What about the practicality of writing, from taking notes through to finishing the manuscript? How do you keep notes? What is your writing process?
I have a small notebook and I make notes all day. I don’t have a tape recorder. I take notes. Then at night, I write up my notes, write up the day. I don’t dread it, but I do think ‘I’ve got to do this.’ I write up the notes very fully. On some days those notes are quite long, sometimes a couple of thousand words.
So, at the end of the trip, you’ve pretty much got the book written.
Pretty much. link
I am working on my second, soon to be announced, non-fiction book. And, in terms of approach, I’ve been thinking along the same lines Paul Theroux describes above. I worked in much the same way as him when I went back to Việt Nam in 2013; note taking all day, writing up at night. The hardest part is leaving the recorder at home, but I think I know where he’s coming from. These kind of books are not Reuters reports. Dialogue does not always have to be verbatim.
For this second book, I have the bones laid out; I know the places I have to visit, I have a vague idea of the route I want to take, I have quite a lot of contacts in the country and I know the key things I need to experience. However, I plan to leave the meat to fate. I have a feeling that this way of writing has largely gone out of fashion, but it has also produced many of the world’s most enduring travel books. It’s time for a resurgence.
Be bold, be truthful and leave everything behind. This idea of disconnecting yourself is very important to me. People going to a place and phoning home, blogging, checking their Facebook, leave that all behind. Take a leap in the dark is the best advice I can give. Things will happen. link
The only other thing I am certain I will be doing for this second book is more, and better, sketches. I will be taking photographs, with an eye on snapping the book’s cover. I’m also thinking of shooting 200+ images with the Instax 210 to… do… something with.