Most writers in the 21st century have embraced both fiction and non-fiction. The reason can be money, promotion, the need to engage with readers, the need to connect with the world…You name it. But there are very few writers left who engage only in fiction or non-fiction.
I started creating stories when I was 9. I started writing them down when I was 12. And even though I didn’t try to get anything actively published until I was 24 (my bad, don’t follow this example!), my writing efforts never stopped. Whether it was finding the idea for a novel because of a true story my PR professor told me or passing from most of my courses (Human Resources, Organizational Theory…, etc) with flying colors because of the engaging essays that I wrote, I wrote. Non-fiction and fiction. Together.
In 2009, I realized that blogs were so much more than personal diaries (if you knew how to take advantage of this, that is), and Facebook was for so much more than just connecting with Friends. So my non-fiction journey started online.
I realized I loved writing for the web, while I kept researching about writing for magazines. I came a long way when it came to using blogs and social media, getting writing gigs and getting published on successful blogs and yet something was missing: My fiction.
My characters were still very much in mind, hardly able to wait to find their voice on paper and yet I hadn’t actively written fiction for 2 years. No wonder I was uncomfortable and was feeling that things were missing in my life.
But how was I supposed to balance fiction and fiction? How was I supposed to blog for me, others, keep my part-time job for stability and sanity, keep researching and have the time to write fiction? And did I mention I also happen to be very social?
Easy. I needed to be productive. I needed to stay focused. I needed to prioritize according to deadlines, my readers’ content needs and my inspiration levels. Some days I can have a blast writing movie reviews all day. Some days I can’t wait to go out there and market my writing, and sometimes it is the fiction that drives me.
And the best part is, these moments of pure inspiration and motivation can be managed, compartmentalized and different types of writing work can be done during the same day. Just keep reminding yourself the reasons you keep doing both:
I write non-fiction because:
- I love it.
- It gives me a platform to share my ideas and passions with like-minded people.
- It gives me a platform to promote my writing and get more writing gigs.
- It gives me a platform to connect with other writers.
- Oh, and when my fiction is ready to be published and promoted, it will be a platform for that too.
I write fiction because:
- I love it.
- I wouldn’t be able to stop even if I wanted to. Remember how I said I hadn’t really written fiction in 2 years? I meant that I hadn’t sit by my computer for days trying to get the full story finished. It did however meant lots of scenes written separately waiting to be connected, lots of dialogue and different turn of events going constantly around in my head.
- I do want to see my name on a paperback book. And I’ll have that, even if it means I go the self-publishing route in the end. I think I have wanted it since I read my first John Grisham book.
- I want to connect with more people. I want my fiction to be read too.
- Did I mention it is an addiction and no 12-step-program in the world could help me get over it?
How do you balance fiction and non-fiction? Do you think the two can/should go hand in hand?