Changing Perspective in Your Journal

What does “perspective” mean in English?

An early lesson in writing could include the subject of “Perspective”. Remember those English Grammar lessons at school? Remember learning the different points of view? Remember the difference between first, second and third person?

In case you don’t . . .

Three different perspectives:

“I raced into the kitchen, and helped myself to a huge bowl of ice-cream.” That’s first person. It’s happening to me.

Second person is used less often but you would have learned about that too. “You raced into the kitchen and helped yourself to a huge bowl of ice-cream.”

Then of course you have third person. “He raced into the kitchen and helped himself to a huge bowl of ice-cream.”

Perspective in journaling:

If you write your journal in the first person, which is the most common, you only see the events from your own point of view. “I helped myself to a huge bowl of ice-cream. An hour later, I curled up on the bed and nursed my tummy-ache.”

Second person in a journal works if you want to vent or “speak” to another person or character as suggested in the previous blog. “I was mad when I saw you eating that huge bowl of ice-cream. You should have known I’d like some too.”

But when you try to journal in the third person, the fun begins. It helps you to step out of the situation and see things from another perspective.

“She glanced around, then helped herself to a huge bowl of ice-cream. As she ate, she wondered. Why was she doing this? She wasn’t hungry. She didn’t like vanilla. In fact, she didn’t even like ice-cream all that much. She shoved the bowl, complete with spoon, into the freezer and slammed the door shut. The truth was, she missed Brad. When she was lonely, she ate. There had to be a better way of dealing with her misery. In fact . . . she looked around for the phone.”

Suddenly you begin to understand your binge eating and why you eat things you don’t even enjoy.

Looking at a situation from a different perspective

Another way to write from a different perspective is to look at yourself, or a situation, from a different time of life. If you’re struggling with a decision, try to write a letter to yourself as if you were your mother, or a dear friend of the family a generation older than you. Or write to your child or even grandchild, maybe not yet born, and explain your current situation and why you decided as you did.

By taking a step away from the situation, you may find it easier to see the long-term effects of the decision you’re about to make.

One last idea.

Change your perspective by writing to yourself twenty-five years from now. If that would make you 101, so much the better. Explain to yourself why you made the choices you’re about to make. Perhaps your older, more knowledgeable self will have some wisdom to share.

And of course, if you’re a fiction writer, you could just find yourself launching into a new novel.

And it all began with a bowl of ice-cream . . .