As a ‘shoshin’ person you are not yet set in any particular haiku way, style or rules. Such openness, responsiveness, flexibility and literary agility are one of the most important requisites of writing good haiku and should be maintained all through your haiku life;
‘Innocence’ must be the right word for representing this quality. Though I do not that easily be persuaded about the innocence of babies or children as it can be just the façade hiding things beneath which are only waiting to be developed later, that is another story. Children are often genius haiku writers. It is well to set aside ample time to ponder upon why.
This is a Zen teaching but it can be applied to almost all other human endeavours. We tend to be busy gathering information, accumulating knowledge and taking others’ ideas and opinions. Thus our mind is normally over-cluttered, unable to think for ourselves. Our mind becomes saturated, cluttered, fuddled, clouded, muddled, dismayed and confused. No more needs to be said. However, let me quote a good account of this from Stanford M. Forrester’s paper read at the World Haiku Festival in India in 2008, “…Another obstacle to beginner’s mind and being on the haiku path, is a cluttered mind, as I’ve just mentioned. In Zen there is the importance of seeing. Seeing clearly. This is so in haiku. Writing about what one sees can never be embellished. It must be true. You must see without obstacles. How can one see directly if they have clutter blocking their view. When the mind is cluttered it is like a bloated stomach during a large meal. You don’t really taste your food, you miss the simple intricacies of certain dishes, the conversation around the table, the lighting, the kindness of the host and hostess. Without a clear mind so much is missed. So a beginner’s mind is empty, and it is not filled with clutter…” (Beginner’s Mind and the Haiku Path )
This is an original point where something starts. Adam and Eve’s Paradise Lost is a genten. J. S. Bach is a genten for the Baroque music, or, more arguably, for all music. Das Kapital is a genten for modern economy and economics. For haiku haikai-no-renga is a genten. So we should always, or at least once in a while, go back to it. Humour, for instance, was originally an important feature of haikai. Now it is all but lost. We must therefore go back to all sorts of genten of haiku as often and as diligently as we can, rather than clinging in a blinkered fashion to a very narrow and small doctrine of today.
When you begin to learn haiku most of you have others (experienced haiku poets) and haiku itself as a subject matter and none of yourself which is at the moment nothing as far as haiku is concerned, or, to use Zen simile, an ‘empty cup’. Some of you, as has been observed, would push your non-haiku ‘ego’ nevertheless, essentially a sure sign that you will go nowhere in haiku. If good things are poured into the cup then you drink them and the cup will become empty again. If, on the other hand, bad things are poured into your cup they will soon fill up your cup and start overflowing. You cannot drink quickly enough and the bit you have drunk would work as haiku poison anyway.