Schreibtipp #6:How to trick a writer’s enemy: lack of time

This is the last week of holiday for everybody who lives in the beautiful region of lower Austria. With school many things start to resurface that were tried to be forgotten: the stress of having all the right things at the right time, the pressure of assignments that you are sure to write at the last minute possible and the overwhelming feeling you get when you see how many tests you are to pass in the next two weeks.

How on earth can a writer, a thinker, a creative soul survive when they don’t have any time? Everything you write should be a masterpiece, you can’t waste your time on experimenting, on hitting the keys without a plan because you don’t have it, you don’t have time.

But there is a way.

The solution is the shortest poem in the world: The Haiku.

The haiku originates from Japan and has a history that is probably very interesting, but sounds rather complicated on Wikipedia, so I’ll tell you what I know and what I learned about it in an unprofessional matter and whoever feels inclined to tell me everything that I’ve wrongly understood, please enlighten me in the comments.

So here’s what you need to know about the Haiku:

  • It consists of 17 syllables.
  • These syllables are divided in three lines withc each 5-7-5 syllables.
  • The Haiku is tightly bound with calligraphy, meaning that they are often visualized in illustrations. I think that is pretty wonderful. They show us what the words mean by using the letters and shaping them. Here’s a picture of a famous haiku by Kobayashi Issa:


The haiku goes translated like this:

The old pond;

A frog jumps in-

The sounds of water

(The syllables aren’t correct, as it is translated)

  • Haikus are often used to describe occurences in nature or life that happen every day but go unnoticed. For example, the falling of leaves indicate autumn and a melancholy feeling.
  • If the haiku is too short for you, then fear not! There is a longer form, called the „tanka“. It consists of 31 syllables and 5 lines, and the principle is 5-7-5-7-7.


Why are you telling us this, Sophie? Well, I’m telling you that when school and stress and pressure and overwhelming feelings start, you do not have to say good-bye to writing. Look outside your window, at a tree, and write a haiku. While walking or driving to school, use the time to count the syllables with your fingers. Yes, it’s not much, but it is accepted literature!

Here are some of my haiku, just so you get an idea:

Birds lovely singing

Between a thick web of leaves

Worlds undiscovered


Wonderfully flows

Endless bottomless water

In between bright stars


The mist of the fog

Mysteriously contains

The beauty of day


And some German ones as well:

Schilf wiegt sich im Wind

Libellenflügel schillern

Im Licht des Mondes


Die Luft ist erfüllt

Mit dem Summen und Brummen

Zwischen den Blüten


Gleißend reflektiert

Die kalte Wintersonne

Im Herz des Eises


I hope this brief summary has helped you a little to understand this kind of poetry.

Enjoy tricking time!


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