Hampton Roads Writers


This is a five-day exercise that will help you with haiku

Write down the month

Next to the month write another single word that names or indicates some feature of today (sun, rain, moon, clouds, wind, whatever)

Now look out the window, or go outside

Without thinking too much (or at all, if you can manage) write a short description of any detail you see (any thing and/or any action)

Look in another direction. Write a short description of any detail you see (thing and/or action)

Turn your head and write down another detail

Do this at least 7 more times

When you have at least ten little descriptive phrases, none of them longer than a single short sentence, go to a comfortable spot and choose one of your phrases and write part of it on the line immediately beneath the line you wrote when you first started.

Write the rest of your chosen phrase on the line beneath that one

Skip a line

Write down the same month and the same detail of today you used on the first line

Write part of one of the remaining phrases on the next line

Write the rest of that phrase on the following line

Do this until you run out of phrases

This is only an exercise, not a test. Do not pass judgments on yourself, on your performance, or on what you have written. Do the best you can. AND DO NOT EDIT, just write.

November trees
shadows stretching all the way
across the lawn

November trees
a white car speeding along
the river road

Put this sheet of paper with at least ten little balls of words out of sight. You do not need to think about them at all for a while.

Tomorrow, repeat this exercise. Completely. Don't think.

The day after tomorrow, repeat this exercise. Don't think.

On the fourth day, after you complete your exercise, take out the first sheet and read it several times (three or four is enough), and put it away.

On the fifth day, read the second sheet.

In one week, a single week, just seven days, you will have taught yourself more about haiku than it's possible for anyone else to teach you.


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