Walk a Mile in Different Shoes

Yet again, mom was right–“Walk a mile in another’s shoes”, she used to tell me. It’s a cliché, of course, but the expression has profound impact not only in life but also in writing. Walking in someone else’s shoes cultivates empathy and helps create more interesting characters.

Take our good friend Shakespeare, for example: in a highly creative use of point of view, his comedy Twelfth Night follows a woman named Viola, who washes ashore after a shipwreck, dresses up as a male servant, and falls in love with a male Duke. How’s that for trying out new perspectives? As Women’s History Month draws to a close, it’s a good time to consider “point of view” in writing. Men and women often have very different perspectives and experiences. Instead of being obstacles, however, these differences can make for dynamic and interesting writing.

Today’s writing prompt is an invitation to embrace different points of view. There’s nothing more challenging than trying to see the world from the perspective of someone else, but doing so is always an enriching experience, especially for writers.

Think about what makes another’s experiences unique and/or different from your own. Then, sketch a scene in which you write from the point of view of someone of a different gender, nationality, sexual orientation, age, etc. Write from the point of view of someone as different to you or your typical character(s) as possible.