Give a hoot, write a book

One urge I get when I start writing regularly is the urge to write another book. I’ve written (and self-published) three. One was an unfinished novel I published in its raw state a 2-3 years ago. The others were short ebooks I haven’t thought about in a few years. Maybe I’ll start a mailing list at some point and give them away.

I liked writing those books. Not so much the unfinished novel–when I write fiction, I tend to get bored after a week or two and never finish the story–but the others were experiences I loved, even if I never want to go back and read them.

I want to write a book again, but I don’t know the topic just yet. I don’t believe I’m enough of an expert on anything to warrant writing another book. I don’t feel like I was expert enough when I wrote books before, either. But this urge to write a book isn’t because I want to make money (although I do), nor is it to gain a level to recognition in an area (though I’d welcome it), it’s simply because I’ve found the process fun. And fun should be a big factor in these things.

There are a lot of different ways to write in a non-fiction setting. The two I’ve done are:

  • Information dumps. In my ebook Overcoming Caffeine Addiction (a title that makes me feel like a hypocrite nowadays), I mostly talked about quitting caffeine when I was in college, what happened to me, then gave off a ton of information about what beverages contain caffeine and how much they have. Information dumps are nice because they’re not particularly hard to write, but they’re not super interesting.
  • Lists. I like lists. It’s likely whatever I write next will be in list format again. My second book, 30 Things Nobody Told Me About San Francisco, was based off I blog post I once wrote, except it was longer and more detailed. The book was probably the best thing I’ve written–but I’d have to go back to confirm, and I’d rather not do that. The joy I find in lists makes it likely my next book follows in the footsteps of 30 Things. Maybe a sequel?

But there are other types of books I’d consider writing, especially in the non-fiction space. Some of them would be a personal challenge–to do things I’ve never done before–others may just be fun.

  • InterviewsA book of interviews isn’t necessarily the sexiest style (unless you’re a well-known interviewer talking to well-known people), but it’s something I’d enjoy. I haven’t conducted many interviews, but I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a lot of people I’ve never met (hooray for retail jobs!), and finding ways to click with folks is fun. Picking a topic I love and talking to others about it is intriguing to me.
  • Essays. I’m not big into essays. Well, at least not the idea of them. But real essays and school essays are far from the same thing. The freedom in real-world writing is far more powerful than the prison of academic writing. So while I may not be actively thinking of a book of essays, the idea isn’t unappealing. I mean, that’s what a lot of blog posts are.
  • Autobiography. I want everything I write to be at least somewhat autobiographical, unless I’m writing about a specific topic I have no actual connection to (then why am I writing about it?). Putting yourself out there for the world to see is tough, putting everything out there is tougher. I can’t go quite that far yet, but I’m getting there. Everyone has embarrassing or painful stories. Maybe mine will make their way out soon.
  • Collections. One idea I’ve had lately is to reach out to a bunch of different people with shared interests or skills and to create a collection effectively co-written by many different people. On my end, I would write the intro/ending, my contribution to the meat of the book, and any other filler areas. It would be more of an editorial role than a writing one, but its something I think I’d love, if the topic was right. This is one of those styles where I’m actively cooking ideas in my head.

I don’t know when I’ll write my next book. Or what type of book it’ll be. Or what it’ll be about. Or how long it will be. Or if it will even be any good. But I know I’ll write one. As long as I keep writing, I’ll get there. The ideas in my head keep coming. I powerless to stop them.