Writing for a Purpose

Before going to university, I had only ever written as an outlet for my creativity. I found it challenging to learn how to write for a purpose, I also found it difficult to understand the structure and concept of essays. It was something that I had never learned in high school, and the time between high school and university for me was fifteen years. The learning curve was very steep, indeed. I found that the more I tried to direct the purpose of my writing toward what I thought would appeal to the professors, the less successful and clear my essays became. This was even more pronounced when tasked with a topically uninspiring essay.

The key then, for me, is to stay true to myself.

I try to find something in the task that I have been given that inspires me and run with it. It can be the tiniest thread; the more I tug at that thread, the broader the topic I want to discuss might become. How is this relevant you might ask, since you most likely aren’t in university. These skills translate to the everyday musings and professional work of the writer and individual. If you find yourself writing blogs, stories, poetry, or essays that are not being received well or fall flatter than you may have expected.

It may be that you are writing with the audience in mind rather than what lights a fire inside you.

It can be a little more challenging to find a purpose for your writing when there has been no topic assigned to you. For instance, blogging has been another problematic prospect that I have been trying to throw myself into. I am lucky that I love learning and overcoming the unknown. Assignments for university come with a neat little topic that you can discuss and pick at for days or weeks. Blogging comes entirely from me, I must come up with the content, the topic, the question, and then answer it while remaining true to myself. This not only comes with the difficulty of working out if you have something interesting to say, but also the fear of rejection in a public space. I must set aside my fear, just write, and hope that what I come up with is well received. So, I resolve to write for me to give you pieces of myself and what inspires me in the knowledge that it will serve me best in the long run. Only I know what ignites my passion, and experience tells me that my passions are what serve me best.

With passion comes inspiration; I would even go so far as to say with emotion comes inspiration. Some of my best creative work has been written in moments of my most profound grief. Conversely, my best essays have been written on the minute niche of essay topics that have been assigned to me. Finding my purpose each time that I set out to write has helped me become a better writer. It has also ensured that I delve deeper into topics that I may otherwise have dismissed. Whether I write creatively or to discuss something factual, I strive to look for an angle on the subject that not only interests me but inspires me. You never know what you might come up with when you bring your perspective to something that may have only been looked at from one angle.

I have learned so much in the last few years. In particular, that anything is possible if you just keep throwing yourself at it. You can even learn how to write relatively good essays in your thirties. Honour yourself in everything that you do, embrace your uniqueness, and translate that into your work, whatever it may be. Writing for a purpose is a skill that I am still trying to perfect, it has become easier with time and practice, but I still have a long way to go, and I am excited about that. We are all capable of achieving great things.

My advice: write, even when you can’t bear it; even if you aren’t a writer, write your truth; you might just surprise yourself.

© Sarah Arber 2020