Writing Nonfiction


Think and Grow Rich.

So, we are told that when writing non-fiction we should write the reason, and then explain it.  The reason is that the opening would give the reader a reason to keep on reading. That is not what Napoleon Hill has done in Think and Grow Rich. He makes the reader figure out what the secret is. They must observe and figure out how the thinking leads to growing rich. As you can tell, I don’t always do it (write the point to start with), namely because I don’t know what the point is until I am done writing.

If you are going to write fiction, nonfiction, or opinion, my question is, does anyone have the right to dictate what your style of writing will be?  Or to be clear, should you follow the formulas laid out before you? That is if you are free to write the way you want, some writers are constrained by voice and structure.  For instance, in sitcom writing, the writers have to write in  the style of the show. There is also the job as the ghostwriter to take on the voice of someone else to write. But those situations are not what I am talking about. I am talking about your thinking pattern fleshed out on the screen or in print.

I believe there is a difference between the act of writing and speaking. Writing has grammar rules because someone else is thinking your thoughts and it needs to be clear. It is the same reason music is different from writing and speaking, music is for feeling. When we hear music, sing music, experience music we are sharing emotions. Coming back to writing, to thinking, to sharing thoughts, there are different opinions about how to do it. For instance, there are those who use logic, others story, and then there are people like me who just flow with the next thought and put it down, hoping it makes sense.

So, what does it matter?

It matters because the way you write is just as important as what you write. If you believe that every point you have to make needs an anecdote to drive the point home then write it. If you need to write your position first, then defend it with logic, do it. If you need to take people on an adventure of what happened, then tell them the story with all the drama you have. But don’t let someone else’s opinion dictate how you should express yourself. The only caution I have is make sure you will make sense to someone else.  (I don’t always.) The way you get to where you are going matters in writing because through it you can see where you  might miss key thoughts that can move you forward or change your direction in life for the better. You can also see where your flaws are.