Writing Nonfiction – Not Such an Easy Start!

November 10, 2011

National Novel Writing Month is going on.  As always, I’m participating, though I have to admit, I haven’t written a word toward my book yet.  I have a pretty good outline, but for whatever reason, I’m having a hard time getting the first sentence going.  This is not normal for me.  I can usually just start, and keep going.

I’m attempting a nonfiction piece for the first time.  It’s an idea that came to me at the first of the year.  It’s a good idea, and I think I can do it justice.  I just can’t seem to get started.  It’s not really writer’s block, I have a lot of it mapped out in my head, and ideas about how to get points across.  It’s just the beginning I’m struggling with.

Part of it is my resident critic and editor.  He’s constantly saying stuff like, “Who cares what you think about that?”  “Who is going to read a book you write about that, you’re nobody!” etc., etc.  Of course National Novel Writing Month is about turning that part of ourselves off, and just getting the book out of your head and onto the page.  I get that concept.  I get how that works.  I just can’t seem to get him to shut up!

Another issue I think is that I really want it to be good, because I want to publish it.  So, I’m dealing with the idea that it needs to be perfect the first go around as well.  Now, I know it won’t be.  I know the first draft next to never is.  I’m lucky in that I already have someone I can work with to help me edit it.  So, that really shouldn’t be holding me back, should it?  Yet, I think it is.

I get this Friday off, and I’m taking Monday off, so I’ll have a nice 4 day weekend.  Hopefully, I’ll finally get the book started, and then it will just roll the way I want it to.  Then I’ll have something to work with.

Are you doing National Novel Writing Month?  If so, how’s it coming along?

– Cathy Lynn (aka Catherine)

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  1. Thanks for the encouragement!!!! I hope it goes well for you this weekend. I need to get that stuff out of my head and on paper too!

    • Mary, I want to read what you plan to write. :)

      Cathy, you have a great idea. I can understand the challenge of it being so different from fiction writing. Good luck!

  2. I suggest starting in the middle and coming back to the beginning. I can’t wait to hear what your topic is and what you have to say about it!!

  3. I figured out something this past year…
    While writing my non-fiction mini-book and still working on my larger NF work, I discovered it’s easier than fiction to me. Why? Non-fiction is what you know; it’s what you discern from your life and the lives of others. It’s the truth or, at least, what you perceive the truth to be. Now, isn’t it easier to tell the truth than to make up a lie or tall tale?

    Each of us has a special way of looking at things. That’s why we are unique and so important to this world. Catherine, you’ve been writing your heart here on this blog for a long time. Your inspiration is right in front of you…

  4. Thank you for the comments and encouragement! I have finally gotten a few words written – it isn’t flowing like I want it to, but, I’m getting started at least :)

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