In the spirit of full-disclosure, at least half of the blogs I follow are blogs about dogs. While these blogs may focus on a certain niche reader, there is a common post type that I often see on pet-related blogs: posts written from a different point of view. Namely, posts written from the perspective of the blog owner’s pet.
It is certainly a cute post style to read, and to write. For example, one of my favorite blogs, Love and a Six-Foot Leash, showcases a weekly column written from Chick’s perspective, the blog owner’s dog: “Chix-A-Lot Fridays.” As a reader, these types of posts offer a fresh perspective and a light-hearted way to break up the regular style of the blog.
Writing from someone else’s point of view doesn’t fit with all blog types, but it is an excellent writing exercise that helps you to refine your word selection and stretch your imagination. When writing in someone else’s voice, the process is no longer automatic. Instead, you first need to “become” that person, and then write.
When done well, writing from another person’s perspective sounds natural. In Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott writes about dialogue and the same rules hold true here: “First of all, sound your words — read them out loud.” Who knows what a dog’s thoughts, or anyone else’s for that matter, sound like? The idea is to not sound like yourself, and to sound effortless when doing so.
If you do choose to incorporate this exercise or style into your blog, it’s a good idea to make a clear distinction for your readers by using a unique title or preface. This helps to avoid any confusion, especially if you’re suddenly referring to yourself in the third-person. These posts are also an excellent option for a weekly feature, which can help to generate new post ideas and can refresh your regular writing schedule. If you’re writing as a fictional character, be sure to provide background for your readers. If you’re writing as one of your pets or kids, add some pictures for context.
This ability to stretch your writing so that you can express what it’s like to be someone else is an excellent exercise. Even if you find that it won’t work well with your blog in particular, I strongly believe in using writing exercises to help improve as a writer overall. Try it out privately or share it with a friend — it’s a lot of fun and can even be pretty therapeutic.
Have you ever written from someone else’s point of view on your site? If so, how did you incorporate it into your blog? If not, have you ever tried?