Finished reading Creative Nonfiction by Lee Gutkind last night–it is indeed a fantastic book–and am now about halfway through Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life by Philip Gerard.
I wasn’t sure what to make of the Gerard book originally–the reviewers on Amazon either loved it or hated it–but I really really like it now that I’ve read some more. It’s targeted at people who want to write detailed, well-researched nonfiction books on particular subjects (as opposed to essays, autobiographies, etc.). As such, it has exactly the information I needed on researching the subject, interviewing subjects, etc. that a less focused book wouldn’t have had. I’m on page 74 right now and I wish I’d read it years ago.
I can’t say that much has changed in the less-than-24-hours since the time I wrote the first blog entry on becoming a writer, but a great deal in my attitude has shifted: more serious, more determined to be semi-pro, more interested in the overall craft and less focused on my current project. Instead of whining about the amount of time it’s going to take to do the book, I’m focused on finishing it.
(This all got started, by the way, by my thought a few days ago that, if I was having trouble writing on the book, that I approach it the same way I’d approach (serious) training on the bike: with set hours and specific goals, and a commitment not to flake on them. That started shifting the way I look at things.)
I’ve actually started a second new blog, as Gutkind suggests: one a writer’s journal, to keep my thoughts about the book, attempts at doing new chapters, etc., and the other a personal journal in which to keep freewrites and othersuch. We’ll see how that goes.
In the interests of mobility, I’ve also bought a used laptop (on eBay)–a 1.2 MHz Dell ultralight that weighs just over 2 lbs and can be taken anywhere. (Despite being used, it comes with a 9-month warranty from Dell, which is one of the reasons I bought this particular one.) It was $470, which sure as hell beats $1500 for a new one, and it’s not a whole lot slower than the low-end newer models. I like the idea of an ultralight because they’re so portable–my old laptop (the one I dragged through half of SE Asia) was an ultralight, and I absolutely loved it. I’ll probably have to buy a new battery for it, but that’s easily obtained.