14 November 2019 / Nonfiction Meta: Writing Nonfiction I've recently attempted some endeavors which involved nonfiction writing. My purpose in this is primarily to learn, and secondarily to organize and state my thoughts. I'm no wise sage or speaker of profound truth. Neither grammar nor words are mine by inheritance. While scratching the surface of my newfound work I've been faced with the hard realization that nonfiction writing isn't easy. I thought that it would somehow be simpler, at least in some ways, than fiction, but I no longer see any point in believing this. The difficulties are similar, but manifest themselves in different ways - a story for another time. My point is this, that nonfiction writing has some interesting factors that I haven't considered until recently. I won't take the time to spell everything out explicitly, so feel free to extrapolate and see what you come up with.First, there is the issue of truthfulness, or the dichotomy of facts and opinion. Second, there is the issue of interest, or the dichotomy of engagement and utility.Third, there is the issue of rhetoric, or the dichotomy of education and persuasion.Last, there is the issue of personality. Truthfulness takes form in an unexpected way. Normally, I consider myself purely truthful so long as I say no untrue thing. Yet in nonfiction writing, that is not good enough. Not only must you satisfy your own sense of the truth, but you must do so to everyone else's satisfaction as well. That means evidence. If you dare speak on a subject, then you must back your words with evidence. So often, we go throughout our lives speaking truth that ourselves, and others - especially those with similar worldviews - take for granted. We say things, and everyone lets them go. Yet when you write, especially in this sort of format where comments are welcomed, it is inevitable that ill-supported statements will be dismantled by readers - an undesirable outcome, and issue that may be avoided. Yet the issue of truthfulness is more interesting than that - it also takes the form of how much truth is present. This directly transitions into my second and partially into my third issue - namely, that if there is too little or too much truth, you will find it more difficult to write on things that are interesting. While some people ignore statements because they already agree with them, others do so due to a lack of interest. Many topics are simply uninteresting. Imagine a science textbook describing the minutia of heuristic categorizations of some thing that you will never interact with. There may be tonnes of truth, and you may pour their passion into their craft, yet no interested readers - an undesirable outcome, and issue that may be avoided. On the other hand, you could write on the most interesting topics. I've personally been swept in by trendy topics such as quantum physics, (I know, I know...) being swept away by one beautiful article after another on the topic. Yet, when really considering what they were about, none of them instructed me on anything useful. The topic was interesting, but I was not educated on anything useful - an undesirable outcome, and issue that may be avoided. As you can imagine, much of this persuasion to continue reading was accomplished due to the charismatic, attractive personality of the writer. While personality often seems outside of your control, I purpose that that is not entirely the case when writing. Particularly, it is easy enough to adopt patterns of tones, and such is sufficient in writing to constitute what I consider to be a writer's personality. These personalities can be used to accomplish a wide range of often subliminal beliefs in your readers, ranging along a variety of different spectra. The most obvious example is the range from distrust to trust, or coldness to warmth. My advice is to simply consider your pattern of tones carefully, and use them to construct the character that you want to be.In conclusion, I have delayed my other nonfiction projects due to lack of truthfulness. That is to say, I do not possess enough truth to write interesting articles in ways that are educational and interesting. Thus, I'm reading, writing, and reflecting until I can continue with the series about the local church - this could take awhile. In the meantime, I'll be filling this space with content such as this, and perhaps I will overcome the parallel challenges that I've run into in my fictional writing.