I’ve started reading A Writer’s Guide to Nonfiction. Right away the author, Elizabeth Lyon, suggests three questions to answer when deciding on the topic of one’s nonfiction book. So, here it goes:
What is my purpose in writing this piece?
There are a few reasons why I want to write The Book. First, I need to. There is something deep inside me telling me that I need to put pen to paper and write this darn thing. I don’t think I will get any rest if I ignore this voice. Secondly, I want to tell my story, share my ideas, and maybe correct some misinformation. And third, I just happen to enjoy writing, so why not write a book? So, my purpose is to inform and inspire, as well as write for the pleasure of it.
What promise am I making to my readers?
I am promising to tell the truth as best I can, and to not mislead them as some other authors do. I am promising to present things in a way that is easy to understand, but not to dumb things down. I am promising to respect my reader, and to believe that they aren’t afraid of a little bit of darkness when searching for spirituality.
Does this piece make a difference in my readers’ lives?
Well, I certainly hope it will. I know I’ve read a couple of books in this genre that have made a difference in my life. Of course, I was very disappointed to discover, a few years later, that some of them presented misleading information. But they still made a difference in helping me to define my spirituality, even if I didn’t agree with what the books were saying. I want to help my readers to do this too. Of course, I do hope they will agree with me, at least to some extent.