The Ericksons

Change Your Perspective


change your perspective

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is P for Change Your Perspective.

.When you change your perspective you can be more creative, whether you are writing, doing visual art or any of the other artistic endeavor. Even outside of the arts, it’s helpful to change your perspective. In your daily life, you need to change your perspective not only to empathize with family, friends, and coworkers but also to problem solve.

Saving the World

One example of this is frequently seen on the CBS drama (also seen on Netflix), “Madam Secretary.”  As the Secretary of State, Elizabeth McCord encounters a new crisis every day. Despite the fact that these situations seem to leave her with no good solution, she needs to come up with a plan. Often, in the company of her family, she sees things through fresh eyes and devises a plan that everyone can live with. By the way, I highly recommend checking it out “Madam Secretary” if you liked “The West Wing.” It has a very similar feeling to it.

What about Visual Art?

Any type of visual art you do can benefit when you change your perspective. Sometimes that means changing the media you use. Even changing the lighting will affect how the piece looks and how the viewer feels as they experience it.  Consider daylight savings time. Not everyone has daylight savings time where they live, but those of us who do, know the eerie feeling when the clocks roll back in the fall and it’s suddenly dark at 4:30 PM. We have to change more than the time on our clocks. We need to adjust when we go to bed, because our bodies don’t care what the clock says. It’s like jet-lag without the vacation.

You can also, quite literally, change your perspective

These are two pictures of the same object. This is a spearfishing decoy that my daughter Emily painted and entered in a contest.

Change your Perspective

Here is the same fish, competing. It’s with all of its other fishy friends trying to stand out. Unfortunately, it didn’t stand out enough.

Change Your Perspective

Now think about how the viewer would feel about this same decoy fulfilling it’s true purpose as it catches the eye on a fish in the water. This is also affected by something that as an artist you can’t control: The opinions and experiences the viewer brings to the piece of art.

Point of View

There are countless ways to tell a story.  As a writer, it’s essential to consider how the reader is going to receive the story. The basic theory behind point-of-view is more than just deciding which pronouns you will use to tell the story. It’s also about distance. How close are we going to let the reader get to the action? One of the things you can do to improve your fiction is to choose a scene that isn’t popping. Rewrite that scene using each of the following points of view and see which one suits your story’s needs. Each will have its own benefits and drawbacks. Be sure to take your time with this. It shouldn’t be too daunting with the aid of your computer.

1st Person

1st Person is very intimate. When you change your perspective to 1st person, you put the reader inside of the narrator’s head. However, that narrator may not give us the whole picture because everything will be seen from their point of view. We’ll get their opinions and may even end up being manipulated by them. If you have a specific reason for using this point of view, it can really work to your advantage. It often feels awkward for readers, though. And readers are hesitant to trust the narrator completely which can interfere with their ability to become immersed in the story. Weigh the pros and cons of this and change your perspective accordingly.

2nd person

2nd person is rarely used in fiction because it’s kind of weird to have a writer talking directly to you. This is more commonly used in non-fiction writing like this blog post. I’m talking to you about how you can become more creative by changing your point of view.

3rd person

3rd person and (its derivatives) is the most common point of view. We are getting the story from someone who isn’t a part of the story. The pronouns “he,” “she” and “they” are used, but never “I” or “you.” You can have this 3rd person narrator peek through one of the characters eyes. This is called 3rd person limited. This gives the reader a more intimate view of the story, while still keeping a big picture point of view. Otherwise, you can use an omniscient point of view. This gives the narrator (and thus, the reader) a bird’s eye view of the story. Some people feel this POV prevents the reader from feeling the intensity of the story. Stephen King is known as a master of this point of view, and I sure feel the intensity of his stories.

There is more than traditional point-of-view to think about.

Who is telling the story? I recently read “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey. This book was fascinating from a writer’s point of view. He used first person POV extremely well. The wonderful thing about it was not only the POV he chose from a technical standpoint but the particular character he chose. Let’s face it; the story takes place in an asylum. There were endless possibilities of who he could have had told the story.

He chose “Chief” Bromden. Ken Kesey had a keen interest in the Native Americans that lived in Oregon along the Columbia River. This character was interesting on so many levels. He had chosen to play deaf/mute for years; so we are pulled into the book by a voice no one else is able to hear. The other thing that was so essential to the book was the metaphor of the combine. He spoke in literal word pictures about machinery and this combine (the system) that was going to roll right over them. As a Native American, he had experienced this in a literal sense. Now in the asylum, he sees the combine in the form of Nurse Ratched.

Change your perspective

Choose which perspective you use for your story, or any other form of art, intentionally and wisely. Try different perspectives out on a smaller scale. Think about it for a while and then change your perspective to the one that best fits your needs.

While you’re here, sign up for my email list to get a periodic email newsletter to encourage your creativity.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My books The Memory Maker’s Journal and Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, are available at Amazon.com.

I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.

Have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you! By commenting, you agree to the terms of my privacy policy.

10 comments on “Change Your Perspective

This is a tremendously useful and helpful post, Heather. I truly appreciate all of your examples of changes in perspective. I’m going to try a bit of writing from each of three perspectives – great idea!
I’ll also check out Madame Secretary. I adored The West Wing.
Have a good day, Heather.

Hi Karen, I have been considering this a lot lately. By changing perspective you can change the whole focus of the story you are writing. You will like Madame Secretary.

The older I get, the more vested I am in my perspective so I appreciate this reminder of why I shouldn’t be.

Not a fan of 1st person? Personally, I prefer it. As a child, I wouldn’t read any book that wasn’t a 1st person POV. I had to be coaxed out of that.

I’m a big fan of changing perspective – even in the smallest ways it can really create an expansion and shift energy. And making a habit of doing this is helpful in keeping us “bendy” – which is my term for staying flexible and adaptable.

I definitely would have voted for Emily’s fish.

Thank you, Deborah. 🙂 I love changing perspectives, too. My favorite books have multiple POV’s. I keep hearing that this isn’t looked at too fondly by publishers, but I sure see a lot of multiple POV books out there (and I love them!)

Hi Liz, I loved 1st person as a young person, too. I think it’s easier for kids to relate to the 1st person POV. As we get older, that usually changes, though. It really is a matter of personal taste. Have a great day!

Hi Jacqui, I think we all struggle to let go of our perspective in favor of another. We struggle to let go of our writing perspectives, too. How different a story is when told from a child’s point of view as opposed to a parent’s…

It’s interesting from a storytelling point of view and also from a life P-O-V If we take the time to see things from the perspective of others we learn to have a more open mind and to see that there is often more than one viewpoint – lots of grey areas – and no definite right or wrong quite often.

Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
Q for Quality not Quantity

Hi Leanne. I see that more clearly, the older I get. When I was younger, it was much more difficult to realize that my ideas weren’t the only ideas of value. Have a great day!

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