In the writing course I’m taking right now, we are encouraged to open ourselves to writing in genres we might not have previously considered. The lesson was on writing for the non-fiction market, which I have never given much thought to doing. I’m much better at coming up with a fictional story with made up people than actually researching a subject enough to become an expert in the field. I love stories about people, their personalities and relationships, so telling a story that happened with some creative embellishments is more my forte. But the assignment got me thinking.
Part of the assignment, if we’d even ever vaguely toyed with the idea of non-fiction, was to share what would we write about it, and what kind of marketing plan we would use for our idea. Lighthearted Dragonfly Readers who know me personally know that I grew up in a family that owned and operated a sand business on the Missouri River, so I started doing the “bubble method” technique of brainstorming to try to come up with enough ideas about sand that would sell a book. Sand alone doesn’t seem that interesting to me, but the story of how my grandfather got into the sand business is. Again, like my blog, it’s not something I could make a living with writing, but the fun I would have! I would love meeting with my uncles and cousins for lunch and recording the family history. We’re not the Busch family of Bitter Brew (thank goodness!) so this would lack the drama of a family tell-all, but what a great heirloom it could be for future generations.
My Grandpa, with only an eighth grade education, had a very good head for business. It was right after World War II and construction in St. Louis was booming. My favorite tale that I remember hearing was about how he borrowed money from my grandmother’s relative. The uncle was very suspicious of banks, so he kept all his money—cash, mind you—in cow manure piles on his property. My grandmother was embarrassed to go to the bank with the cash because it smelled, or so I’m told. From what I know about that relative, he would have his own chapter—he was really a character.
So I have yet another idea bubbling around in my brain that loves churning out ideas, but lacks the time to devote to another unpaid hobby. (Insert sigh here.) What about you? How do you balance your love of writing or another interest with a limited amount of time and energy? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.