Thursday, November 17, 2016

Writing Tips: Writer’s block and how to unblock it before you give up and go get a job as an accountant.




Being able to get the stuff running through my head keeping me awake onto paper or into a word document is not always easy. Sometimes it’s just words floating round the skull, escorted by disjointed witty phrases that don’t make much sense. I have got small notebooks filled with such words, ideas and phrases. I don't look through them much ever since I found out that my writer's block does not come from lack of ideas. It is mainly external.
Other times there is nothing there so I have to get it elsewhere.

 Pack up and Go
 I have researched  my family history and found out that, my great great great grand mothers were nomads. That being the case, I have inherited restlessness. I get tired of being in one place. I get needles and pins in my legs and I just have to wrap it up all and find a different land to pitch my tent. 
I only need one luggage

If I am on one place for a long time, I stop writing. Which is bad for me.  I get moody and can be worse than a wire brush. A change of environment is good for a writer. You get to interact with different people, face different challenges and write from a different perspective.

Go to the park and stare blankly into space

 I like quiet. And big open spaces.  When I go to the park, I don’t write anything on location. But what being there staring blankly at the sky does to my mind is it links up the ideas. All the zigzag lines straighten up and I can’t wait to get home to have all the ideas down on paper.
-Staring blankly into space- is best practiced in the park, when no one is looking.
 My mother, when she found me staring blankly into space at 18 was convinced that my mind was getting slower. It worried her. She said I would become foolish.
But how to explain to someone that your brain is not in a coma, it is working harder than when you look alert. Stare blankly into space away from the human population.

Go to the Gallery
 I used to spend a lot of time in galleries and art exhibitions. Now I don’t have the time. 
That statement is only half true. I lack proper organisation and the internet has made me lazy.
 I now only stalk artists online. Especially sketch artists. Something about raw pencil drawings inspires me, how a piece of art appears before it  has been clothed in color or ink. The thing with art is, once you become used to a particular artist, you get to learn what their style is and can tell when they have changed it, improved it, and it makes you want to improve your own.
my friend Aaron does beautiful brush lettering

Do something different
Something you would never do on your own initiative. Like going for a photo shoot. If you have the energy. 

 or take a hike
I went for a photo shoot last month and had much fun the first hour, but two hours later I was finished, done, ready to go home and sleep for the next two days. I now know why there is an age limit to models.
I like pictures, but not posing for them, so such an arrangement is really trying. But there is art behind the process of making a picture outdoors. When they set up their gadgets, and try to work with the sun to make the lighting just right. And seeing models pose in ways you only see in the magazines, how they can hold a pose for as long as the photographer wants, and seeing the result of the hard work later.

Get on a bus
And eavesdrop. I get such satisfaction when I get into a matatu and everybody is talking to each other, or someone is on a long phone call talking to their bff about their mother-in-law. Try this, when you get on the bus, sit near the front. There is always conversation going on between one front passenger and the driver, the conductor and the driver, or the conductor and a passenger who is riding for free because he is a driver on another bus but is going to town today for the safaricom open day to buy his daughter a smart phone. If there is a traffic policeman getting a ride there will be conversation, Sometimes I get home very amused. I still have one conversation I listened to in 2004, scripted.
why so serious lah?

 It is also on the bus you get characters for your stories. Sit at the back and observe. Bus rides will never be boring again, even in traffic.

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