You may have many reasons to wonder if you should embark on a career as a nonfiction writer. Maybe you believe you don’t have the talent, the expertise, the knowledge, or the platform to attract readers, agents, or publishers. More simply said, you may think you don’t have what it takes to succeed. The truth is, if you feel called to write nonfiction, you can—and likely should—write nonfiction.
Let me qualify that statement. I usually am the first to say you need all the elements mentioned above—talent, expertise, knowledge, and platform—if you want to create a successful career as a nonfiction writer or author. Yet, I will never tell you not to write nonfiction if you feel called to do so.
If you have the desire to write nonfiction, you can do it. If you feel it is your purpose to serve people by writing beneficial articles, essays and books, you can do it. If you feel it is your purpose or mission to make a positive and meaningful impact in the world with your words, you can do it.
Do You Have the Necessary Attitude?
The one thing you do need to succeed as a nonfiction writer—no matter what— is the right attitude. I call this an Author Attitude, but you can author articles, essays, blog posts, or books. The elements of an Author Attitude include:
You might need to build a platform or improve your writing, for example. But if you have an Author Attitude, this won’t become a problem for you. It just means you have to be willing to take action, have the optimism and objectivity to move through rejections, constructive criticism and hard lessons, and be tenacious enough to keep working at the tasks that help your writing become worthy of being released into the world.
Are You Focused on the Right Things?
You see, all that stops you is your mind. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” Which thought will you choose?
The biggest stumbling block to becoming a successful nonfiction writer lies between your ears. If you focus your mind on all the reasons (and ways) you can fail, you will fail. If you focus on all the reasons (and ways) you can succeed, you will succeed.
Allow yourself to think about your fears day in and day out, and you will manifest the things you worry about obsessively—even though they previously represented possibilities or potential futures. You will make them realities by placing continuous attention on them and by failing to take action to bring about a different reality or potential future.
Instead, make good choices about what you think about and focus upon. Think about positive possibilities, and focus upon what’s working and what you desire.
Are You Taking Positive and Inspired Action?
Here are two of the most important things you can do right now to become a nonfiction writer or author:
- Close your eyes; Imagine what it would be like to have your words published in whatever form you desire (blog posts, articles, essays, or books) and making a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of your readers. When you see and feel that potential future, ask yourself this question: What action do I need to take next to make this scenario a reality? And what action do I have to take after that one? Write these two action steps down. (Repeat this exercise once you’ve completed those two action steps, or at any point when you feel the need to re-inspire yourself and or to discover more inspired action steps.)
- Write nonfiction now. Don’t wait. Yes…I recommend knowing your market and studying your competition, but if you are feeling insecure, not good enough, or stuck, get the creative energy flowing right away. Beginning to write in some form about your topic will accomplish this goal. You don’t have to write your “big book” or your “long article.” Start with an essay or a blog post or a short piece for some magazine. Then do the leg work—the market and competitive analysis and hone the idea of your larger projects. The idea is simple: Get words on paper (or screen) so you feel more confident and energetic.
Are You Supporting Yourself?
Many of us are given negative messages as children or even as young adults. We then carry these limiting beliefs with us like old computer programs. The messages deter us from pursuing our dreams and goals. Such experiences can cause you to tell yourself:
- I’m not good enough.
- I have nothing worthwhile to say or to write.
- No one will want to read what I write.
- I can’t help anyone or make a positive or meaningful different in the world.
- I’m not an expert.
- I’m not important enough to be a change agent.
- I’m not a good writer.
It’s time to reprogram yourself—to reprogram the computer called your mind. Tell yourself, or affirm, that you are good enough, smart enough, experienced enough, skilled enough, creative enough… This is how you support yourself in the manner you wished someone would have supported you as you were growing up. Tell yourself you can do it. Tell yourself you are good enough to become a nonfiction writer and have an important message that deserves to be shared.
Because you are and you do.
If necessary, you can become better, smarter, more experienced, more skilled, and more creative.
You can do this. You can write nonfiction now. Start today.
Photo courtesy of iqoncept.