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How to write a nonfiction book

Nonfiction is Life

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… and Life is Nonfiction

Have you seen the movie Hidden Figures yet? I give this nonfiction movie 5 stars, and it exposed me to another angle of Black History Month. Until I saw this movie, I never knew that three female African–American mathematicians were instrumental in the early days of NASA. They weren’t just instrumental, they were crucial to John Glenn’s orbit around the earth! Why hadn’t I heard of this before?

This month gives us the opportunity to recognize and applaud the contributions that black men and women have made. From artists, to poets, to politicians, to religious leaders, to authors, to sports figures, to business men and women, to scientists, to everyday people, this is our appointed time learn more about these people and to celebrate their accomplishments.

black history nonfiction

Nonfiction sports history

My husband is a baseball fanatic, and we recently visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. What a treat! Negro leagues were formed due How to write a nonfiction bookto segregation laws, and they ran strong from 1920 until they started their decline in 1945, when Jackie Robinson was recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers. They produced strong players like Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Roy Campanella, LeRoy “Satchel” Paige, and—of course—Jackie Robinson. Think any of these athletes made history? You bet your boots they did! They were a strong force in the civil rights movement, although all they really wanted to do was play baseball.

As I think about our effort to find 117 solutions to our most pressing problems in 2017, I’m drawn to the racial divide that has plagued our nation almost since its inception. It’s a big problem, and we need to find solutions.

Nonfiction contemporary conversations

I like what is happening in St. Louis, particularly through an organization called Mother 2 Mother, where 11 black mothers share their stories with “thousands of mostly white attendees…” Their purpose is to expose other women to the “dangers and realities of raising Black sons in America regardless of the socio-economic status achieved.”(source)

How to write a nonfiction bookI attended one of these conversations and was dumbstruck by the things these black mothers endure that have never been part of my life. Their sons are consistently pulled over for no reason and, in some cases, have been handcuffed and taken to the police station. One woman’s daughter was told to go to the back of the school bus by some teenage boys, who were never punished, and it happened in the priciest zip code in the St. Louis area. As I heard these mothers – doctors, attorneys, scientists, and professors at Washington University – talk about what they and their kids battle on a daily basis, I shrunk in my seat and thought, “There has to be a solution to this.”

117 Solutions in 2017

We are looking for solutions to problems like white privilege and the racial divide. How about you? What do you know, what have you been through, what have you discovered or developed that can help others? What inspirational nonfiction book could you write that will bring hope to others? Please join us in our effort to find 117 Solutions in 2017!

The purpose of 117 Solutions in 2017 is:

  • To create a groundswell of solutions to problems that have, until now, seemed too big or impossible to resolve
  • To unleash the answers that are trapped inside of people
  • To change lives, save lives, and transform society
  • To use your life and your gifts and your resources to MAKE THINGS BETTER. Not because you must, but because YOU CAN!

 


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Black History Month — Start by Celebrating National Freedom Day

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Today, February 1st,  is the first day of Black History Month. It is also National Freedom Day. With fun and silly National “something” Days like National Talk Like a Pirate Day and National Popcorn Day, it’s easy to overlook important commemorative days like National Freedom Day. This year, I want to appreciate National Freedom Day and everything it stands for throughout Black History Month.

National Freedom Day commemorates “the signing by Abraham Lincoln of a joint House and Senate resolution that later became the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery on February 1, 1865, although it was not ratified by the states until later.” (Source)

It’s an excellent way to begin Black History Month. It’s a day to celebrate freedom for all people, particularly for African-Americans. Black History Month highlights those who contributed to our nation, before and after the abolition of slavery. And what is history other than the stories of people who suffered, fought, and persevered? It’s a time to remember the incredible stories of those who helped make our nation what it is today. Stories are important. They connect one generation to another, and I particularly like the famous Black poet, Maya Angelou’s opinion about stories:

Do you have an untold story inside of you? Even if you’re not a writer, you can still tell your story. You’re the only one who has your story. You’re the only one who can tell it.

I’m particularly fond of Maya Angelou, partly because she was born in St. Louis, Missouri, where I live. But what really draws me to her is her wisdom. She has depth and speaks truth that we need to hear. This is one of my favorite quotes of hers:

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Stories, more often than not, involve pain. Experiences are not always easy or pleasant, but they make us who we are. They shape us and the world around us. The world can be a scary place, but we can find comfort in shared experiences, shared stories. Stories build bridges and create connections.

I encourage you to spend National Freedom Day and Black History Month reading stories about black Americans and thinking about your own story. Your story could be the voice of hope and help that someone needs. Join us to find 117 Solutions in 2017 , so we can find 117 Solutions this year to some of our most pressing problems. It’s your story and only you can tell it.


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