WHEN I started doing less acting work in favour of writing, I started to feel a real sense of victory that as a writer you can turn up to a meeting looking a bit like you haven’t bothered.

Acting wasn’t like that; it was all “Do your nails, Sadie”, “Brush your hair, Sadie”, “Sadie, make sure you’re not wearing your bed leggings.”

As a writer, you can mostly look like a right state. In fact, the scuzzier you look, the cleverer they will assume you are.

If I stopped brushing my hair altogether – something I’m probably only two years away from – and started wearing things like corduroy jackets with egg down the lapel, and glasses so smeary it’s like I’m peering at the world from another dimension, they would probably think I was a goddamn genius.

I’d have to keep my mouth clamped shut so they didn’t twig I was a twit, but if I chucked some more crumbs down my front and swilled some cheap red wine like it was Listerine before I went in, they might place a modest bet on me winning the Booker in the next five years.

I like to imagine by the time I’m 50 if I really junk up my look I could be a mute drunk borderline vagrant, pushing all of the major literary awards around in a shopping trolley. It’s a nice dream.

It becomes easier as the months roll on to imagine a time when appearance means less and less.

Maybe even the day when I enter into a self-nullifying zone on the outskirts of zen enlightenment.

Where I almost don’t exist as a physical thing, just thoughts in a happy bubblesack.

And yet.

And yet there are things that make me think “Wait. Pause this nonsense. You have a body. Own it before it’s too late.”

I did a photoshoot with a friend recently. But instead of being the awkward idiot needing to swig rum to loosen up in front of the camera, I was behind it.

We’d rocked up to a studio in Camden to try and get some shots for her show poster.

She said encouraging things like “I think you’ve got the eye, Sadie.”

And I said “I’ve got two eyes, Deborah, but I’m not sure either of them are it.”

I felt the need to instantly tell the proprietors of the studio that I was a moron who had no idea what she was doing, so they wouldn’t watch me faffing about with a lens cap like it’s a monacle and think “that girl couldn’t find her way out of an open door” and they would be semi right. Sometimes I miss doors and walk into windows.

It’s just respectful to the hard work of window cleaners.

There’s something nice about forgetting you exist and just watching other people. I think that’s why I like writing.

You recede behind a line and watch and see what happens.

And it’s easy to watch your friends.

Deborah is a beautiful woman, and I got to see her go from awkward to businesslike to demure to ‘strong independent woman’ to outright sexbomb, warming her way up through the gears to the levels of optimum sass.

And it was wonderful, to see my friend unfolding like a flower.

I loved being that side of the camera waymore than all the times that I’ve had to try and ‘find the right face’ myself, and though it didn’t make me want to re-appraise my newfound love of being the unobserved, it made me appreciate the importance of learning how to be visible.

It really would be a shame if we let the prioritisation of our physical selves dwindle to nil.

After all, we fight to keep our inner bodies alive through illness, so why not fight to make the most of our aesthetic assets too.

And women have to fight harder to love our older selves, much of the maleled worldmakes it hard; it seems a shame to bow out of feeling fabulous too early.

Letting people see us is a beautiful thing in itself. It lets the people who love us enjoy us more.