On Writing: A Haiku While Folding Laundry

On writing: a haiku while folding laundry

Laundry-inspired creative writing, who would have ever thought? Over the past month I have found myself really stuck to get words down on the page. My usual morning writing rituals have completely stalled. I have not been able to muster the motivation or head space to reach deep into the places that writing tends to be such a helpful outlet for me. There have been many days that have felt overwhelming. I’ve been having a lot of big emotions. The disconnect between this season of uncertainty and my ability to use writing as a way to process has hit me harder than I would have imagined.

When things feel really big or overwhelming for me, one of the things I try to do is to start with something small that I can do. I tend to reach for fundamental things that ground me or help me find balance in my life and emotions. These are things like getting enough sleep and eating a healthy breakfast. Drinking a big glass of water before I reach for my first cup of coffee. Showering and shaving my legs and going outside whenever I can to breathe fresh air.

Then I try to find small ways to feel productive.

Even the most mundane or ordinary tasks offer a sense of satisfaction and helps me stay grounded when I feel overwhelmed. I always come back to that old saying “control the controllables.” Small things like making my bed, emptying the dishwasher, clearing off my desk, or folding a load of laundry can feel like accomplishments on high stress days. These things give me a strange little boost of energy.

I wondered if I could find a way to apply these same kind of baby steps to my writing life. Callie Feyen’s 40-Days of Writing the Everyday prompts were really sparking my inspiration in early March. I was really on a roll meeting my March goal of writing every day. Then the pandemic hit and every aspect of life as we know it got turned upside down. I spent about 2 full weeks without writing at all. Not my usual morning pages, not blog posts, no daily prompts or anything for that matter. I just couldn’t muster the energy.

On writing mini-series blog post: life feels upside down, but starting small is the way to go to find ways to flex your creative muscles again.

Then one night, while mindlessly scrolling well past bedtime, I came across Nicole Gulotta’s 30-days of Haiku challenge on Instagram. It really sparked my creative energy in a way I hadn’t felt in weeks. Haikus seemed like perfect way to start small with writing again after a lull in my creativity. To get moving again. I had been writing about everyday life back in early March with prompts from that original writing challenge. I wouldn’t say I had anything from them to phone home about but each one was something. Writing those prompts was a good exercise, definitely good practice.

I’ve learned that writing requires practice.

After weeks of not writing, I had gotten out of shape. Lost my touch, so to speak. This is something that happens to soccer players after periods of time when they don’t touch a soccer ball! I’m familiar with this on a physical level as an athlete but I have never experienced it on a creative level that I was able to recognize before. Starting small with haikus was a great first small step to get myself back to gently flexing those creative muscles again.

So I started with a haiku about late night scrolling and then wrote another while folding laundry.

Since that late night on Instagram, I haven’t run any creative 5Ks or even really made it around the “block” (metaphorically speaking) without sucking wind. But I have picked up my pen again and written some small things: a few Haikus, another couple of prompts from the every day, and I’ve returned to my morning writing rituals. And all of those creative baby steps feel like progress.


On writing mini series: A Haiku while folding laundry by Eliza B.

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