Lessons I am learning about writing non-fiction

In the beginning of this year, I went through some writing goals I had made in 2018 and one of them included writing outside of my comfort zone. I love fiction and more so historical fiction and after writing The Currents Series and Zuri: The Chronicler of Enzi, I have been thinking of working on a book that delves into the situation of primary education in Kenya and this prompted me to start doing some research towards this in March this year.

Now, it’s my first time writing non-fiction and I am learning that above all, I cannot wing it or just write as much as I want without fact-checking!

I am also learning that when you are writing about a subject that you truly care about, there are some factors that you have to watch out for like:

  1. Your desire to want the whole world to know about it so much that you find yourself at a loss of where to start or what exactly to say and when.
  2. How attached you are to the subject that you lose objectivity. In my case as I was doing research, I found myself defending the teachers more and not truly understanding the whole system, how it works and why. So, every article or book I would read, I found myself defending only the teachers and I am still struggling with this.
  3. The chances that you may relive your trauma. On this point, I learned it by reading an article that Kurt Vonnegut has written some time back, when he shared that some stories he told were so close to an experience he lived that he struggled with objectivity. He advises to write it out, spit it out for what it is- and then dealing with everything after that, for once it is written it is out there.

This project is proving to be more challenging and rewarding as I learn along the way too and I can’t help but want to see it through to publication. I also came across some insightful tips on Creative Penn, and Masterclass guide to writing non-fiction that I read and found quite encouraging. So, here’s to fulfilling one of my writing goals!

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