This year has been a big one for me in a lot of ways, but one of the biggest things it’s been about has been coming into my identity as a writer. This year I’ve started to take writing seriously and treat it like my job. And it’s awesome. This decision has not only changed my identity, but also my process.
And I can encapsulate what that change looks like in one image:
It’s one of my favourite photos ever. I have others that are deeply precious to me – the one of Arty emerging into the world, the one SJ took of Arty and I on our first morning together, SJ and I nose to nose on our fifth anniversary – but this one is different. It sits on my writing desk and gives me enormous encouragement. It encapsulates my most fundamental writerly aspirations.
First, to take familiar things, and look at them from new angles. To examine them up close, and turn them sideways. To take them apart and observe their constituent parts until I come to understand them in a new way. To find fascination in the ordinary, and trust that there are always new ways to see the things I think I already know.
Second, to be so absorbed in the task of writing that I don’t have any attention to spare for worrying about how I might appear to others. To achieve that state of flow where the work is everything, and I couldn’t care less if I’m sitting cross-eyed in the middle of a cafe. I wouldn’t know, because I’m busy doing what matters to me, and I’m present, alive, and in it.
I keep this photo close to remind me that if I am engaging with writing the way Arty is engaging with that fork, I am doing it right.