter, and been read in over 64 different countries (hard to be exact as WordPress classifies the European Union as a country!).
I know there are many more popular blogs than mine, that these statistics are a mere particle in a drop in the ocean of the world wide web. But each of these figures is a source of wonder to me, that anyone would actually be interested in what I have to say, and also an added confirmation that writing is what I should be doing.
However, these figures are also a measure of vanity! Real success, the success that actually matters I think, are the other things that I have gained from joining the Five Minute Friday community:
It has taught me discipline – to write whether I feel like it or not, to start writing when all I have is a microscopic sliver of an idea and see where it takes me. It has boosted my confidence and sparked other ideas – completing Write 31 Days (I never thought when I began that I could post something readable every day for a whole month!), which led me to do my own Jesse Tree and Blessings Jar series of blog posts.
It has encouraged me to move forward with my writing and reach out to other writers – to join my local group of the Association of Christian Writers, to become a monthly contributor to the morethanwriters blog https://morethanwriters.blogspot.com/, and (successfully) submit a piece for an anthology.
I have also started to learn more about the technical side of literature, becoming involved in other authors’ book launches, penning reviews for blog tours, learning to ‘find an angle’ that is uniquely mine. And in all this, making unseen online friends along the way.
Most of all, it has taught me that sharing the depth and breadth of the detail my life – the pain of my father’s decline into Alzheimer’s, the joy of common family songs on a car journey, the stubborn strength of God’s love that keeps me going through all of it – that this resonates with others. Words and stories help us feel less alone and I hope the offering of the faith I have found to be so fundamental, holds out a lifeline to pull others into shore when the waves of life become too choppy, a small light to remind that the darkness never wins.
So thank you Kate and the Five Minute Friday community – with your help, thestufflifeismadeof (and me) are growing into something I never thought possible when I wrote that first FMF post ‘Ducks!’. https://thestufflifeismadeofblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/ducks-five-minute-friday-happy/