Fiction Versus Non-Fiction

As a writer, I have two wolves inside of me. One is called Non-Fiction, and the other is called Fiction. They are constantly fighting. Which one will win? The one I feed.

Okay, that is not how that story is usually told, but it’s a good representation of something I believe about the writing process: every bit of time and energy you dedicate to non-fiction is a piece of time and energy your fiction is not getting.

Case in point: I took a new job earlier this year, in the March/April timeframe. My main WIP was around 55K at that point. I had to write guidance documents for both my old job (for the benefit of the co-workers who would be covering those tasks) and my new job (for my own benefit).

Today, the fiction WIP is 67K, the Vella project (started after new job) is maybe 4K-5K, the WIP guidance document for new job is 13K and counting, and guidance document for old job is 9K. I’m happy I took the new job: it’s interesting stuff, and it came with a bump in pay. But where would I be on my fiction project without it? Probably a lot further along.

This is why I am not a very prolific blogger, and why I generally try to avoid expressing political opinions or reviews of media I consume on this blog. I don’t want to be a pundit or a reviewer, I want to be a novelist. Off-hand, I can think of maybe six authors I enjoy where I would read their fiction and non-fiction works with equal enthusiasm, and five of them are dead. I’m not saying I couldn’t be that good some day, because I honestly don’t know the answer to that. But I’m certainly not there now.

Something to keep in mind, if your fiction keeps getting sidetracked by Things You Have to Blog About. What kind of writer do you want to be? What kind of writing is the most essential to you?


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