I was deep in my notebook at the Festival of Faith & Writing when a boisterous group of women nearby started assembling for a photo. I hadn’t paid them much attention, but they seemed to loosely know one another and I noticed their genuine enjoyment of one another’s company and enthusiasm for each others’ writing.
Then there was a tap on my table.
“Would you mind taking our picture?”
After a couple of good photos and then a set of Burst Mode, just for good measure, I asked what they were gathered for. Turns out, these were devout followers of Five Minute Friday.
Every Thursday evening, the group leader posts a prompt. And every Friday, participants write for five minutes based on the prompt. No editing, no corrections. And then they post that unedited, raw work on their blogs.
“That’s ballsy” I said. “That’s why we like it” they said. And everyone’s invited to the party.
You can find Five Minute Friday posts on Facebook, and on Twitter with #fmfparty. I’ll be participating as often as possible. Write along with me!
Five Minute Friday: Pass/Fail
I never had to work to pass classes at school. But I still felt like a failure. I was passed over in every round of picking teams on the recess yard, and in P.E.
I was two-thirds the size of most of my classmates, with little physical power. Last for kickball, red rover, freeze tag – everything but dodgeball, and even then I was only not-last because I had the least surface area.
I spent hours practicing softball and developed some of the best skills on my little league teams. But I never felt like I was really a good player, at least not compared to my all-star teammates. Even when batting lead-off, a position that goes to players with high on-base percentages, I still thought it was due to my small strike zone.
At the nearby university’s softball camp, I was so underestimated by the college athletes that my father had to pull them aside and tell them to work me harder, that if I was to improve they needed to increase the skill level.
So the grounders started going harder. Faster. And farther from my base.
Later, the athletes found my father. “You were right. At the end, we were just trying to hit something to get past her and we couldn’t do it. Keep making her work her backhand, ’cause she can reach farther than she thinks.”
He told me in the car on the ride home and I smiled.
Nineteen years later, I still remember. I remember because I still struggle with that same demon of impostor syndrome, and I’m startled to note how early it began. And I remember because that was the first time I felt it melt away for awhile.