Failure, Writing & Haiku

Failure“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

I’ve set new writing goals for myself. 30 minutes a day every day. Three days a week on poetry, four days a week on prose — the current work in progress. No matter what, without fail, and other writing doesn’t count for those thirty minutes.

Yesterday, or by the time of this post, the day before I wrote this post, which is not one and the same because I work on scheduling posts rather than waiting until I am under the gun. I don’t deal well with that pressure although a good deadline is great.


Yesterday was focused on poetry. I’ve been working on a poem for a while and it’s not coming together. The lack of progress, my failure to successfully finish the piece so I could edit it, started to work on my internal chatter. “You’re not good enough.” “You’re a joke.” “You can’t do this.” I refer to this crap as, “Bridge Troll Dialogue.” (My childhood story is the Norwegian tale. See the link.) The negativity interferes with my goals.

One way for me to combat the poison is through various mantras. Your mileage may vary with this, and it all may be too woo-woo for you. Find what works and use it ruthlessly. My current mantra calms my emotional seas every time I read it.

“Just getting the words down on paper, opens me up to everything else.” ~ Maria Powers

The other way for me to beat back at the chatter and the fear is Haiku.

Tiny poems, three lines, 5/7/5 syllabic pattern. There’s more to them than just that, but for my purpose, I focus only on the basics of the form. The very essence of this form is what stops the blocks. Poetry may not work for you, but perhaps a short-short story will, or writing a scene that’s been playing in your head, or whatever gets you writing again.

The items below are the five Haiku that unfolded from being stymied on the other piece.

It’s all good.

Tree swept highways run
endless. Shore to shore — burnt tar
perfumes summer suns.

Oranges and cloves hint
at holiday spice filled dreams.
Heat slaps you awake.

Habits force your life
to open expectations.
Endlessly freeing.

Inspiration stabs
against the black cavern light.
Practice slams genius.

Clouds scuttle across
the ocean colored skyline.
Love blinds each of us.

What I know for sure is that each of us creates our own lives through what we see, what we do, what we act upon. We do this intentionally or accidentally. We decide if failure stops us or is just a curve on the road to success.

I choose success. Now back to my goals. Today is thirty minutes on the current work in progress.

“Enthusiasm is the electricity of life. How do you get it? You act enthusiastic until you make it a habit.”
Gordon Parks

PoetM.L. Seager is my poet alter-ego. I’ve been writing poetry since I was eleven. It’s my gateway drug into writing, and it’s where I feel the most at home. For me, poetry is the snapshot, the shot of a moment in time, a captured fleeting second of life that speaks eternally across the universe. It is where I go to be renewed again.


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