Episode 86—Noah Strycker on his Big Year in Birding, Community, and What to Leave Out

Noah Strycker, author of “Birding Without Borders,” hopped on the podcast this week.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Noah Strycker (@noahstrycker on Twitter and Instagram):

“I had to be pretty brutal about picking out the things I thought were the highlights. 3 1/2 weeks in Columbia was distilled to one or two sentences.”

“The momentum generated its own momentum.”

“I’m not a very fast writer. If I write 500 words in a day I’m pretty happy.”

“My best advice to people who want to write in any capacity. Just do it. Get started. It doesn’t matter where you’re published.”

My guest today for Episode 86 of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast is Noah Strycker, author of Birding without Borders: An Obsession, A Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World. [Free shipping anywhere in America! via Tsunami Books!]

This is the show where I speak to the best artists about creating works on nonfiction: leaders in the worlds of narrative journalism, memoir, essay, radio, and documentary film where I tease out origins, habits, routines so that you can apply those tools of mastery to your own work.

Noah connects with these lovely little critters and his knowledge of them runs deep. His quest to see the most birds in a single year yielded a world record of over 6,000 birds touching every continent. In this episode he talks about:

  • How he got so obsessed with birds
  • How he chose which scenes stayed in the book vs. which ones got cut
  • Not being a very fast writer
  • And not overthinking the process of writing

The bookstore I work at, Tsunami Books in Eugene, OR, has several signed first printings of Birding without Borders. Visit tsunamibooks.org  and add as many BWBs in your cart as you like. Free shipping anywhere in America. Not bad for a signed first printing if you ask me. The link will also be in the show notes.

Dig the show? I’d love it if you subscribed wherever you get your podcasts and leave an honest rating or review on iTunes. If you do, and you send me a screenshot of that review, I’ll edit and coach up a piece of your writing of up to 2,000 words. You give you get. People have been redeeming this and I think they’re happy, and I know I’m pleased with the response and candor of the reviews.

Also, I’ve got this pretty slick email newsletter that goes out at the start of the month. That’s right, just once a month. In it you’ll find my monthly book recommendations, documentary films recs, and what you might have missed from the world of the podcast.

The podcast and the newsletter is my little way of building a community around telling true stories. I hope you join in.

That’s it for this week. Till next time, have a CNFin’ great week, friends.