Happy new year! 🎉 It's January 1, 2023. Every year, I try to write a post on the first day of the year to reflect on my life during the previous year and note down some of my wishes and thoughts for the new year.
In 2018, I decided to write a daily post containing my reflections on a the daily passage of the book "The Daily Stoic" by Ryan Holiday. It was a wonderful experience. Since then, I'd been looking for a similar challenge but couldn't find anything that was inspiring enough. And then, it just occured to me: haikus!
But before I get into that, first things first...
Last year's been a rough one, full of lights and shadows. On the one hand, it's been the most challenging and difficult year of my life (and I don't say that lightly).
It's not been an easy journey for any of us, startups founders. I had to replace my chief of customer support, CTO, and our COO -after almost ruining my business- on the same year. I've had to work harder than ever in my life to keep my business running against the post-pandemic troubles, the war in Ukraine, and the global recession.
Fortunately, I also have a lot to be proud of. One of my friends had to lay off more than half of his team. That's not an isolated case. Massive layouts have been the norm in 2022. Not even tech giants such as Twitter, Facebook, or Amazon, have been spared.
We are a bootstrapped startup (which means, no money to burn), and yet we have managed to survive without laying off anyone. Not only that, but we have managed to curb expenses and get back to profitability in November. That's an achievement we should be proud of.
2023 is going to be a year of changes. Both personal and professional. Last year was exhausting, yes, but also enlightening. Every year since I launched Companio, I have had to up my game, learn fast, and adapt to an ever-changing and challenging new year.
I won't dare to say that I am ready for this new year. I now know you are never ready. But I also know what I want now, and I am not willing to go through more bullshit to get there.
That does not mean it's going to be easy. It just means I am going straight for it, whatever it takes. And I won't take no prisoners.
A Daily Haiku
So as you know I've been looking for a new writing challenge since I finished the Daily Stoic. I didn't want to do something repetitive or extremely lame like "A daily business thought", and I couldn't find anything that will ignite my imagination.
Then I read about haikus and I said, "Hey, now that's an interesting challenge!".
What's a Haiku? It is a short form of poetry, originally from Japan, consisting on three short phrases in a 5/7/5 metric (where the numbers refer to the amount of syllabes per phrase).
I will stick to the English Haiku and follow the following rules:
- one haiku every day
- a contemplative or wistful tone and an impressionistic brevity
- no superfluous words, but avoiding a "telegram style" syntax
- an emphasis on imagery over exposition
- avoidance of metaphor and similes
- non-rhyming lines
- a three-line format with 17 syllables arranged in a 5–7–5 pattern.
- little or no punctuation or capitalization, except that cuts are sometimes marked with dashes or ellipses and proper nouns are usually capitalized.
I've chosen not to focus solely on typical Haiku themes such as nature or the seasons or justapoxing two concepts, even when trying to use them as much as possible.
I will also use the "chain method" to count syllabes, so that concatenating words together may reduce the number of syllabes. What do I mean?
Take for example, "Like a grumpy old man".
Counting syllabes separately, this sentence has 6 syllabes:
- Like: 2
- A: 1
- Grumpy: 2
- Old: 1
- Man: 1
However, together, it's just 5, as "grumpy" and "old" fuse together:
Perhaps this is not the most grammatically-correct way of doing it (I am not a native English speaker anyway), but I like it, and adds an extra level of challenge (as I need to consider the surrounding words and the overal sound of the sentence).
Why Haikus? Well, it is something relatively short to write, but takes some time to come up with one. It forces you to reflect on your day looking for inspiration, and it requires both commitment and creativity to come up with something new every day. It is also a nice progression from my microblogging pills experiment.
It looked like the perfect challenge for the new year.
The Daily Haiku Of Jan 1: Clouds.
The rain falls gently,
Clouds piled up like grey mountains.
The world, my window.