What is the purpose of writing?

From the Quora question "What is the purpose of writing? When you write a book, do you care more about what is in your own mind...?"

I think Sam Moss nailed it in his answer, but I'll offer a few additional thoughts....

If we differentiate craft from style from form from subject, we end up with different responses to your question. Without some level of craft, an author's writing would be incomprehensible gibberish, so a focus on refining craft (as separate from style, form and subject) would seem to be mainly in consideration of communication with readers. Style, on the other hand, is more about an author's personality; about finding one's own unique voice and approach to the material. In fact, I would say that conforming one's style to the expectations of others is lethal for a writer's muse. That material - the form and subject - is what I would perceive as the middle ground between accessibility and/or appeal to readers, and a writer "caring about what is in their own mind." Choosing a form (poetry, short fiction, novel, journalistic exposition, academic essay, etc.) and subject on the one hand demands conformance to reader expectations, but on the other will need to resonate with the writer as well for them to have any enthusiasm about writing it.

For me, form and subject have the greatest influence on the purpose of a given creative undertaking. When writing love poems, I hope the object of my affections will appreciate those feelings - and comprehend my poetry! When writing essays about some obscure topic, I generally am just clearing the cobwebs out of my head, with little or no consideration for a reader - sure, I still try to be clear and complete in my thinking and self-expression, but it is mainly an exercise for my own satisfaction. When answering your question here, I am trying to describe something complex in ways that make sense in a generally accessible way. When I wrote a science fiction novel, I tried very hard to conform to the conventions (i.e. expectations of the average reader) for that genre. When I journal, it's most often an exercise for me alone, working through some internal process or just reflecting my own thoughts back to myself.

My 2 cents.


Trackback specific URI for this entry

This link is not meant to be clicked. It contains the trackback URI for this entry. You can use this URI to send ping- & trackbacks from your own blog to this entry. To copy the link, right click and select "Copy Shortcut" in Internet Explorer or "Copy Link Location" in Mozilla.

No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry