Gains v. Losses

Last week, we were tasked with writing two separate paragraphs about our upcoming re-purposing assignment – one in first/second person and one in strictly third person.  I initially did not think anything of this instruction, and was equally excited to begin work on both paragraphs.

I was able to quickly finish the first paragraph and, in my opinion, get my necessary points across to the reader. It “flowed” as I would say.  When I completed that paragraph and made my way down the page to begin work on the second, my mind went blank. Wait, what was the point I was trying to make? Who am I trying to get this point across to? How is it even possible to write this in the third person? 

I stared at my computer for over 5 minutes until I began typing words onto the empty white page in front of me.  The act of writing my thoughts and expectations about a paper without using the words I or you was exponentially more difficult than I would have imagined. Although there are potentially many reasons for this, I believe there was a specific reason for my personal struggle.

I have yet to fully choose the topic/purpose for my essay (although I have been thinking about it all weekend). Writing in the first/second person allowed for my exploration, experimentation, etc. and did not make me feel tied down in anyway to the topic that I chose.  When I switched to the third person, however, I felt as if I was writing an academic response paper and, because my topic is not fully concrete yet, the writing did not feel concrete either.

I enjoy writing in both tenses – but I do believe the final choice of tense leads to a very different experience for the writer, which in turn leads to a very different piece of work in the end.

Leave a Reply