How to be a great nonfiction writer

As writers, we are often challenged with the question of what is the best way of improving our specific craft. If you focus on the nonfiction genre, perhaps this question has crossed your mind. For example, what is the best way to improve my writing?  How can I convince my reader to stay with me from the title of my essay until the end?  These are questions that all writers ponder. Within this article, we will examine some of the best practices associated with improving your writing as a nonfiction writer.  So let’s get started!

  1. Hone your interviewing techniques

As a nonfiction writer, one technique that is imperative for us to master is how to properly craft an interview.  Whether or not your particular essay/article warrants interviewing someone is not as relevant.

The actual technique of receiving first-hand accounts will greatly improve your writing. For example, it is important that you effectively build rapport with your interviewee. You can accomplish this by paying attention to your body language. Are you displaying open body language? Are your shoulders relaxed, are your legs slightly open, is your face relaxed?  Your interviewee will pick up on all this and more, and this can very well influence how comfortable they feel and, as a result, the quality of information you gain from them.  Be aware of this throughout the interview.

  1. Hone your journalism skills

Nonfiction writers include (but are not limited to) journalists. Even if journalism is not your specialty, start to begin to think like a journalist. Describe in a neutral way the setting that you intend to capture (unless your intent is to have a biased perspective). While describing the scenery, be sure to paint a portrait of your subject in their environment. Try to capture how they interact with others and the natural scenery in their environment. This will give your reader more insight into who your subject is and make your piece more interesting overall.

  1. Proper research is key

Another important aspect that nonfiction writers must keep in mind is the research they choose to use for their written pieces. When conducting research about someone or someplace, be sure to use varied sources so that your reader can get more of a perspective of that person or that place.

Consider all types of research- books, interviews, videos, Google, everything. Anything that will add context for the reader will help your piece be more eye-catching and memorable. When you present research in your piece however, try not to make it as dry as first hand research tends to be. Add your own style to it. Don’t worry, you can do this and still present objective information!  This will help keep your reader engaged from the beginning of your piece until the end.

Nonfiction writers often have a difficult time getting into the freelancing world. However, if you keep these tips in mind, readers will be more likely to find your writing engaging and want to read it. So give these ideas a try, your future readers will thank you for it!

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