Posted in article writing, nonfiction, outline, rewrite

How to Write Nonfiction

You have found a topic you want to write on, but aren’t quite sure how to proceed next. You probably already know that nonfiction writing is essentially the organization of facts into a complete piece that presents those facts to a reader. But how can you do it so that it makes sense and is something that’s interesting to read?  Here are five steps to get those facts from head to page, and dazzle the reader with your repository of knowledge.

1. Decide on the Type of Piece
Know beforehand what type of piece you are writing so that you know the length to complete. Are you writing an article, a blog series or a book?  You don’t want to end up writing more than you need or not having enough material to finish your project; though, sometimes after you start a project your accumulated information may go beyond expectations or fall short, then you will have to reconsider what the end product should to be. A piece you might have originally decided would go best in a blog series might actually work better as an article and vice versa. You may even discover that there is so much to tell about a specific topic that it could fill a book.
2. Outline
Organization is elemental to writing good nonfiction. You cannot have good comprehensive nonfiction without it, so get those thoughts in order. You can do this on paper or even in your head, as long as it is clear that you know what you are going to do and where you are going to go. Decide the best possible way to reveal the information to get your point across.
3. Research
After you’ve decided how to present your piece, then you need to decide if it requires information you don’t have. Sometimes when you sit down to write on a topic, your knowledge may have gaps that need to be filled. This is when research is paramount to make sure that your facts are straight and that you know what you are talking about. There’s nothing worse than a reader pointing out that your facts are wrong.
4. Write the Piece
Now that you have an idea of what you want to do, an outline to work from, and all your facts lined up in a row, it’s time to write your piece of nonfiction. This part can be a little challenging because knowing about something and writing about it, in a way that grabs a reader’s interest, are two completely different things.
This is when you should give your story a voice. What do I mean by voice? I mean it needs a unique tone, something that sets it apart from the pack. But mostly it just needs to be interesting to read. If you let passion flow through your words as you write, chances are it’s going to stand up to sing loud and clear for all to hear.
5. Review and Rewrite
This is the most tedious part of writing, but also one of the most important. Don’t forget to review and do as many rewrites as necessary to get your work to its sparkling finish. Find those typos and make sure you have a piece that is strong. Get someone else to do a read-through if you are uncertain. You never know who might be reading your work, so put your best foot forward and make your reader more intelligent for reading what you write. They’ll appreciate it and may even come back for more.
This information is also posted on as a non-exclusive article.

Have you wondered if nonfiction contains plot? Then check out my blog post Does Nonfiction Have Plot to find out.

Posted in article writing, creative writing, writer's block

Dig a Little Deeper

Are you stuck and not able to move forward in your writing? Do you find that no matter what you do those words just won’t come, even when you bang your head up against the wall? Are you feeling completely abandoned by your muse and not sure he or she will be making an appearance ever again? Then it just might be time for you to dig a little deeper.

Writing blocks come for many reason:  a lack of material, a lack of direction, overwhelming pressure to complete a task or project, personal issues that remain unresolved and fester, lack of creative stimulation, and self-doubt. All these things and others can cause a person to shut down and not be able to move forward in their own lives and in writing as well. If you are like me, your writing is connected to your emotions, so if you have any sort of emotional upheaval or emotional decline, writing becomes difficult, if not impossible. Here are some ideas you can use to work through this creative slug and find your way back to the light.

First of all, write even when you don’t feel like it. The nature of writing itself will lift you up- that is if you write about something uplifting. As you place words onto the page, you are tapping into that eternal spring within (yeah, it’s there even when you think it’s completely dry), as you dive into it you become transformed by those words. Write happy and you will be happy. Write sad and you will write sad. Write contemplative and- well, you get the picture.

Get those creative juices flowing by surrounding yourself with creative, stimulating things. What inspires you: music, art, candlelight? Also change your venue where you write. Do you normally write at home in your office then try writing in the kitchen, in the living room. Take an afternoon trip to a coffee shop, the library, or take pen and paper out and let Mother Nature spark those creative thoughts.

Another great way to try moving over roadblocks of creativity is by doing writing exercises. It can be as simple as setting a timer and writing none stop for ten minutes or as elaborate as buying books with writing exercises and using that. It really doesn’t matter what you do as long as you write. Doing the exercises will break loose the dirt clogs stuck in the mind and sprout a garden of new ideas. Do it every day and you’ll be amazed by the results!

Still feeling the glum of that block pressing down on your shoulders? Try digging a little deeper. What do I mean by that? Pick a topic that is personal, one that elicits strong emotion and write about it. You know what I’m talking about. It’s a topic you may not talk about or simply ignore because it’s too uncomfortable to go there. Dive in headfirst. Don’t think twice about it. Just write. Go where you’ve been holding back. Just let it fly and see where it leads. Chances are you will not only come up with a multitude of ideas for your writing, but you may very well make some key discoveries about yourself as well, so don’t hold back and just dig a little deeper.