I belong to a list on Twitter called #Haikuchallenge. Each day they offer a single word, and we all try to give it our best shot. I guess the first bit of the puzzle is 'association' to all sorts of things in my mind. I just let the mind run, while drinking my coffee first thing, and then build from there.
I do try to keep things 'traditional' in the sense of using 5-7-5 as my format. This provides a 'structure and a 'discipline'. However I also try to be traditional in the sense of 'simpleness' or 'everydayness'. I guess this is driven by some of the original Japanese writers (for instance Basho who wrote "Old pond/Frog leaping/ Splash". It is so 'duh', but so amusing, and challenges us to be aware of ordinariness in our daily lives - hence the mindful quality of writing Haiku.
I guess I also have some 'categories' - not that I intentionally write for them, but more I am aware of contexts - every day, family, intimate relationships, psychiatry, meaning of life. Within this, I am trying to build a repertoire of Haiku about Love and Sex - 'Sensual Haiku'. I am currently authoring a book drawing all of my sensual haiku together.
But my final 'category' is just that it is fun. It is such a joy to play with words, try to get them into some sort of order, use the discipline to control the words, but perhaps have a simple surprise at the end.
Today's word was 'itch'. I wrote: