Character Sketching

Recently I’ve been going through Journal to the Self, by Kathleen Adams, and learning about different journaling techniques. (This has been an ongoing fascination). I tried one of her ideas and it was so fun and helpful, I wanted to spread the word: character sketching.


A character sketch is a written description of someone, which helps you get to a clearer understanding of your relationship with that person, what you admire or find difficult about them, how they might mirror you, etc. But, a character sketch does not have to be about another person; it can also be about you. And it doesn’t have to be real — it can be about how you want to be in different situations or how you would like to be perceived, or you can even write one about someone you haven’t met yet.


The first character sketch I wrote is about me, from the perspective of the people I work with (and the second one is also about me, spoiler alert). I had been thinking about my work relationships and wanted to really understand/be honest about who I am at work, how much of my genuine self I share, and even what questions or critiques my co-workers might have for me. Writing it helped me figure out a couple of changes I could make to be more genuine and engaged, and it helped me feel more grounded at work, as well.


The second one I wrote is from the perspective of someone on a date with me. (This was in the “not real” category — more of an ideal version as opposed to a specific experience). It was written with a deeply honest look at who I want to be when it comes to allowing a relationship to develop. How I want to be perceived (ex. curious, genuine, unrushed). What changes I could incorporate after having had different experiences. Also, we talked a bit about this earlier, but sometimes it’s really hard to relax and just let things unfold. Writing out what that could look like and reading it over made it seem a lot simpler and less scary.


Do you have any thoughts on this? Is this an exercise you’d try?

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