Monday, September 1, 2008

Writing Tip Monday

Good morning!

Today, by royal decree (and an overactive imagination!) - and for all future Mondays - I will have a post here called Writing Tip Monday.

Today's tip is on an easy way to get your writing started for the day. This is particularly helpful if you are staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen. You know what you are there to just can't seem to get it going.


That's the traditional, school-style haiku. In this exercise, you use just 17 syllables in which to be completely concise when making a point. Five words, then seven words and then five words again. Is it 'counting'? Of course. The point is not to write beautiful, elegant haiku, but rather, jump-start yourself and your writing.

But first, some backstory...

Several years ago, I started writing another blog in another blogosphere (TheUnseenUndine - at Xanga.) It was a lot of fun, and I got to 'meet' other writers by blog-networking. One day, in that same blogworld, I discovered a new blog which was just getting off the ground, called the Daily Haiku. Each day, the owner of the site would have a different flavor (twofer 'ku for Tuesday or all 'W' Wednesday) along with some challenge or theme. Those who participated could write their efforts in the 'comments' section of the blog. It caught on quickly and became a bit hit, at least for a few years. Sadly, the site is now defunct.

Now, this wasn't true haiku (or even senryu or zappai - well, maybe zappai), obviously, although many 'ku writers did labor to produce something akin to it. Haiku purists mostly hated the site, but it really had a purpose, because it got writers to think - and put the words down.

Now, I'm no Basho. Not even close. So, realizing I lacked the subtlety for that sublime Zen art form, I decided to go for humor and storytelling, which is a standard in my particular brand of poetry. (It's why I go by Lightverse here. Get it?) A couple of other writers on that board also did the humor/word play thing - and it became a kind of game with us. A challenge in its own right.

But the main thing is, it also got me writing, right off in the AM. And, that's a good thing, right?

So - find a clever word (Worthless Word for the Day is a great source!) or interesting news story (try Yahoo Weird News or Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird or Fark for example) - or write all 17 syllables without the use of the letter 'e'. Or give yourself a challenge like describing a beach or a tree or an old house or someone you saw the previous day, just in passing. The possibilities are endless - or at least, 17 syllables long.


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