I want to write self-help non-fiction books. When I searched google for “how to write non-fiction”, I found/find it so frustrating as there are more articles or videos on fiction.
However, I have found one or two excellent articles, and I have discovered some books that are also helpful. I have even been on a creative writing course that was a light touch on all aspects of creative writing. The course introduced me to writing a query and a proposal for any writing project. The course also touched on how to sell our work to magazines. But, the course didn’t cover much on non-fiction.
Separately there is a lot of writing advice mentioning the following books a writer should read :-
Bird by Bird
Elements of Style
and so many more.
I am slowly making my way through these books. I liked the Artist Way as it is generic, and it’s about unlocking what is blocking us. I had started Bird By Bird in 2020 then stopped as I realised it is all about writing fiction. But, I have heard it said that non-fiction writers should also consider writing a story and dialogue as well, so I will be rereading Bird by Bird to finish it this time.
I classify myself as a non-writer; because I am not the typical writer who was an avid reader /writer as a kid or even in adulthood. Does this classification even matter? I think for me it matters, as the learning curve, the writing curve is different.
Ultimately, the consistent advice from any google search or book I have read- says write and read daily. Many famous writers say that we need to get the junk out of us; therefore, daily writing is the tool to achieve this. Additionally, reading opens us to different writing styles and helps us gain a voice for our writing; it gives us ideas on how a book can be structured, and it can be good research for our writing.
So with this advice, I move forward. I started to write this book in June -July 2020 in a notebook and then just stopped. This year I am tracking my works with Camp NaNoWriMo; I have written 4k so far.
I have a plan that motivates me to write a ridiculously messy zero draft by the end of July. I type 20 minutes a day into the MSWord document following the loose structure/outline. This exercise will identify gaps as I write. Then, once July is over, the reread will find out more holes to fill, brain dump items that don’t belong or belong and need to be polished off. I will probably edit several times, then look for editors, beta-readers, and so on.
I now feel a lot more confident about writing a self-help book as a non-writer: the research, the courses, and the actual writing process are all helping. I have a better clue of the steps and phases to make a book, be it Traditionally published or even Self published. I still do not know everything; however, I feel more confident that I can find the answer.
Are you a self-help writer? A new writer? How is your writing going? If you have any tips, comment below. I intend to share more of my process – would this interest you?