Why I Like Writing Non-Fiction

I’m currently working on formatting a non-fiction title that has close to two hundred screenshots. It had been a while since I formatted any non-fiction books with images in them and I could not for the life of me figure out how I used to insert images into my books and have Affinity automatically put a border around the image.

For five images, fine, you just manually put the border on it. But the images were also coming in pinned and I was having to undo that, too. And then I had a brilliant idea. I could grab my own book off my shelf (Affinity Publisher for Non-Fiction) and I could read the chapter I wrote on inserting images using Affinity.

And lo and behold, there was the answer. (picture frames)

So that’s reason one I love writing non-fiction. Because it captures the knowledge I have at a point in time and then forget because I don’t need it. I’ve pulled the Excel functions books off my shelf more than once because of that. I know there’s some trick to using a specific function but can’t remember what it is off the top of my head. Or I know the function exists to do X, but don’t ask me in the moment what that function actually is.

The other thing I really like about writing non-fiction is that it makes me learn more. I don’t write books about subjects I don’t feel comfortable discussing, but I’m one of those people that will race ahead with a “that works” solution without stopping to see if things have changed. But when I have to explain something to someone else, I finally stop and say, “is there a better way to do this?”

And sometimes there is. I used to manually resize my picture frames to my image (by using dimensions, so it wasn’t horribly time-consuming) in Affinity. Until I wrote that book and realized there was a button I could press which would size the frame to the image. And that I could change my settings so my images always imported at 300 dpi. And that I could create a shortcut for insert frame break to save a bit of time when I needed one of those (which happens often when inserting two hundred images).

None of those were things I would’ve just sat down and figured out on my own. But when I’m trying to explain things to someone else, I do. Which means that even if a title doesn’t earn me a lot of money it saves me time because my own process improves. (I still want it to earn money, my dog is big, hungry, and vocal when not fed. It’s just a nice side benefit.)

Plus, there’s just a sort of puzzle-solving aspect to writing non-fiction. How do you get the right components on the page and in the right order so that someone stays with you and learns what you’re trying to teach them? It’s like a Rubik’s cube, except I can actually come up with a solution.

And finally I like to think that it helps others, too. I (perhaps naively) think that anyone can learn anything if they have the right teacher and put in the time. And since my mind works a little sideways to the norm, I like to think that maybe I bring a different angle to things which helps people see them from a different perspective that finally makes it click into place.

Yeah, so, there you have it. Sometimes I beat myself up for writing so much non-fiction instead of fiction (only one novel and one short story this year and five years since my last fantasy novel even though over a thousand people have bought that whole series at this point-eek), but I really do enjoy it.


Oh, and for those of you who are writers but not into writing non-fiction but were kind enough to read to the end…If you’re wide, don’t forget to check out the Google promotions tab because you can now put a discount on your books if people buy 2 or more books in a series. You can set it up for all of your series under one promo so it takes only a minute or two to get up and running.

Also, if you’re looking for new social media to join, perhaps Hive has worked its issues out and will be that next place for creatives to gather. It’s app-only right now so you won’t find me there anytime soon, but it looks like it could be that thing that’s big in a few years. (Just exercise caution in what you share there as you should with all online activity quite frankly. It’s young and will have growing pains.)

Okay. Back to it. This book is not going to format itself…

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at] gmail.com.

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