Five Songs, Five Days

We often attach emotions to seasons and periods of time throughout the year. Consider the month of December. Many can look at this month, printed on a calendar, and feel a faint whisper of delight. Like a gentle breeze, passing briefly through their soul. Christmas, traditions, family, gifts. Decades of wonderful memories coalesce into a compressed moment of joy that comes and goes like the burning of an ember as it floats to the ground. And all they did was look at a grid empty boxes printed on glossy paper.

When Charity and I think of the end of May, it’s not really an emotion that pass through our soul but more of a, fit of dry heaves.

And some excitement too.

But mostly the dry heaves.

Every May since 2011 Charity and I have participated in a songwriting challenge called 5in5. This is created and hosted by Daniel White, who also happens to be our brother-in-law. The idea is to get people to write one song a day for five days straight. Then post it somewhere online for the whole world to hear.

It is a lot harder than it sounds. And it already sounds pretty hard to begin with.

5in5 week is an exercise in pushing the boulder of creativity, uphill, all while sleep deprivation chips away at your sanity. It is all consuming. Any mental free time you have is assigned to 5in5. But the world doesn’t care. Kids still want their needs met. Work still wants their needs met. It sounds hard writing a song in a day but for us, and many participants, it’s really trying to write a song in five hours or so. It’s waiting for the kids to go to bed to give us a shot at prolonged, dedicated thought. Then from there it’s beating our head against the wall and watching the hours slip from night into early morning.

Charity and I often find ourselves stumbling down the hall after waking up, wondering what we had written the previous night. And then wonder why we are wondering about that and not thinking about that day’s new song.


It is very rewarding.

By the end of five days, after we recover by sleeping all Saturday long—hahaha, like our kids let that happen—we are left with five songs that otherwise would not have been created. Five songs the world had never known before. Are they all great songs? Nope. We might write one or two during the week that we actually like, but we finished it. We created. Usually our mantra for the week is a quote we heard somewhere: “Eighty percent and out there is better than one hundred percent and still in your head.”

They might not be perfect but they are out there. We can always perfect them later.

There is something great about creating for the sake of creating. Nothing major may ever come of these songs. But we find that the community that is built of participants and observers following along during the week is rich. Encouragement flies back and forth across the internet as kind words and camaraderie are expressed about what we are all making. It’s a great thing to be a part of, dry heaves and all.

Below are the songs that we wrote this last week. And below those, is a blooper reel I put together because who doesn’t love those? The correct answer is no one.

To check out our songs from all the previous years of 5in5 click here.


Day 1 – Sky


Day 2 – Find You There


Day 3 – Time Flies


Day 4 – Choosing Me


Day 5 – King of the World




  1. Kathy said:

    Oh, man! The bloopers have totally blown my illusions. I thought you guys just walked around the house singing life to one another like a real-time music video. I mean, you make it look so effortless.

    June 14
    • Thomas D Long said:

      I so agree Kathy. I for sure thought it was one take every time.

      June 14
  2. Thomas D Long said:

    You SURVIVED 5 in 5! Thanks for the Bloopers. Gives us a view behind the curtain. Great Post! There has been so many fantastic creations over the last 5 years. They would have never been created without the driving force of 5 in 5.

    June 14
  3. I feel sorry for you people every year. This year on Day 2, I wrote one. I sang it to Michael later. I was uber proud of myself for a four-line verse and five-line chorus in five days that came to me just because all of your words and lyrics floating around inspired me. It was probably a song I’ve heard before actually, and I just messed up the words. 🙂 I would never even sign up for this madness and you guys do it every year and with songs that are golden every time. If you guys don’t put out a 5in5 love song album before I die, I’m blaming the children. Love this! Love you guys. sb

    June 14
  4. Eleanor said:

    Yay!! Thanks for the blooper reel!

    June 14
  5. Let’s be honest. There were some words at the top, but we all came for the bloopers. Glad you made it! We were on staycation!

    June 14

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