This month, I’ve been working on a nonfiction book that’s been in my mind for many years. I have a (self-imposed) word count deadline that is pushing me to get back to it (click here to read post about this), but I wanted to pause that project to write a little bit here about my inspirations.
With fiction, it seems like inspiration can come from anywhere. Many authors have written about where they get their inspiration, including my colleagues here at Write to Live—Live to Write.
But with nonfiction, where do you start? I’ve been thinking about this book for many years, and have notes scattered in many places. How do I begin to put it together?
I started with all the reasons I feel inspired to write on this topic:
- I wrote about who I think will benefit from this book (that’s still in my head.)
- I wrote about how I hope the reader will be different after they read my book.
- I wrote about why I want to write this book.
- I wrote down my highest intention for writing this book.
- I wrote down some of the memories of times when I could have used a book like the one I’m planning to write.
- I wrote down some of the coping mechanisms, tools, skills, and resources I’ve used that might help my reader.
After that, I looked for inspiration in more concrete ways:
- I went back to my old journals and used what I wrote in the past to springboard new thoughts for the book.
- I reread articles I’d saved that inspired passion, disgust, or wonder in me and resurrected those emotions as I reread them. I wrote (fast and furiously) as I experienced those emotions again.
Lastly, I just turned off the internal editor and let it all flow.
Back in June, before I started Camp NaNo, I made the decision to let go of needing to know how the book will look in its final form. I don’t know if it’ll be a memoir, a self-help book, a combination of the two, or something completely different than either. For the moment, I don’t need to know.
All is need is a little inspiration.
Where do you get your inspiration for your nonfiction project?