Always watching: a key skill for writers

Allison Tait blog
Posted on April 28, 2014

alwayswatchingallisontaitMr10 left this little message on the back of my notebook. I found it after he left for school this morning. I wasn’t sure whether to be freaked out but, after hastily glancing over each shoulder and determining that he was not, in fact, behind me, I decided that I would instead be inspired.

Always watching.

It sums up one of the key (sometimes overlooked) skills for writers (and one I also wrote about here).

I am always watching. The woman with the large black bag who stole from my local supermarket after pretending she was looking for a lost child. I knew that she hadn’t really lost anyone, she was nowhere near frantic enough.

I am always watching. The little boy I know who tells an outlandish story and peers up at you from under his fringe, looking to see if you believe him, changing the words to match your expression.

I am always watching. The old lady who asks for four lamb cutlets at the butcher’s shop, then catches herself, sighs, and changes her order to two.

Always watching.

I might have this little drawing printed on some Moleskine notebooks and sell them at my (non-existent) Etsy store.

What would you write in yours?


  1. Sam Stone @ A Life on Venus

    Mr10 seems wise beyond his years.
    I think I would have “Always listening” too. I seem to be the one that people tell their stories too. Even people I have just met seem to tell me their most personal things. Apparently Samantha means “listener” though 🙂

  2. Rae Hilhorst

    I’d write ‘save me please’ on the back of mine. Your little one is awesome x

  3. Lucy

    I’d also write “always listening” too…to the words of the world, and my inner voice…xx

    • Allison Tait

      Thanks Kel! You can help me with the design and manufacture of my world-beating notebook range. 🙂

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