What I Learned from Writing a Non Fiction Book
I’ve often thought of writing a non-fiction book. After all, I have this blog – it’s not as though I’ve never written in the genre. But I’ve never had the courage, or the energy.
But Susan Day, whom I’ve met on Twitter, has.
So when she told me she’s just finished a non-fiction work, I asked her if she’d mind discussing the experience on a blog post.
She very kindly said “Yes”.
So, over to Susan …
Learning from Writing Non-Fiction
I have been writing children’s books for a number of years now. I write middle grade, chapter books in the Astro’s Adventures series. I’ve also turned my creative skills to early readers and picture books. I love illustrating books and designing them.
However, when I became a grandmother at the very young age of 47, I still continued to write children’s books, but my life had changed and I knew as a writer I needed to confront it.
I decided to write a non-fiction book about grandparenting called The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! And, like many non-fiction books there would be no pictures, no jokes, and no zany adventures. This would mean quite a change in my writing style.
So, how did I move successfully from a fiction author to a non-fiction author?
Facts and Figures are about Real People
As I began to research my book I discovered that most of the facts were about real people. Of course, statistics are just numbers, but behind those were stories and lives that were interesting.
I was touched when I read how some parents had become suicidal after being separated from their grandkids. I was buoyed when I read that when a positive relationship exists between grandparents and grandkids neither group are likely to fall victim to depression.
There’s Always a Story to Tell
Being a storyteller by trade I knew that my experiences of being a grandparent weren’t unique. I believed that many other young grandparents were probably going through similar experiences as me.
While researching the book, I discovered that grandparents are richer and healthier than they have ever been in the history of the world. I discovered that they come in all different shapes and sizes, and that my original idea of a granny being grey-haired and dressed in an apron was far from reality.
I wanted to include my story and stories I had heard from others. Sometimes the stories are poignant, and other times funny. I was able to use my fiction writing skills to make the research more relatable so that anyone reading it would be able to say, “Oh, that’s me!” or “Yes, I feel like that.”
Touch the Reader’s Heart
I wrote The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! so that grandparents could feel more empowered, and do something positive about their relationship with their grandkids.
I didn’t like the way that many grandparents just sat back and played a passive role; babysitting when asked, cooking for special occasions and helping out with cash.
The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! encourages grandparents to create their own Grandparenting Philosophy. This is a real document that they put together as they read through the book. There’s a whole section for compiling the information or those savvy grannies can complete the form online.
It was this aspect of writing a non-fiction book that dramatically changed from writing a fiction book. When one is writing fiction you can create worlds, and control the emotions of your characters. Non-fiction books, however, deal with real people who have a wealth of experiences and knowledge to draw from. Part of the writing process for me was to respect that, and provide a platform from which my readers would feel safe. Feeling safe leads to feelings of trust, and once trust is established it is much easier to get your point across.
Did I Love Writing a Non-Fiction Book?
Yes, I did love creating and writing a non-fiction book. It took me back to my university days when I was scribbling down notes and adding references to end notes: an old skill I had to learn again!
I loved telling my story and using it to build a connection with other grandparents. I also loved showing them how much they do have to offer, and how important it was that they spend precious time with their grandchildren in simple, but meaningful ways.
Now that my first non-fiction book is complete, I don’t have plans for any more as yet, but you never know.
You can find The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing! on all online stores – here’s its Amazon link
About Susan Day
Susan Day is a passionate author, educator and, of course, a grandmother. She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. Discover here the Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing.
Also, her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren through reading and sharing books.
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.