How does a Non-Writer write Self-Help books?

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
Artists way
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.

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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.

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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?

18 replies

  1. I loved The Artists Way and also enjoyed Bird by Bird. Wishing you enjoy creating your draft and the book 🙂 I think I would write a book about my journey at some point, don’t know when 🙂 Look forward to seeing your updates – no doubt they will be informative and motivating.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I would say branch out your writing. No matter what you want to write. Try all types of writing. You may surprise yourself. I have been writing all my life. Like you I prefer to write nonfiction. I am an energy healer Reiki grabd master. Good luck in everything you do.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I like how you’re detailing your journey here. I believe that learning about fiction isn’t a waste of time for you because it will help you bring a personal and creative touch to your non-fiction. You’re right about the reading/writing every day to fill up your brain. “Bird by Bird” sounds interesting. I think I own it. Better check it out 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for this, means a lot coming from you, as you write so beautifully. Do you think I should put more details in the newsletter. Yes bird by Bird will be interesting and this time it will get read as my reading partner will hold me accountable. Lol.

      Like

  4. In my most humble opinion, you are a writer, dear Bella. A ‘writer’ is someone that takes their experiences, ideas, feelings, thoughts, etc., onto the page to engage with and inspire the reader. You do that, my dear friend. It is so great to read that you are writing each day; I practice this, and it is super helpful, even if it’s only a couple of sentences. As to my writing; I wrote a ton at University, and have published Academic papers, yet, am now mostly interested in writing on my blog, and, then….maybe, a book or two down the road. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

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