Life is full of changes. These transformations happen in every area of our life, including those of us who call ourselves writers. Aging ain’t for sissies.
How has your writing changed over the course of your life?
Personally, from recent experiences, I realize that my writing and what I am interested in writing about is far different from what it was as a kid in my twenties.
As a young writer in my twenties, I was primarily interested in reading and writing fiction. Made up stories featuring heroes and villains battling it out for the greater good. These past two years have changed what I care to write about.
What’s caused this?
For starters, graduate school has sharpened my writing and research skills. As a graduate research student working on my Masters’ degree in Managerial Science, I spend a significant amount of time writing. Nearly every week in the last 18-20 months, I have pounded out a minimum of one 8-10 page (usually two), academic paper. Each semester, I have had to write a major research paper or create a semester ending graduate project. Often, the papers due each week are longer. Research papers run 30+ pages and require a lot of reading and demand a ton of research to boot. The projects involve learning new technologies and employing new tools.
In the process of my studies, I have read more non-fiction books than I probably did in my entire life previously. I have fallen in love with the genre. The books I have read span a variety of topics including managing generations, ethics, leadership, organizational development, operations, teams and technology, work in the 21st century, management, and company cultures.
I have grown to love the non-fiction genre and find myself reading creative non-fiction, personal essays, and watching documentaries. Having turned the corner of age 50, I find that what I am interested in writing has been influenced by all of these new, stimulating inputs.
Naturally, this is influenced by my pursuit and interest in theological subjects and all-things Jesus. Spiritual growth is important to me and my beloved Sweet T. So, I read a lot about faith, God, and redemption.
Having spent over 20 years in active recovery, I also have a great interest in stories demonstrating life change is not only possible, but happens every day. I find God stories are all around me, just waiting to be told.
A student of people, I love writing stories about my interaction with folks that I meet in the most ordinary places and of people who have transformed my life by their presence in it.
Writing non-fiction is different than writing fiction, just as academic writing differs from creative non-fiction. However, like in good fiction, the creative non-fiction writer must begin with a good story. Otherwise, nobody is going to read it. As is the case in a fiction story, a creative non-fiction writer relies on compelling, vibrant characters to weave their tale. Non-fiction giants such as Ron Chernow, Walter Isaacson, and David McCullough tell good stories through the eyes of intriguing characters. Their talents rival that of any major fiction author.
In addition to these more renowned authors, I have discovered great essayists N.T. Wright, Seth Godin, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and Lee Gutkind. My journey has led me to the brilliant Haydn Shaw and in-depth, detailed writing of Peter G. Northouse.
What about you? Do you find your writing interests have changed as you have grown as a human and spent time on the road of life?