Pauline Muindi is a writer and editor who has written for various publications such as Healthy Woman and True Love. She is the editor for Vroom, a car magazine. She contributed to Writivism Africa's most recent stories anthology, Transcending the Flame.
1. How would you describe your writing journey?
My writing journey has been quite an adventure. I've explored lots of different forms, from magazine features, newspaper reporting, short stories, poems, blogging, and even short movie scripts. My mom fully supported my dream to be a writer. In fact, she often told me, “You're quite the storyteller" even when I didn't believe it myself. I enjoyed writing even as a child, so I don't think anyone who knows that interest was surprised when I pursued it as a career, although a few people have asked me what I really do for a living, as if writing is just a hobby. Since I work from home now because I have a four-month old son, Sankara, many of my neighbours believe that I am a jobless slay queen with dubious sources of income.
2. What are you proudest of?
My proudest achievement so far is being the editor of Vroom, Kenya's premier car lifestyle magazine. This position has pushed me from being just a writer to handling the entire production of this new magazine. And I did it while taking care of a newborn and recovering from childbirth. It was exhausting but rewarding. I didn't know anything about cars when we started out, but I accepted the challenge. Now I'm becoming a petrol head. We're currently on our second issue. Other achievements I'm proud of include having my short story, "Grasping at Straws", published in Transcending The Flame, an anthology of short stories by Writivism Africa.
3. Do you have a foolproof method for overcoming writer's block?
Writer's block is real, but most of the time, we writers just use it as an excuse to procrastinate. Sometimes, I'd rather clean the house from top to bottom than write. How do I beat writer’s block? I simply sit down and put pen to paper, or rather, fingers to keyboard. I also remind myself that it is more blessed to give than to receive, which means producing more than I consume.
4. Has writing moulded you in any way?
Writing, especially fiction and poetry, forces you to be introspective. It's through writing that I explore uncomfortable emotions and process painful experiences. When my mom passed away in 2016, writing poetry was one of the things which kept me afloat. Did I think I'd be doing this, this long? Yes. Writing is part of who I am. Even if I ever pursue a different career, writing will always be at the core of my life's work.
5. If you were to sit down to dinner to pick the brains of two of your favourite writers, who would they be?
Toni Morrison is at the top of my list, followed by Chimamanda Adichie. I look up to these two not only as writers, but as women too.