Most of the non-fictions I wrote are actually my personal journals called Daily Logs that are published almost daily. They serve as documents of what I have gone through, my deepest thoughts, and how I see the world. However, they get little to no readers because they only serve two audience. One is me, and the other is my friend.
As a writer, that’s just not the right way to grow because you will always end up writing about yourself and become self-absorbed whether it is intended or not. That was why I decided to try and write other kind of non-fictions because I want to be known as a “true” writer.
The past one year saw me writing more than a dozen articles so far ranging from reviews to my thoughts about stuff in life and published them. They are on my personal blog here on WordPress and Medium. Through those writings, there are some lessons that I learnt that are highly valuable.
Ideas are slippery things
Ideas are slippery little bastards. One moment an idea comes to your mind and you get so excited about it. Then it’s gone when something or someone interrupts you. If you didn’t note it down somewhere, you will forget what it was. When that happens, there is no guarantee you will get it back.
Therefore you should always have a notebook or something that you can write on with you. This is to ensure that you can easily jot down ideas that comes to you.
Good non-fiction requires good experiences
In order to write good non-fictions like those self-help, listicles or life lessons type contents, you need to have first experience whatever it is you want to write about. It is only then you can distill that experience down into lessons that you have learnt, what you have done, and could have done differently. The moment you try to imagine and ramble on like you would in fictions, the writing that comes out may not look authentic, could come across as pretentious, and readers are smart enough to pick it up.
So if you don’t have real life experience on something, it’s always important to stay away from it. You are better off writing about something you truly know. This is why you will never see me write anything about how to improve your lives or be a better person because I’m aware of how limited my experiences in life have been.
Informational or instructional content requires a lot more effort
It takes a lot more effort to write content that inform or instruct. However, before you can even start doing that, you need to be very clear why you are writing it in the first place and who’s your target audience.
Then you need to ensure you truly know what you are writing about and how to present that writing in a digestible and engaging manner. I’m pretty sure no one wants to read a research white paper because of its long-windedness and most of the time irrelevant to your life and what you do.
The moment you aren’t clear about the why, what and how, then your writing will be all over the place and nobody will ever read it.