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Gene Myers.haiku column

The Haiku Society of America is pleased to host this ongoing column.

.Haiku: a place to share tools available to haiku writers and fellow haiku fans (like how to use Twitter, Facebook and Scribd for building community, self-publishing and marketing). The column will also feature interviews, blog spotlights and occasional multimedia presentations.

Gene Myers <poetgene@gmail.com>


2017 .haiku columns

.haiku column number 36 • 3-7-2017

by Gene Myers <poetgene@gmail.com>

How to lose yourself writing haiku

Imagine having a set of instructions to make writing haiku a spiritual experience. That is what I hope to accomplish here. Monks in different disciplines mastered the art of losing oneself long ago.

They saw repetitive practice as a doorway to a spiritual experience that can be achieved in a variety of ways. It doesn't matter if the practitioner is hammering nails, sweeping the floor or playing an instrument. Any activity that allows you to lose track of time qualifies.

Many years later, in another time and place, mental health experts caught on to its benefits and called the self-improvement process flow. If you would like to research this further, that is the word to Google.

Here are some basic guidelines to get you started. According to experts, underlying all of the following steps is the assumption that one knows the task at hand well. (You can't lose yourself in a task that requires concentration at every moment.) If you need to stop the process to read
sheet music, you won't achieve flow by playing the piano.

Becoming an expert is laying the groundwork. With that established, the first ingredient is inspiration. It's something that will draw you in.

Next make sure to have a sufficient hideaway – for me, it's my office. When I close my door I don't hear the TV. You need somewhere that feels encouraging. I like to be free from distractions. But others may find different environments induce creativity like being outside watching kids play or having music on in the background.

Once I've had my spark of inspiration, done my research and sat down to write, there's only one thing left – the fun part. When ideas are flowing, I can't type fast enough. Although I am the author, I can't wait to see what comes out.

This is the actual experience of "flow." It's what people mean when they say they are "in the zone." As writing comes to its crescendo, there's an "AHA!" moment for me. This is when the epiphany is revealed. Although it may seem like the epiphany is written for the benefit of readers, I have to admit, it isn't. The epiphanies are for me.

What I enjoy most about writing is the learning process that is necessary to do it. The "AHA!" moment is when the knowledge gained falls out onto the page. Flow requires a final product.

It can be the purr of a rebuilt engine, or the final note of a composition — as long as you can step back and see what you've created.

If you're lucky, you'll also spot something to improve upon for next time.

• • •


Is there something you would like to see in a column? Email me at <poetgene@gmail.com>.

• .haiku column number 36 • 3-7-2017 •

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