If you're an aspiring nonfiction author or blog writer (or both), you may feel that you don't have as much to write about as fiction authors. After all, fiction writers are only limited by their imaginations, whereas nonfiction writers can't just make stuff up. But if you think about it, that's not quite right. Some of the best nonfiction books take a look at old ideas through a new lens. And that lens is the author's imagination.
So whether you're struggling to generate new ideas or just want to break away from your current work in progress, we've got a list of great nonfiction topics to write about.
- Tips for writing great nonfiction.
- How best to pick from the list of nonfiction topics.
- Tips for vetting your nonfiction book idea.
Table of contents
- Writing Excellent Nonfiction
- Nonfiction Writing Prompts
- Creative Nonfiction Writing Prompts
- How to Vet Your Nonfiction Book Idea
Writing Excellent Nonfiction
For some people, nonfiction writing comes easily, whereas fiction is a little trickier. For others, the opposite is true. The fact is, writing nonfiction is not all that different from writing fiction. With the tips below, you'll see what I mean.
Use Creative Writing to Generate Emotions
Whether you're writing a piece of narrative nonfiction or a handbook on becoming an entrepreneur, you'll want to tell a story. After all, anyone can put down words that tell someone how to do something, but this isn't how great writing works. We're story-centered creatures. It's how we relate to the world.
So use a narrative to get your point across. If your readers feel something as they read your book, it's more likely to stick with them. And that's exactly what you want!
Keep Your Purpose in Mind
The writing prompts below are split into sub-sections based on the purpose they serve. While a lot of nonfiction is designed to help the reader solve a problem, this is not always the case. Some sub-genres of nonfiction are for readers who want to be entertained or informed. Luckily, it's pretty easy to tell the difference.
So whichever writing prompt you choose, keep your purpose in mind the whole time. Always ask yourself, as you write, if each sentence is serving the purpose of the piece.
Bring Something New to the Table
While the prompts below are fairly broad, they require an ingredient that I can't provide in this article: you. It's your job to bring the prompt or prompts alive with your own experience, imagination, and outlook. There's no use in writing a book, essay, or article that a hundred other people have already written.
But if you have a unique take on the subject, or can provide a compelling way to deliver the information to the reader, then you have a nonfiction piece worth writing.
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Nonfiction Writing Prompts
Pick a prompt below that sounds intriguing to you. Take a moment to think about how you would provide a unique perspective on the subject. Or, simply use them as writing prompts to practice your craft!
Informational Writing Prompts
First, we'll start with the informational nonfiction writing prompts. In other words, these are designed to solve a specific problem or explain something to the reader. These are often called expository nonfiction prompts.
1. Write about your health and fitness journey. Have you overcome any obstacles, tried any fad diets, or had any close calls? What can you share about your experience that can help others?
2. Write about your career or industry. How did you get to be where you are? What can you share about your experience that can help others?
3. Write about a skill that you have. How much time did you put into developing it? What practices worked best? What would you tell someone who is just now trying to learn the skill?
4. Explore your spirituality or religious beliefs. Finding ways to maintain your beliefs or practices is hard these days, so share with the reader how you've managed to do it, and how they can do it, too.
5. Write about finances. Are you better off than your peers? Have you been successful, or have you had major ups and downs? What can you share about your experience that can help others?
6. Are you an organized person? If so, write about how you stay organized. Don't skimp on the details of any systems or tactics you've developed!
7. Do you know how to maintain a home or a vehicle? If so, write a guide on how best to stay on top of regular maintenance while still saving time and money.
8. Have you overcome anxiety or stress? If so, share with readers how you stay on top of it while still functioning in society.
9. Do you know how to knit or make homemade decorations? If so, share your skills in a book or blog post.
10. Do you know all the best spots to eat, relax, or pass the time in your city? Write a guide of all the little-known gems to help people visiting for the first time.
Creative Nonfiction Writing Prompts
Unless you're a subject matter expert, you may be more interested in the writing prompts below. With the creative writing prompts in this section, you have a little more freedom when it comes to writing style. You can rely heavily on personal experience with the following prompts, as well, just make sure you're telling a true story!
11. Write about the most impactful time in your life. What lessons did you learn that other people would be interested in?
12. What does it mean to be happy? Is it possible to be happy all the time? If so, how?
13. Have you done any traveling, whether foreign or domestic? If so, you could regale readers with travel-writing stories.
14. Are you a fan of historical nonfiction? This nonfiction genre requires a lot of research, but if you have a unique angle on a moment in our history, it could be well worth the effort.
15. Write about a person who has influenced you without ever having met you. See if you can find and interview others who've been similarly influenced.
Memoir Writing Prompts
The memoir is a creative nonfiction genre in which everyone can write. Although it's hard to sell these kinds of books unless you're a well-known figure, they're great for developing the writing skill it takes to craft other types of books and stories.
16. Using a series of cultural or worldwide events, tell the story of your life. Whether it's a historic law that passed or the release of an impactful movie, see if you can weave important moments in your life into an entertaining narrative.
17. What does truth mean to you? Present times from your own life where the truth was important.
18. Write about what is important to you now. Has it always been a priority, or has the definition of importance changed over your life?
19. Write about a trip that changed your life forever. This could be a vacation, a road trip, or a simple trip to the grocery store.
20. Write about your life by describing the good times you've had with any and all the pets you've had over the years.
If you want more memoir writing prompts, we have an entire article dedicated to this type of narrative nonfiction here.
Personal Essay Writing Prompts
If a full nonfiction book sounds like a bit much for you, a nonfiction essay may just be the best alternative. This is a personal story told from the heart. It can be about almost anything, but most of these essays generally have to do with one specific topic or moment in the writer's life.
21. Try your hand at literary journalism by writing a series of articles about your life and achievements from the point of view of an impartial journalist.
22. Write a short story in which you are the protagonist and you're dealing with a real-life scary or difficult situation. What really happened, and what could you have done differently?
23. Everyone's afraid of something. What's the biggest fear you've worked to overcome? And how did you do it?
24. Write a personal essay about how music has impacted your life. What songs were playing at important events in your life? How has music defined who you are?
25. What makes you a unique person? What makes you the same as others? Write an essay on what it means to be an individual in a world full of individuals.
26. Think about a person you deeply admire. Write about why you admire them, exploring things like their personality traits, goals, philosophies, and other positive qualities.
27. Write about a location that holds a special meaning for you. This could be a home, a town, or even an entire state. Discuss how this place has impacted your life.
28. Pick a piece of work that has resonated with you. This could be a book, a movie, or a piece of artwork. Explore the themes it explores and why it has resonated with you.
29. The search for purpose is tricky for some. Whether you have found a purpose or are still searching for one, discuss what this means to you.
30. Explore a belief or tradition that is meaningful to you. How has it influenced your life, and why is it important to you? What positive effects have come because of this belief or tradition?
How to Vet Your Nonfiction Book Idea
There's a lot to like about being a creative nonfiction writer. In many ways, it requires the same skills as fiction writing, but with narrower parameters to keep you on track. No matter what kind of writing you like to do, the prompts above can help you hone your skills. But what about when you think you have an idea for a potential bestseller? Before you invest the time in writing the whole book (or the book proposal), it's worth vetting the idea. Luckily, this is easy to do with Publisher Rocket.
You can think of the information you get from Publisher Rocket as the foundation for your nonfiction writing career. You get insights directly from Amazon on:
- Keywords – Metadata to position your nonfiction book on Amazon.
- Competition – Allowing you to see what other nonfiction books are selling well and how stiff the competition is.
- Categories – Allowing you to position your book in the right categories and subcategories to increase your chances of success.
- Amazon Ads – Helping you quickly configure a list of profitable keywords for running ads to your published nonfiction book.
Check out Publisher Rocket here to learn more about using data to position your book for success on Amazon.