09 Mar 2021

Do 7 haikus make one weak?

On the first of March, 2021, I started something that I had been planning for quite a while: the My Alchemy 30 day writing challenge. #MyAlchemy30DayWritingChallenge.


Armed with nothing but a belief that everyone can and ‘should’ write, and the desire to encourage every pen to make contact with paper, I had painstakingly worked on my writing challenge. 30 days, 30 writing prompts, 30 emails that pushed, poked, prodded, persuaded and powered people on to write. To write a little. Write a lot. But write.

#WhyIWrite #MyAlchemy30DayWritingChallenge

We are barely 7 days into the challenge (on 7th March, 2021) and the response, even with a small select group, has been heartening.

Powered by the love for words

People I know, people I don’t know, people who love writing, people who hesitate – all have joined the challenge and are contributing to a group energy that is just powered by the love of words – the love of reading and writing. There’s sharing, commenting, encouraging and great camaraderie among the writers and the readers. Characters (like Squeezie, the ball python) are becoming larger than life – and friends – and food and medicines are discussed on the same page as our love for writing, songs and stories!

A heady feeling. #MyAlchemy30DayWritingChallenge

If I had misapprehensions when I was creating the prompts, my darkest doubts have been dispelled in a snap. Each prompt has taken its own life in the hands of the eager writers and transmogrified into myriad shapes and forms and ideas. For me it’s a heady feeling like going up a roller coaster and then coming down with a ‘wheeee’!

…and that’s how I came up with the Haiku

By Day 3 of #MyAlchemy30DayWritingChallenge, I felt consumed with guilt. Why? Because I was urging everyone to write while I wasn’t writing myself. From extreme guilt came masochism. I’d set myself a more difficult challenge. And that’s how I came up with Haikus.

The rigour of the structure… sets me free

With the stringent structure of  5-7-5 syllables to the 3 lines in a Haiku encapsulating a thought, I have now taken on every prompt in the challenge and let it piece itself into a Haiku. The rigour of the tight structure constrains me, then sets me free. The idea that at the end it’s one thought, makes me twist and turn every tiny little lazy cell of my brain, getting it to work. The final outcome may look effortless, but it has been poked and prodded and counted, re-counted and re-re-counted for every syllable it brings to mind. It’s wonderful.

Did the Haiku make me weak?

So did I take the easy way out? Did the Haiku make me weak? On the contrary. The discipline of the Haiku has invigorated me. The minimalism has challenged me and while I am only 7 days into the challenge, I am hoping I manage all 30 with what it demands of me – an idea contained in 17 simple syllables. I’m not getting it right every time. There’s a huge scope for learning, for improvement. But I’m flexing a different writing muscle. New muscles that are now sore but working out the muscles for sure!

Sharing the 7 Haikus in this post. Which did you like? And didn’t? Do let me know.

Going forward, I am thinking, a 30DayHaikuChallenge is not a bad idea! What do you think?


Want to know more about My Alchemy?

My Alchemy: the online writing workshop.
New batches starting on 17th March 2021.
Wednesdays. 7pm to 9pm IST
For more information, write to me at alchemy@abacusyellow.com

#Haikus #MyAlchemy #MyAlchemyOnWednesdays #MyAlchemy30DayWritingChallenge #FriendlyVoiceMessages