Haiku have recently become a new addition in my writing life.
It wasn’t until I had committed to contributing something to the awesome Creative Rehab zine – and not quite knowing what that particular ‘something’ would be – that I decided to give writing haiku a go.
If you’d like to read some of my haiku poems (along with many other awesome submissions) you should head on over to the Creative Rehab Patreon and subscribe today. Once you’ve read this post though. Obvs.
A haiku poem normally consists of 17 syllables – broken up into 5, 7, and 5 syllables over 3 lines or phrases. Usually, the poems connect two ‘cutting’ ideas.
While traditional haiku poems aimed to invoke imagery of nature, modern and western haiku have given the green light to much broader subject matter that deviates from those traditional Japanese roots.
That said, modern haiku have remained faithful to the way that traditional haiku juxtapose two ideas, thoughts or images.
For me, writing haiku poems has been a way to practice cutting the waffle from my writing.
Writing haiku has been a great way of enhancing my perspective when it comes to prioritising what content is important in my copy, and ultimately what can be given the chop.
It’s difficult not to be hyper aware of including only the most important details when you’ve only got 3 lines to play with.
So apart from that, what do copywriting and haiku poetry really have in common?
…and how can writing haiku make you a better copywriter?
An essential part of copywriting is being able to clearly convey a message to other people – usually as simply, concisely and efficiently as possible.
That way, at a bare arsed minimum, your audience leaves having understood what you’ve been talking about.
The same can be said for haiku poetry.
When you only have 17 syllables, you have to get to the point. And quickly too.
If you don’t, you run the risk of leaving your reader confused and scratching their head – perhaps even missing your point entirely.
And if you try and cram too many ideas in without any room for exploration of the details, your reader might have been pulled in so many directions that they didn’t even begin to understand in the first place.
Both are obviously terrible and should be avoided at all costs.
While the purpose of copywriting and haiku poetry may be slightly different on a literal, surface level – one typically being to persuade, and one typically being to entertain – the way you approach constructing them is surprisingly similar.
Firstly, you – as the writer – have to get your reader’s attention. And then hold it.
In both copywriting and in haiku poetry, this is often achieved by surprising the reader – in a way that cleverly plays with the audience’s expectations or preconceived ideas.
Either that, or you achieve this by relating to your reader. You know, get on their level.
To be truly effective though, you have to create a strong image in the reader’s mind by telling them a story.
Arguably, doing this when writing copy can be more complex than when writing haiku because you’ll have larger word counts and things like calls to action and converting to consider.
But regardless whether you’re writing a haiku or copy, you have to have a fully realised point or idea that’s been clearly thought out; you have to consider your target audience; and above all, you have to be clear in your message.
So when it comes down to it, they’re really not that different after all.
I’ll leave you with this:
The poet. Are they the same?
Closer than you think.
Let me just finish on a massive thank you for reading this #Write52 post. It has been awesome to have you here.
As well as that, #Write52 now has a snazzy Twitter account – which you can find here.