Five-minute projects

I have an old house. At any given moment there are a dozen things that need fixing, and most of those would take only five minutes if I would just settle down and do them.

Five-minute projects add up, and the accumulation of them seems daunting to the point of immobility. I take one look at the list, shake my head, and put it off for another week. The thing is – and I keep forgetting this – I only need to do one of them at a time. Surely I can spare five minutes to oil my bike chain, or change that lightbulb, or sand that rough spot on the doorframe that keeps giving me splinters. Five minutes, that’s all it takes to feel like I’ve accomplished something for the day.

Speaking of, have you tried a five-minute essay yet? It’s on my to-do list for this week.

Who’s on fourth

This month we invite you to learn more about Emily Bingham! The interview will publish Wednesday at 12pm ET, but in the meantime, head over to Plenty Plenty and read up on her awesome microstories.

The basics

Yeah write gives you three competitive challenge grids — nonfiction, fiction|poetry and microstories — all of which are moderated. Check them out below. Submissions that meet our guidelines will be moved to the voting grid; those that do not will get a personal love letter from our submissions editor explaining why. Got a question? E-mail us, tweet us, ping us on Facebook, or visit our online community, the yeah write coffeehouse. You can learn more about yeah write in our FAQ.

The rules

Please make sure you are familiar with our submission guidelines before you enter. We don’t have a lot of rules, but we do enforce them across the board. We’d hate to see anyone get disqualified by a technicality.

Bring us your personal essays and creative nonfiction!

The nonfiction challenge grid opens on Monday at midnight EST. This is the best place on the ‘net to showcase your best writing. Make us laugh, make us cry, make us think, and above all: make us care.

Nonfiction know-how: inspiration and the 5-minute essay

Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, and there’s an essay hiding in even the smallest increments. You don’t need to encompass your whole life in 1000 words; what if you just focused on five minutes? Rowan gives us some tips on finding your story in among the ordinary moments of your day.

Is fiction more your thing?

The fiction|poetry grid opens on Tuesday. Grab a mic and join our monthly poetry slam or check out our weekly prompt up!

Prompt up!

Prompt up is our optional weekly writing prompt for the fiction|poetry challenge! Here’s how it works: we choose a sentence prompt from last week’s winning nonfiction post and announce it in the kickoff. It’s your job to use that prompt in your poem or story and then run with it. The prompt is just a springboard, though: feel free to use it as your first sentence, move it, change it, or float down it to other territories.

Meg explored her thoughts on confronting an empty page in All the Things You Want. This week’s Prompt Up is: I want to wear the tails and top hat.

April poetry slam: the bop

Not all poetry forms were invented hundreds of years ago. This month, we’re taking a look at something new. Created by contemporary poet Afaa M. Weaver, the bop is a cross between a sonnet, a song and an essay, and we think you’re going to love it.

This week’s ultimate question: what’s broken?

Answer this question in exactly 42 words for the microstory challenge, or use it to inspire your submission to the other competitive grids. The microstory challenge opens on Wednesday.

Tips for your microstories

This week’s question requires you to identify something that is broken: cracked, malfunctioning, in pieces, torn apart, or just plain stopped. Lamps, limbs, hearts, trust, promises, toys, bread, the US electoral system – it’s all fair game.

Remember: do not include the question in your title or your answer. Do not include extra words – no footnotes (except for photo credits), no explanations, no shout-outs. Do not rely on your word processor or blog to give you an accurate word count. COUNT YOUR WORDS WITH YOUR EYES. Posts that do not meet these standards will not be moved to the voting grid.

Questions? Want to talk it through? Grab a latte at the coffeehouse and chat with your fellow yeah writers.

Winners’ round-up

In case you missed them, you can find last week’s yeah write staff picks and crowd favorites all laid out for you on Friday’s winners’ post. Leave the winners some love in the comments. They will love you right back, we guarantee it.

Weekend writing showcase

The weekend’s not over: the moonshine grid is still open. Have something to add? Old posts and new are welcome. No moderation, no voting. It’s a laid-back relaxed kind of place. Just leave your commercial or sponsored posts at home. Drop by, share your work, and while you’re there, visit your fellow yeah writers.