Sunday, November 4, 2007

Why I like Nonfiction Writing

As you know, I had dreams of being a fiction writer. My most recent foray into fiction during the 2005 NaNoWriMo event was loads of fun, and I was so excited to have agents interested in that novel. I remember running around at the San Francisco Writers Conference mumbling to myself, “I’m going to sell a novel. I’m going to be a novelist.” And I was thinking how easy it was and how much fun and how maybe fiction was the place with the action when it came to being a writer.

I guess you could chalk it up to rationalization or denial since my manuscript came back rejected and marked for major editorial work, but in returning to what I know and what I’ve being doing for so many years – nonfiction, I found myself newly in-love with my chosen writing genre. You see, getting away from nonfiction briefly gave me a new perspective and reminded me of what I enjoy about it so much.

And what is that, you want to know? (Well, even if you don’t want to know, I’m going to tell you, since that’s the subject of my blog for today.) I love nonfiction, because it allows me to explore subjects that are of interest to me and to then share what I learn with others. More specifically, as a magazine journalist and as a writer who likes to wrestle with issues in my life or subjects that excite me, I get to take this issues and subjects and research them, speak to experts about them, find answers and solutions to them, and come up with ideas and theories related to them. Then, I get to offer what I’ve learned and discovered and put to use successfully in my life to others through my writing (articles, booklets, books, and essays). This makes my work both stimulating and rewarding.

One of the best parts of my job involves interviewing experts. Often, I sit alone in my office writing. Other times, I get to talk to the most fascinating people (usually by phone). I get it in my head to pursue a certain subject, and then I get to contact some of the most interesting people. Often they are well-known people in their fields or the authors of best-selling books or simply individuals that I respect. I get to pick their brains and to learn with them. Sometimes I get to tell them my ideas and to ask them for feedback and for help figuring out if my premises are valid. And sometimes when I finish an interview with them, they thank ME for calling them and engaging them in such a thought-provoking discussion. And then I get to take the information I've gotten during the interview, mull over it, figure out what I think about it, and put it down on paper. Basically, I share with others what I have learned in the hope of helping them in some way.

In the process, my dream of being a self-help writer is realized.

As I’ve grow and changed, my interests have grown and changed with me. I get to pursue those interests through my writing. For instance, much of my writing has a spiritual bent or deals with issues of reaching full human potential. So, I’ve become a spiritual writer and a human potential writer. I get to be a writer of whatever interests me. And again, I get to share that with others and, hopefully to help them in the process.

I get to research and learn about things that interest me and that help me solve problems in my own life. Then I get to write about these subjects so I can tell others what I've learned so they benefit as well. What could be better?

I’ve learned that part of who I am is a problem solver, and through my writing I solve problems. I see a problem in my own life, such as the fact that my children changed schools many times, and I want to know how that affects them. I query a magazine about an article on this subject; they accept my query. I interview experts who tell me what affects changing schools has on children and how to counter those affects – how to make this into a positive experience. I take this information back to my family and to my children. I help them. I also put all this information into an article for the regional parenting magazine, which publishes it. I get paid and the magazine’s readership benefits from my problem and the research I did to try and solve it. I can even take that article and research and try to sell it a second time in a spin off article to a national magazine and help more parents help their children. How good is that?

I love the idea of creative thought and the Law of Attraction. I'm interested in Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah. I had an idea about how creative thought could be applied to some Kabbalistic principles. So, I began to interview some experts. And then I began to write a booklet, that I hope will one day be a book. I self-published that little booklet, and I began to teach and speak in conjunction with that little booklet, which my agent says really could one day be a book. And I've set up more interviews with more experts to discuss my idea, so I can begin expanding and improving on my little booklet and on my knowledge of this subject. Much of my time is spent learning more about a subject I love, putting into practice a theory that I came up with and that work, teaching others about this practice, writing about what I have learned, talking about what I know, etc. What could be more fun?

I think you get the idea. I love what I do. Writing nonfiction is great. I wouldn’t change my career…but I will one day go back and finish that novel just for fun.

No comments: