Some people ask me why I don't write nonfiction, since I have so much to say about college, post-college blues, and so forth. The answer is relatively simple, and I think Kurt Anderson, author of True Believers, says it best:
The Pleasure of Writing Fiction
Whenever I write fiction, I often feel excited and intrigued. There's a certain sense of euphoria I undergo when I'm imagining as opposed to reliving in nonfiction.
For me, writing fiction is more like recreational sex, whereas nonfiction is like being a pornstar. With fiction, I am creating something new and really reaching into my imagination, whereas in nonfiction it's more like trying to look good on camera as I repeat the acts I've already done. Like Anderson, the only real joy I find from constructing a piece like an essay is having written. That is, when the story is ready to ship off, I am happy to be done with it. Sometimes with fiction, I don't want the story to end.
I've created new characters and events that I could explore for the rest of my life. When I finish a short story or novel, sometimes there's so much editing and leg work to be done that I am happy when the material is available but never want to look at it again. During the process, however, I couldn't enjoy anything more.
Nonfiction is almost the opposite experience for me. The entire process makes me want to quit early on. I don't know what it is. It's kind of like playing the guitar versus playing the piano for me. I love to write or learn new songs, because there's some sort of intimacy behind it. Piano on the other hand . . . Let me just say I admire anyone who has perfected it. The same goes for nonfiction authors.
Will I ever write a nonfiction piece? The truth is, I've written several, but I've never tried to have them published. I've been toying around with the post-college blues concept for awhile. I think I might be too lazy to do all the research. Or it might be that I'm not sure which angle to tell it from. Or maybe I don't want to relieve my past. Besides, in nonfiction you have to work a lot of freelance gigs before most publishers will even consider your proposal. There's another point: I prefer to have written the novel and polished it before proposing the idea for publication.
In short, I see myself eventually diving into the nonfiction world. For now, I'm working on getting His Daughter out there and writing a zombie novel tentatively titled The Illness.
What Brings You More Joy, Fiction or Nonfiction?
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.