One last writing-focused post for now, and this is to point you in the direction of the Royal Society of Literature and specifically their series of masterclasses. What's more, they helpfully post on their website 'top tips' from previous masterclasses and associated reading lists, so here, for example, is the kernel of Candia McWilliam's advice from her class on memoir and imagination:
"Read. Look. Listen. Remember. Read more. Re-read. SPY. COLLECT. Observe. TUNE IN. [Do not drop out]. Find the right word for the precise feeling, the word that sounds right and lies happily with the words on either side of it.You are weaving tight and close something that must feel light and transparent. To pay attention is everything. Nothing need ever be wasted."
Her reading list on the subject is here.
Colin Thubron on the evocation of place suggests:
"In travel, leave behind - as far as you can - all prejudice. Shed your own culture.
Take full notes as you go*. The vitality of description lies in its detail.
Don’t be too dutiful. Follow your obsessions."
And before you leave the RSL site, take a look at the society's marvellous archive of articles and audio recordings - what a rich resource it is.
*He must have a wonderful collection of notebooks!