The Writer, As Observer of the World

Each morning, whenever possible, I walk in the fresh air, not too long after the sun has peeped above the far horizon. Being on holiday at present enables me to walk more frequently. I use the time to organize my thoughts, drink in a little of my surroundings, and collect possibilities. I take my phone for music. It is also there to enable me to collect photographic evidence. Surprises await the keen observer.

Since the age of about ten I have been enamored by photography. As a teacher and a writer, this love of the photographic image has been a most positive influence of my work, my life. It has aided my eye as a writer. It has piqued my curiosity. It has opened me up to possibility and enlivened my senses.  Small detail has become increasingly important. What takes place inside a camera can also take place inside your head. My eyes are alert to the magic that flashes before me.

As teachers of writing we need to be collectors. We must observe, collect and analyze. This documentation of specific elements of our world, our culture, is a source of inspiration. We are privileged to be able to research in this way.

I also collect to enable me to remember. Sometimes I collect things that initially appear meaningless or trivial. Other eyes may indeed, miss them completely.  However, the reflective process of writing often leads me back to an important realization or wider connection, and this means I am better informed as a writer. They become memory markers assisting me to connect to time and place.


The images I capture on my morning walks become potential writing topics and ideas. They assist me to achieve the vital link to new ideas.  The process of being informed is constantly renewed.

In order for student writers to 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 daily walking missions I find myself acutely focused. I am engaging in vital work. 


The observations I make and the evidence I gather shall become the treasure I share with these curious learners in the days to come. Now that’s an exciting prospect.




I urge you, dear reader to go for a walk today, right now if possible, and collect some of your own magic. Be an explorer of your world. Find a starting point for your writing ideas.


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