Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #24 ~ I would never write...

Something I would never write is…

or at least do not feel I am good at writing is non-fiction. I have difficulty when it comes to even thinking of a topic to write about. The thought of writing non-fiction paralyzes me. I envy journalists and magazine writers and their ability to search out a story or find a topic to write about and turn it into a wonderful piece of writing.

I remember my non-fiction writing class in college, which was a requirement for my degree was the class that I suffered the most in. It was the one that I wrote my absolute worst in. My papers always came back marked profusely in RED! I was so happy when that class ended and I never had to look back.

Then last year I had the itch to try again and decided to take an evening class that taught freelance writing. It was held through a program called Evening at Emory and we met once a week. The class was taught by a woman who writes and edits for magazines and various client on an array of topics. When the class started we were told that each week we would write in some form and share our work with the rest of the class. We also worked on in class exercises. Our final piece was to be a piece written about someone we had interviewed, the topic choice was left up to us. The only catch, it had to be a random person that was in no way related to us.

Uh-oh, at this point I knew I was in trouble. I had no clue who I would choose.

As the class went on I struggled with each and every assignment. I would come to class with half written papers because in most cases the endings would eluded me or I just had no idea in which direction I was suppose to take it. We even had the opportunity to write an Op-Ed piece and submit it to newspapers of our choice. When we were tasked with writing a query letter, I chose to write one for an article that had to do with a form of meningitis that some dogs manage to acquire called GME. When it came time to read mine out loud to everyone in the class they seemed so impressed. But, I felt foolish when I was at the end and I needed to ask other’s how I should end the letter because I had not a clue. Once again I was paralyzed. I was stressed because I could not get mind to wrap itself around the task and move forward with it.

A very good friend of mine is currently making her dreams as a freelance writer happen. She is an outstanding writer of non-fiction. Her main genre is fitness writing. She also works as a Marketing Assistant for a Jewish Community Center where she creates the copy for the monthly community bulletin. We often talk about writing and I have often confided in her my unwillingness and fear to write non-fiction. She says ideas just flow within her and she never has a problem to take those thoughts and put them on paper. This is something I can’t envision or comprehend really.

I always feel as if I am strictly a fiction writer. I feel my inability to grasp the concept of writing non-fiction makes me question whether you can be a true writer without being able to write in both genres.

In my mind I say I would never write non-fiction. But in my heart I know that one day and with enough practice that I will be able to say I can do it. Then it dawned on me, that is exactly what I am doing when I blog.

See other I would never write's here:


Blogger Pacian said...

Aren't you writing non-fiction right now? (And doing a rather good job of it, I might add.)

8:17 AM  
Blogger Autrice DelDrago said...

You can't write the endings? I spend time agonizing over the "beginnings". I had a professor imprint upon my brain the phrase "your first words will make or break readership interest!"... he did so using a branding iron. This held me back for the longest time, and I spent days working and reworking the first paragraphs of too many novels.

It took me stepping back and literally saying "let it go". You might find that, after you have spent too long struggling for a proper ending to your non-fiction work, the ending is really there after all, just hidden deeply within you... held back by simple self-doubts branded upon the brain by too many classes in writing offered by professors who don't actually have any published work!

12:42 PM  
Blogger dorinny said...

This is a great piece of non-fiction :)
It does take a lot of practice to write anything, really. I love writing fiction and non-fiction, as well as poetry, but I never really have time for either. Except blogging, which, I think, is the most interesting form of non-fiction, so even before this sunday-scribbling, it seems you've been at it ;)

3:57 PM  
Blogger Chelle Y. said...

I could not write either! I love reading books, but I could never write any myself.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous tinker said...

I agree with your other readers - your non-fictional blog post reads quite well! I do think I understand what you mean though, because this is an on-line journal, as opposed to taking one non-fiction subject and devoting an entire article to it. From what I've read, I think you'd be quite good at it if you were interested!

10:23 PM  
Blogger Gabrielle said...

Endings are difficult for me too.

Yes you most certainly can call yourself a real writer if writing in both genres doesn't come naturally! Just like an artist who excels in abstract images but has difficulty with realism (or vice versa) is still a true artist. Both have talent, knowledge and know how to communicate in their own way.

Dabble with nonfiction, don't pressure yourself to write a finished piece right off the bat. It will happen, even if it's a bit of a struggle, if you have the desire.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Jemima said...

What Pacian said!

It's awful when a fixed idea of our own abilities and weaknesses strangles our confidence to experiment. Loads of professionals stick to a narrow form and are not viewed as any less writerly for it. It's ok to be one thing only, and it's fine to try and be bad at lots of stuff.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Verity said...

What struck me as I was reading this was, why do you feel you need to write non-fiction? I don't think it's true that you have to write non-fiction in order to be a "writer". A writer writes, and you are a writer because you write what you want to write. Don't stress about the rest. A writer writes. It's as simple as that.

6:59 AM  

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