After working on my non-fiction book for a long time, I started to feel lost. I didn’t know where I was going with it. I couldn’t even see it as whole, as I was lost in the details. Resistance got hold of me, and it became a struggle to work on it at all.
Resistance is the force that keeps you from doing what you want to do. It can take many different forms, like procrastination, self-doubt, etc. I recommend The War of Art by Steven Pressfield if you’re battling it yourself. I want to reread it myself right now, but I’m not convinced that isn’t just another form of resistance!
One thing I’ve been doing instead of writing is listening to The Story Grid podcast which discusses how to construct a compelling story. I am very prone to studying a thing endlessly without actually putting my learning into practice, which is why I call this resistance. It is, however, still very useful information, and I would highly recommend The Story Grid book by Shawn Coyne to any aspiring authors out there. You can also find the information on the website, linked above.
(I swear I’m not here simply to promote books. It’s just that I love books and want to share the inspiration I’ve gotten from them.)
Recent episodes of the podcast that I’ve listened to have discussed non-fiction, and I’ve realized where I’ve gone wrong. Writing a chronological recount of events can be rather boring, even if the events themselves are not. A more compelling way to go about it is to tell it as if it were a fictional story. That doesn’t mean making things up. It simply means structuring it in the same way you would structure a work of fiction, with the same sort of story arc and scene shifts.
I think I know what I need to do with my non-fiction book now. But before I do, since November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I really want to make an attempt to write a story using everything I’ve learned from The Story Grid. I still have last year’s fiction story to fix, but I think it will be easier to write something entirely new before I attempt to remold something old into something workable.
I’m excited about it, though I know it’s not going to be easy. I have a prompt for the story, but I don’t yet know what kind of story it will be, or the characters, or pretty much anything apart from the inciting incident. My goal is to spend what’s left of this month planning that stuff, so I can dive right into the writing on November 1st.