Haiku Writing Guide

A haiku usually falls in the category of short poems. It is a three-line poem that follows the structure of 5-7-5 structure. It draws its inspiration from a poignant experience, a moment of beauty, or nature.

If this is the form of poetry you have settled on, here is a guide for writing a haiku.

1. Brainstorming Ideas for Writing A Haiku

Here are a few ways that you may get ideas for writing a Haiku

Go for A Walk

In many cases, objects in the natural world like rocks, mountains, or flowers inspire haikus. A walk in the park or a hike in the woods will get you ideas for a haiku. By observing nature, you will know what to write for a haiku.

Focus on A Season

Seasons such as summer or winter also can make up haikus. Also, focus on natural events that happen at a certain time of the year and focus on that particular season’s specific details.

Select A Subject

This may be either a person or an object as an inspiration for the haiku. Write about your pet dog or your childhood toy and try as much as you can to focus on them.

Read Examples of Haikus

Reading haikus by well-known examples of the form gives you a better understanding of the genre. Haiku examples are available online and in books. Read the haikus about objects and nature. Haikus you may read are:

  • Haikus by American Poet Richard Wright
  • Haikus by Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, etc.

2. Writing the Haiku

Follow the line and syllable

Ensure the first line has 5 syllables, the second one 7 syllables, and the last one 7 syllables, giving 17 syllables. A haiku does not necessarily have to rhyme or follow a specific rhythm as long as it follows the syllable count.

Use Images and Descriptions

Use concrete images that a reader can relate to. In place of similes and metaphors, use unique details to describe the subject and avoid clich├ęs. Ensure that you also write the poem in the present tense for poetry contests.

End with A Surprising Line

The last line of the haiku should be intriguing and should leave the reader hanging.

3. Polishing the Haiku

After writing the draft, follow the below procedures to polish the haiku.

Read It Out Loud

Read the haiku out loud to hear how it sounds. The lines should flow easily and follow the 5-7-5 syllables. Remove any choppy lines.

Show your haiku to other friends and family, and use the feedback to better it.

Centre The Haiku on The Page

Ensure the haiku forms a diamond shape when you place it at the center of the page. You may also add a short title at the top of the haiku, such as dog or winter. But your haiku don’t need to have a title.


Haikus are suitable for beginner poets who aspire to enter free poetry competitions. They are short and do not take much time of the novice poets.

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