Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Change in Perspective

By Lacey Gunter

As a picture book writer much of my editing time is spent figuring out what I can take out of my texts and still maintain the heart of the story. Words are a very expensive commodity in picture books so one has to be sparing and pick them wisely.

Picking what should stay and what should go is often a difficult task. Sometimes it requires a change in perspective. You have to step back and take in the big picture to distinguish the body of the story over the unnecessary details.

I recently found a surprising parallel in my journal writing. Until recently I had always bought into the idea that journal writing is 'supposed' to be a daily endeavor and any truly faithful journal writer was diligent enough to at least try to record things daily. Yet, I often struggled with what exactly to share. Many of my days seemed unexciting or at least similar to the day before. So what exactly do you write about on a daily basis? With this perspective I often lost motivation and steam and stopped trying after only a short time.

A couple of months ago I decided to try something totally different. In an effort to make our Sundays more meaningful, I decided to sit down with each of my young children and help them write a journal of their weekly activities. After just one week of doing this with them, I discovered it was dramatically more easy to write something when looking over the perspective of a week than just a day. I decided to try this with my own journal keeping.

Wow what a difference that perspective change has made. Instead of looking at the one inch square of daily life and trying to make sense of  and interpret the few different colored lines scratched into my day, I am able to step back and see the entire portrait of my week and discover how the pieces fit together to make a meaningful and interesting portrait of a window of my life. Best of all, I am actually excited to do it, rather than dreading it.

Tying that back into your writing, if you are stuck in a rut on a current WIP and can't make sense of what to do or where to go, take a look at it from a new angle.  Is there some rule, assumption or idea that is unnecessarily tying you down? Are you focusing in too closely on a minor piece of the picture and  trying to make sense of small bits of plot or character?  Try letting go of the perspective you are stuck in and step back to see the big picture.  It  may give you just the perspective you need to see how all the pieces fit together discover what is most meaningful.


  1. Sometimes a change of perspective is a good thing, ok it is usually a good thing just saying

  2. Oh I sure like the way you think! I've haven't been able to journal daily since I was a teen due to the exact same reason...major lack of interesting content. Your weekly idea is superb. Same with the writing tips. Thank you!

  3. This is a wonderful perspective on a change of perspective! This year one of my goals has been to write in my journal once a week and so far it's been just perfect. I'm so wordy and dramatic about life in general I could probably fill a journal with my day-to-day, but I don't have an hour to write in my journal every day and it would be a boring read. :-)

    I love how you tied this back in to our WIPs- so important to take a fresh look sometimes.



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