… even if you’ve never written a haiku in your life.
Or if you’ve only ever written in 5-7-5.
No, really, National Haiku Writing Month is a thing. And it’s approaching fast. February, the shortest month of the year, is reserved for the shortest poetry genre in the world. The goal: Write one haiku a day for 28 days. This annual event began in 2011, and since has received over 1,600 likes on Facebook. Each day of February, the creator Michael Dylan Welch will provide a prompt over the web to help get those wheels turning. Many choose to post on the Facebook page or their blogs so others can follow along, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose to pick up a notebook and pen. The important thing is to be writing.
As someone who has been participating since 2011, I can give you all kinds of reasons to hop on the bandwagon. For the sake of time and brevity, here’s 10:
1. Haiku are more challenging than you may think. They can be a great exercise in brevity, strong word choice, editing, and attentiveness. Do you think you have what it takes to capture a moment in one breath?
2. Haiku folk are super friendly. Sure, we have our resident crazies (who doesn’t?), but overall, you’ll find that if you’re sharing your work, you’ll receive supportive feedback. (Just make sure you first read the rules for posting on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook page!) Don’t you want to make new friends?
3. Even if you decide not to share on Facebook, your blog, or anywhere else, wouldn’t you feel accomplished to say at the end of the month you had written 28 poems?
4. Haiku are travel friendly! Write them anywhere—at your desk, in a park, at a cafe, in a meeting, on your way to work (only if you’re not driving, please). And they’ll fit in the smallest of spaces such as along the margins of your planner, on a napkin, or the back of a receipt. If you’re more of the digital sort, they’re easy to type out on your phone or tablet.
5. Last year Jessica Tremblay of Old Pond Comics drew and wrote a comic for all 28 days.
6. As challenging as haiku may be, anyone can write one. And in any language! Maybe you want to try NaHaiWriMo en français?
7. Being able to say you write haiku will make you the cool kid at all the parties.
8. It takes dedication to develop a daily writing habit. Starting with one haiku a day can be great practice. Flex those writing muscles!
9. Writing haiku makes you more aware of your surroundings. You’ll start to notice things you may have passed by without thought. Find the extraordinary in the ordinary, and appreciate little moments. Doing so can be pretty relaxing. Being less stressed sounds good, right?
10. My birthday is in February. Your participation and/or attempt would make an awesome present.
Sold? Ready to get involved? Checking out NaHaiWriMo’s participation information is a good place to start. There’s all kinds of good stuff about the Facebook page, how to get started, and how to write haiku. Additionally if you’re curious about the history and phenomenon itself, check out this overview and interview I conducted with Michael Dylan Welch after the first NaHaiWriMo in 2011.
You’ll be able to find my haiku at Yay Words! all February long. Be sure to stop by and say hi. Or hai.
NaHaiWriMo logo used with permission and courtesy of Michael Dylan Welch.