Writing Prompts: How Can Haiku Help Your Writing?

Have you heard of haiku? Maybe you remember it from your language arts classes at school.

I've seen it. I've written some upon occasion outside of academic necessity for a grade. Recently, author Jan Morrill taught a workshop that helped me hone my poetry writing skills  and opened my eyes to a variety of ways to use Haiku to help my other writing.

What is Haiku?

Haiku is a Japanese poetic form that traditionally has 17 syllables across 3 lines. The typical pattern is 5-7-5. haiku are generally about nature.

I remember that much from my English classes, which is what my school district called language arts.

Beyond the Nature 5-7-5

Beyond the brevity, I learned from Jan Morrill that haiku should capture a moment. While nature inspires much haiku, anything in life can find its way into one of those tight little gems.

"Haiku captures a moment."

- Jan Morrill, author of The Red Kimono, Life: Haiku by Haiku, and other books

Haiku as Writing Prompt

Jan Morrill has a blog called Life: Haiku by Haiku. in which she shares her haiku about happenings in life. She created a book (with the same name)  of haiku from the poems on her blog.


Memory can spark you to write your own haiku.

Morrill's post about the loss of cherished dogs made me cry.

Rest well, dear friend
By my side so many years
My heart lost its wag

    - by Jan Morrill. See original source

Memories of my second guide dog Molly inspired this haiku at the writing workshop:

Molly Flagtail lying on my mom's paisley print couch

Soft eyes lose their spark

betrayed by an aging body

love lasts. Fur does not

     - by Ronda Del Boccio

Turn a Poem into a Story

Another great idea Morrill shared in her haiku workshop was to use a haiku as a story writing prompt.

Find a haiku  online or in a book and write a scene or story it inspires.

Picture into Haiku

If you want to try this with a story, check out Friday Fictioneers, which provides a photo to use in order to craft a 100 word flash fiction story.  I don't do this often since seeing what's ina picture is often a challenge for my mostly blind eyes.

Look at a photograph or painting and write a haiku based on it. I've written reflections, stories  or scenes based on a picture, but I had never done this with haiku until Morrill's workshop.

This can help get the creative juices flowing when you need a break or are having trouble getting started.

I took a photo of sunbeams kissing winter morning frost on the grass. Here is the haiku it inspired.

Sunbeams kiss frosty winter grass

Sun kissed winter morn

awakening from slumber

warmth thaws frosty blades

     - by Ronda Del Boccio

Thanks to Jan Morrill for these writing ideas and prompts. I hope they are helpful to you.

Jan Morrill Across the Web

The Red Kimono by Jan Morrill

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