Writer’s block isn’t just the concept of not being able to strangle out words from the blank page, it’s also about getting stuck mid-sentence or mid-project. It can feel debilitating and borderline upsetting – knowing you need to get that blog post written, that email sent out to your list, but the words feel clunky and just won’t come when you call them. Flick through any tome for creative writing, and one of the first pieces of advice is to write more. Writers write, it’s as simple (and as freaking hard at times!) as that. Journal, stream of consciousness writing – just write! If like me, you like a little challenge, you like to keep things spicy, why not go for something a bit different to get the writing flowing?


The incomparable Narissa Leung, she of Oz Lit Teacher fame, came along to one of my writing retreats where I caught her partaking in one of her New Year resolutions: 365 Days of Haiku. I was immediately smitten by the concept and pencilled it in as a to do on 1 January. You see, I love poetry, I read it by the bucketload and while I achieved high distinctions by completing two semesters of poetry as part of my Master of Arts (Professional Writing and Literature) I actually haven’t penned a poem myself since graduating. Quelle horruer! A haiku is a perfect way to dip my toes back into writing poetry, thanks to its relatively kind and gentle conventions. More on those later. 


So why the 1 January kick off for me, and not immediately? I was also deep in the second draft of my new business book, getting ready to publish my content planner and had a ton of big writing projects scheduled for my incredible clients. Let’s not mention my novel rewrite that was/is kicking around the periphery of life. I also loved that Riss was using a diary to record her haiku a day, so every day had its own entry. Holly likes a clean page, a bright shiny new year, the metaphor of this, and so 1 January appealed. 


I’d just bought myself an el cheapo day to a page diary when Riss published this piece explaining and celebrating her year of haikus. Go read it; I’ll wait. OK, bottom line is that beyond the joy it brought her, Riss found her writing improved markedly from this two minute practice of condensing the big and little moments of a day into seventeen syllables. 

Which brings me to conventions – as I said to Riss via text message, true to my strengths, given it’s been over fifteen years since I graduated I had to double check the conventions before I leapt in. I went straight to the master – Mary Kinzie in A Poet’s Guide to Poetry for guidance. I had a vague sense that there needed to be a contextual transition within the structure but I’ve since discovered that was Ezra Pound being fancy and let’s face it, a bit of a showoff. 


The convention is simple, really:


Five syllables

Seven syllables

Five syllables


Boom! Here’s a couple of haikus from January:


Home to clear the decks

Detritus of Christmas packed

I love a clean house. 


Lume, awash with light

Eighteenth century* France, now.

I want to walk there


*OK so this one depends on how you pronounce ‘century’ but I’m calling it as three syllables and I won’t be persuaded otherwise!


Whitney’s rise and fall

Overshadowed by ruckus

Drunken Irishmen


At the time of writing and publishing this piece, I haven’t skipped a day. In fact, my issue is writing multiple haikus over the course of the day and then deciding which one is the best encapsulation of both the day and what I want to remember. I’m bloody loving it! It’s flexing my creative writing muscles for the purpose of the sheer joy of word wrangling. 


Tell me, do you haiku? Between Riss and I hope you’re tempted. If you’d like another way to flex your writing muscles you might like, nay love, my 10 days to writing better challenge – let me know and I’ll shoot it through to you. 


I love writing about communications, writing, life in business and life in general! If there’s something specific you’d like me to cover in my writing, please shoot me an email or give me a buzz, and I’ll do my best to help, or address it in an upcoming blog post or on my social media platforms.

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