The Writer As EXPLORER- Things on the Ground PROJECT

Each morning, when possible, I walk in the fresh air not too long after the sun has peeked above the far horizon. Being on holiday at present has enabled me to walk more frequently.
This morning though, as part of my summer writes I followed the lead of Keri Smith in her book, ‘How to be an Explorer of the World’ and set out for my morning walk with the words ‘Everything is interesting, look closer’ singing in my ears. My project was to take photos only of things found on the ground. Using my iphone I walked my usual route, pausing to snap items that caught my eye.

Since the age of about ten I have been enamoured by photography. As a teacher and a writer, this love of the photographic image has been a positive influence. I believe It has aided my eye as a writer. Small detail is important. What takes place inside a camera can also take place inside your head.

As teachers of writing we need to be collectors. We must observe, collect and analyse. This documentation of specific elements of our world, our culture through research is our lifeblood. I also collect to enable me to remember. Sometimes I collect things that initially appear meaningless or trivial, however the reflective process of writing often leads me back to an important realization or wider connection and I am better informed as a writer.

To have students grow into close observers of their world, we must lead them into new territories and methods of investigation. So, as I set out on my mission I found myself acutely focused.

The images I captured on my walk have become potential writing topics and ideas. They will assist me to achieve the vital link to new ideas.

I am already thinking about my next visual project. Maybe, the next focus (pardon the pun) could be, ‘things on walls.’  This was fun. It was easy and it was instructive. My summer writes continue. These images will go into my notebook. They will inform me as a writer. Anything can be a starting place…


  1. I'm going to have to check out this book. I like this idea. My art teacher friend and I have a dream of creating a photography/writing/digital storytelling class. This book sounds like it could help us! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to read more from your summer writing.


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