I titled this post as such and I should have added on an ellipsis (…) to the end of the title. This way readers would know there is more to the statement. I’m still not 100% sold that fiction should only be a hobby, but the following thought process is once again pushing me into the non-fiction writer camp.
In a previous posts titled, Book Review: “Damn! Why Didn’t I Write That?” by Marc McCutcheon, I followed the link in that blog and reread the full review I posted on Amazon. I was reminded about McCutcheon’s argument: Authors who want to make a living at writing should (need to) focus on non-fiction.
I went out to my garage and found the physical book and reread my highlights (yes, I will write, color and highlight in a book). This also reminded me, that often the market news through Publisher’s Weekly seems to say: Fiction sales are often outpaced by non-fiction sales.
These events lead me to the following questions:
- Why am I doing this writing ‘thing’?
- Why do I more often write fiction instead of non-fiction?
- Which is cooler, my new sci-fi / fantasy idea that a small number of readers may enjoy or the $$$ from being a best selling non-fiction writer?
- If having a positive impact on people’s lives is one of my writing goals, wouldn’t that better be accomplished with non-fiction than fiction?
- When I sit and brainstorm non-fiction, I can come up with book ideas and chapter ideas more easily than fiction. So why don’t I focus on that type of writing instead of making it more difficult on myself?
- Where can I better be a standout writer by addressing a niche or mainstream audience: fiction or non-fiction?
- What motivates me to write?
- Can I use that motivation for either fiction or non-fiction, or does my motivation only work for one and not the other?
- As a follower of Christ, what am I convinced God has called me to do in regards to this writing thing?
- Wouldn’t the best and ‘guaranteed’ success lie with being in God’s will around writing?
- Am I fighting or rebelling against any of the answers above, because an answer may mean a lot of hard work and I already ‘feel’ like I work hard at my day job and family life?
- If I’m shying away from the hard work (editing is not a favorite task of mine!), if I simply buckle down for a short twenty-four months to reach some writing goals, what sort of rewards could there be and how will that change my life, my family’s life and those within my circle of influence?
It sounds like I need to:
- Spend some time in prayer
- Journal my answers to the above questions
- Reevaluate previous answers to these questions
- Address any new questions that come up through this self-discovery process
Regardless, if a primary goal of being a writer is to reach readers by selling books…then McCutcheon’s book is still in the back of my mind arguing:
- Write non-fiction, because you’ll sell more books and in turn reach more people
- Since you are selling more with non-fiction you can better support your writing career and reap royalties for years to come
- Use fiction for hobby writing
If you decide to answer the above questions, you too may find yourself leaning toward the non-fiction camp. True, some writers can write both and others need to write both in order to keep themselves busy and motivated. But dividing one’s time and energy could lead to frustration, lack of efficiency in writing and ultimately confuse your audience because they don’t know what type of writer you are.
Whether fiction or non-fiction. Hobby or career. Whatever answers you may have for yourself to these questions, it comes down to: keep on writing!