On Writing Non-Fiction – Where Do I Even Start?

If you are reading this then chances are that you’ve got a book, article or blog inside you bursting to come out. Over the last few months, everyone I’ve met has had the same burning question: I want to write a book, article, blog, but I don’t know what to write about? This is closely followed by: Do I have anything of value to write about? Will anyone even read it? It can be confusing, like unravelling a ball of tangled wool.

These are common doubts which we all have. We all have a story to tell. Humanity has been telling stories for millennia, so it’s natural that we all have a book inside of us. Yet the hardest part is extracting it and sharing it with the world. Believe me. I’m there with you because these doubts were alive and kicking when I felt the urge to write my second book, ‘The Little Book of Animal Wisdom’. Yet, like so many, I couldn’t quite grasp what I would write about. At first, I engaged my mind, determine to figure out what I could write, wracking my brains furiously to grasp the elusive strands of an idea. And the funny thing is, that the more I reached for it, getting very stressed in the process, the more elusive it became until I gave up chasing this Will-o’- the- wisp and relaxed into my life.

And, most ironically, it was when I gave up chasing and embraced the moment of my life driving down a country road, windows down, admiring the lush green trees swaying in the wind, the warm, rich smell of the summer breeze playing with my hair, so grateful to be alive, that the idea literally dropped in – no effort required. It was like a file had opened and the contents downloaded, in an instant!

So, the first thing is to relax and get engaged in your life. Writing is a creative process and when you get involved in the creative process of your life, it can act as a catalyst for all sorts of creativity. Slowing down and getting interested in your life is a great way to get right into the middle of the action – after all, that’s where it’s taking place.

The next thing is that you already have the knowledge you need to write your book, article or blog. We know so much more than we give ourselves credit for and discount so much of what we know. I am willing to bet that the skills you already have and take for granted, and might not really appreciate, will be a godsend to someone else. Share your gifts.

At the same time, it’s important to be interested in what you are writing about because if you’re not engaged with it, it will be obvious. Plus, you will feel like you’re dragging your heels, or, in this case, your pen or keyboard finger across the page. Here is where you need to disengage your brain, which might be telling you what you should write about, or what is popular to write about, and engage your passion for the things you’d love to write about.

OK, so what happens after the download?

The most important thing I learnt from my own journey and how I started mapping my book was by asking myself these questions:

• Why did I want to write this book?
• Who was I writing this book for?
• What did I want to write about?
• When was I going to write it?
• How was I going to write it?

These are important questions to consider before you do anything else because they will give you the clarity you need when it comes to planning and writing your book, article or blog. Also, consider your reader in all of this because they are the ones who will be reading it. What journey do you wish to take them on?

From these questions, you will be able to map out your chapter headings, and from your chapter headings, you can begin to fill in the content. The same thing applies with your article or blog.

Finally, remember to have fun with it – don’t get so caught up on whether it sounds right or looks right, simply write what comes to you. The art of writing is re-writing and if you’re looking for the perfect moment to start, the perfect moment is write now.

Happy writing,

Naz Ahsun x

You can buy ‘The Little Book of Animal Wisdom’ from Amazon. For each book sold, a donation goes to Oak and Burrows Wildlife Rescue Centre.

If  you want to find out more about my self-publishing company then visit www.visionmakerpress.com

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