Celebrating East African Writing!

7 Ways to defeat Writer’s Block

Everyone always gets to a point when they are staring at the blank computer screen, the cursor laughing at them in its blinky way, and they do know what to write next. That is where brainstorming is one of the lifesavers for writers.  As such, here are seven ways that may or may not help.

1. Interview the character. Just sit down and talk to him or her and try to pick their brain.  Incredibly things come to light.

Draw a Picture 🙂

2. Draw a picture from the story. Now, I know that not everyone is an artist, but sometimes drawing a picture gives a new perspective and helps everything seem more clear. It might also give you unique ideas as to what to include.

3. Freewrite. I have never been a serious fan of freewriting but sometimes putting thoughts on paper can be enough to trigger an idea about where to go with the story. There have been times that it helped me more than anything else. And maybe it doesn’t have to be in paragraph format. I often times write outlines in bullet format.

4. Look from the other characters’ perspectives. Especially when writing a singular POV piece, we get so caught up in the POV character that we forget to think about the motivations of everyone else. A story is really everyone’s motivations all happening at the same time and triggering problems.

5. Write it out on index cards. I’ve never actually done this, but  I always imagine when there is a complicated thing the best thing to do is to write out my problems on index cards and play with them on a giant table. Since I can’t see the index cards too well, and because of the time, I never have.

6. Rewrite the whole scene. This seems daunting and frustrating, like going backwards, but sometimes the problem is a surrounding scene that didn’t quite click and sometimes, writers just have to throw it out and start again.

7. Set it aside for a few days. If all else fails, just let it rest. Sometimes the subconscious will work miracles for you. But remember: Come back.

The above note was shared with us from Always a Writer

And now to the Word of the Week.


1 a : the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance

1 b: a picture in perspective

2 a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed <places the issues in proper perspective>; also : point of view

2 b : the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <urge you to maintain your perspective and to view your own task in a larger framework — W. J. Cohen>

3 a : a visible scene; especially : one giving a distinctive impression of distance : vista

3 b : a mental view or prospect <gain a broader perspective on the situation>

4 : the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions.

As illustrated by the above dictionary meanings, it is possible that the words you use have several meanings. In this case, I would have liked Perspective to mean: how the narrator of the scene views what is happening and therefore shapes how they portray what they have seen to the reader. Also known as point of view, perspective can be shaped by distance and relation to the actual event and/or the character or narrators own feelings towards the scene at hand or their state of mind leading up to the event.

So please exercise caution in how you construct your sentences to avoid reader confusion.  Why don’t you send in your suggested word of the week to

And now to this week’s readings.

We begin with Made in Somalia by Waga Odongo: It is manufactured and disseminated from Eastlands. Its heart is here: creative vibrant and often deviant. Fast changing, unstructured aural graffiti. It awaits shipment to the suburbs. Its eagerly assimilated edicts usually delivered via the pervasive medium that is urban music.

Then a little bit of heartbreak at Naomi Kamau’s For the Children of this Land?: The desire to become a teacher and writer, made him wake up everyday and search for the best colleges and universities in Kenya. The Martyr College of East Africa did not offer a degree in Education, but the Presbyterian Joiners University offered the Course and was well known for its standards.

A little loss of faith in Jack Nganga’s Science vs Religion: No one can confidently paint the situation that we shall encounter after we die. Our science might be incredible but we have yet to conquer death or bring people back to life. And we cannot say for certain whether there is life after death.

Alex Mutua’s Lo Debar continues with Ten Miles to Kopsiror: He thought of platoons, a Vietnam movie he had fallen in love at 10 and had seen in over ten times at their local movie house. He pressed the trigger, this time like the movie star he had seen, smoothly. Bang!

This week we have been graced by yet another opinion piece. Jaimin Vyas’ Abstract Viewpoint on Education & Enterprising Entrepreneurship! : As a guest lecturer at a local university, I had the first-hand experience of finding that students who enrolled for the MBA course had no idea of the problems we face in the practical world. This phenomenon is nothing new in Kenya.

Thank you for your continued support. If you would like your story to feature here, please send in your work to Please refer to the blog submission guidelines here.

Do you have any ideas about how to make your weekly reading more fun? Please send your suggestions to today. Join us here on Monday for the next batch of stories and be sure to vote for the next Story of the Week.

Here’s to a wonderful week ahead!



This entry was posted on March 15, 2010 by in Writing.
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