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CHECK IN | Writing and Oliver Jeffers

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

I thought I should probably explain what is going on in terms of these random posts!

A few weeks ago I came across a TED talk by the author Oliver Jeffers. Truly recommend giving it a watch - especially if you are just about to go to bed (that's when I watched).

Soon after hearing this talk, I ordered two of Oliver Jeffers's picture books. One of them is called 'Here We Are: Notes For Living On Planet Earth' and the other is called 'The Fate Of Fausto'. Both, in simple words and pictures yet with big ideas, explore the relationship between humans and the world.

I found many of the short phrases which featured alongside beautiful illustrations in the books incredibly evocative, and one day copied them out even more briefly into my notes app. I have copied this list to the bottom of the post.

As someone who has a very strained relationship with writing, often doubting my ability to write in a sophisticated enough manner - especially in relation to essays - and often being too impulsive to make it a regular part of my day, using PICTURE BOOKS as stimulus for free writing exercises has proven to be transformative.

Giving myself 5 minutes a day to read one of these highly evocative phrases and, with a recollection of the incredible art that accompanies them in the book, write freely from it has been really enjoyable and easy.

I have started posted them on here to give myself a reason to keep going with this exercise (despite, admittedly, missing many days in a row now).

I would encourage other creative people who don't consider themselves to be WRITERS in the strict sense to pick stimulus which works for them. If that is something as simple as a picture book for kids, then that's no problem at all. It also doesn't matter how simple your writing is - it's still words on a page that didn't exist before.

My list of starting points:

How to find your way

Our solar system

Welcome to this planet

We’re glad you found us




You are a person

The most important things

We are all people


Your head is full of questions

Daytime and nighttime

Things can move slowly

Often they move quickly

There’s plenty left for you to do

There’s enough for everyone

Look after it

I won’t be far away

You can always ask

You’re never alone on Earth

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