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How to Change Your Perspective

Have you ever visited a tourist location then browsed Flickr only to find everyone seems to have taken the same photograph? One of the principal techniques of better photography is to move around, look at the scene in different ways, approach from new angles. The same is true for writing. While the direct approach, the writing equivalent of taking a picture from where you stand, might not be the best you can produce.

Yes, there is a lot to be said for developing a writing instinct. It will certainly allow you to produce content at a brisker pace. Spending a little time exploring a topic, poking and prodding at its submerged pockets, could take your idea from being just about “ok” to sock-popping splendor.

Blogs that make an effort to stretch, to break out from norms and provide something unique are the ones people remember, talk about and return to. Do you aim to be one of those blogs or a me-too?

We will be tempted to simply think of what you need to say, impart it, maybe fiddle with the headline a bit, then hit “post”. The trick is to spend time working out what the bones of the article will be. Bullet point the facts and put them into some sort of order. After you know the basic map it is now a case of how you explore the landscape.

In writing we have many ways to express an idea. You could write it as

  • a story,
  • a letter,
  • a discussion,
  • humor,
  • suspense …

It’s not just those sorts of styles that could help you spice up your writing:

  • Could you take an opposing view, show both sides as it were?
  • Zoom in to one tiny detail, or take a 1000 feet clouds-eye view?
  • The more theatrical amongst us might like to see the world from a fictional characters viewpoint.
  • Perhaps call in friends to provide their take in quote form? I asked Darren to provide a quote for this post …

Every day thousands of bloggers jostle to draw attention to posts that say largely the same things as the next blogger. One of the keys to rising above the noise of the rest is to find a way to explore the topic in a new and fresh way.

Maybe changing where your blog, your physical perspective, could impact your writing? Try writing from a cafe as Darren does, or from a park bench.

It might all sound like a lot of hard work. What is the point of this exercice?

The fact is if we get stuck in a routine, if we don’t try to mix it up a bit, then we will lose our mojo which will cause our audience to be less engaged.

Having an occasional break out of the norm keeps all of us on our toes. It’s also fun sometimes to have a play with your writing so that it doesn’t become a chore.

Which ways do you change up your writing? Do you know anyone who has a particularly off-beat way of working? Please share in the comments …

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Comments

  1. Chris,

    you made a very good point! Anyone of us experiences the effect of changing perspectives every other day: just head for a 1-2 day city trip. You’ll return with lots of impressions you wouldn’t have if stayed home.

    Concerning Blogging or twittering it seems somewhat difficult to me to let users really share your perspective(s) since I’d have to describe the frame of m perspective: where am I, what do I see, who is with me, what is temperature, etc.

    But – if your readers do not know all that stuff – they start to use their creativity 😉

  2. Chris,

    you made a very good point! Anyone of us experiences the effect of changing perspectives every other day: just head for a 1-2 day city trip. You’ll return with lots of impressions you wouldn’t have if stayed home.

    Concerning Blogging or twittering it seems somewhat difficult to me to let users really share your perspective(s) since I’d have to describe the frame of m perspective: where am I, what do I see, who is with me, what is temperature, etc.

    But – if your readers do not know all that stuff – they start to use their creativity 😉

  3. Funny, I’ve had the opposite problem: striving for consistency in tone and voice and not going all over the road.

    But I break things up by exploring different media, such as videos and slidecasts. New and fresh is something that I strive for constantly. Some of the best ones are where I revisit the basics.

  4. Funny, I’ve had the opposite problem: striving for consistency in tone and voice and not going all over the road.

    But I break things up by exploring different media, such as videos and slidecasts. New and fresh is something that I strive for constantly. Some of the best ones are where I revisit the basics.

  5. Funny I wrote a post about this similar strategy a while back that stemmed from a visit to the orchestra. My friend had seats behind the orchestra so that you actually looked over the shoulders of the musicians out into the audience. What was especially remarkable about this perspective was that in the particular piece they were playing, there were lots of hidden musical effects like strumming the rims of crystal water glasses or slowly rotating Chinese balls in one’s hand, that literally go unseen by those in the direct-view audience. All of which reinforced the notion of changing one’s seat, literally and figuratively, in order to get a new and fresh take on the same-old same-old. You would be surprised at the things we miss.

  6. Funny I wrote a post about this similar strategy a while back that stemmed from a visit to the orchestra. My friend had seats behind the orchestra so that you actually looked over the shoulders of the musicians out into the audience. What was especially remarkable about this perspective was that in the particular piece they were playing, there were lots of hidden musical effects like strumming the rims of crystal water glasses or slowly rotating Chinese balls in one’s hand, that literally go unseen by those in the direct-view audience. All of which reinforced the notion of changing one’s seat, literally and figuratively, in order to get a new and fresh take on the same-old same-old. You would be surprised at the things we miss.

  7. Chris, we may in fact be twins, separated at birth, but born on different years. Or maybe we just think very similarly.

    In any case, I know where that picture was taken. My office is just back, over there. Can you see me? I am the one waving.

  8. Chris, we may in fact be twins, separated at birth, but born on different years. Or maybe we just think very similarly.

    In any case, I know where that picture was taken. My office is just back, over there. Can you see me? I am the one waving.

  9. Ed Erickson says:

    A quiet place, a pencil and a notebook, a cup of coffee. Really pours out the thoughts. I find it often easier to enter into the creative zone when *outside the box* of the computer.

    I like the bullets to landscape concept. Going to share that one with my 9 yr old daughter. She’s my budding novelist/poet.

    I sure do enjoy your blog Chris. Nice to see Michael’s name up there. I’ve really come to appreciate his thoughts over the last few weeks after your recommendation of his blog.

  10. Ed Erickson says:

    A quiet place, a pencil and a notebook, a cup of coffee. Really pours out the thoughts. I find it often easier to enter into the creative zone when *outside the box* of the computer.

    I like the bullets to landscape concept. Going to share that one with my 9 yr old daughter. She’s my budding novelist/poet.

    I sure do enjoy your blog Chris. Nice to see Michael’s name up there. I’ve really come to appreciate his thoughts over the last few weeks after your recommendation of his blog.

  11. You make some very good points! It can be advantageous to think open, think different. A professor of mine use to say that, “perception is reality.” It makes sense to change perceptions from time to time.

    — Jason Simon

  12. You make some very good points! It can be advantageous to think open, think different. A professor of mine use to say that, “perception is reality.” It makes sense to change perceptions from time to time.

    — Jason Simon

  13. Great ideas, Chris.

    I’m writing this from the hammock in my back yard in your honor. It really does help!

  14. Great ideas, Chris.

    I’m writing this from the hammock in my back yard in your honor. It really does help!