Writers, let’s be someone else for a while

Writers spend a lot of time alone, and some of us write about ourselves way too much. Today, I invite you to put yourself in the head of a stranger. He or she could be walking or driving by. She could be the waitress serving your lunch, the kid putting gas in your car, or the plumber coming to fix your sink. He could be the guy sitting alone in the next booth, the sunburned teenager sitting on  a blanket with her friends at the beach, or the homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk near the grocery store.

Use your imagination and your acting skills to become these people and write from their point of view for a poem or story. Ask yourself: What are they thinking? What are they worried about? What are they looking forward to? What are they dreading? How did they get to this place and this situation?

If you’re strictly a non-fiction writer, can you think of an essay or article idea? Homelessness, loneliness, gas vs. electric cars, summer jobs, sunburn remedies, people multi-tasking while walking, etc.

If you’re home alone, think of someone you saw recently. For example, yesterday I nearly ran over a guy lying half off the sidewalk at 6th and 101 here in Newport. Sandy beard, freckles, wild blue eyes, heavy coat on a hot day. What’s his story? And why is no one, including me, doing anything to help him?

Get out of your own head and put yourself in someone else’s for a while. I suspect you’ll be pleased at the results.

Now go write.

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