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To: The Purposeless Writer

Here I offer a brief rumination on the joy of writing purposelessly.

As I write, I often think: Who am I writing for? Why am I writing?

Of the Stephen King’s and J.K. Rowling’s, whose stories garner international acclaim and usher forth a wave of visual media adaptations, they provide an answer swimming in financial security and celebritism.

Then there’s the freelance journalist who writes as an independent body, effortlessly transitioning from one publication to the next, constantly adapting to their newfound environment, and reaping success each time.

Meanwhile, academia has provided me with a response encompassing only the praise of my professor or immediate peers, where following the rubric is king to success.

Of these types of writers, each has a purpose to either sell, inform, or contribute to an institution. But to my fellow hobbyists or busy-bodies—who treat writing as a pass time, rather than an occupation—what purpose do we have?

Many consider writing for oneself as contrary to the expectations of our capitalist society because it is difficult identifying its benefits. When viewed from a sociological perspective, a capitalistic ideology demands us to spend every waking moment as an opportunity to produce solely for the sake of gain or profit. It’s a mindset that places our value as individuals on our ability to output as much as possible.

The purposeless writer is faced with this dilemma the moment they dare to open a blank document. Unlike the author, journalist, or student, their reason for writing isn’t deliberate or marred by a set deadline. It’s far more interesting.

The Difference

They write simply for the hell of it, unconstrained by the need to achieve a certain expectation or produce the next literary masterpiece. The purposeless writer has a certain lack of constraint that few creative souls possess and writing without purpose is a beautiful thing.

Should you choose to approach your next writing session through this lens, know that writing without purpose does have its merits:

  • We ease the tension brought by the need to achieve or gain

  • There is freedom in the forms and structure we can approach the crafting of sentences and ideas

  • To write without purpose is an exercise of reflection and contemplation

Writing at its core has always been a creative pursuit. However, it seems now that this once indulgent activity has knotted itself within the mullings of work and duty. When we begin to associate writing as work, we lose that sense of wonder and joy that initially charmed us.

Writing purposelessly reminds us of that spark to chart the unexplored, investigate the unexamined, and find freedom in expression.

About the Author:

Aaron Talledo is currently pursuing his BA in English at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He finds inspiration from literature, music, and film and expresses creativity through writing. In his free time, Aaron enjoys fitness, meditation, and video games.

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2 opmerkingen

09 jun. 2021

I love this! I definitely had the same feeling finally popping the bubble of academia I contained myself in for so long. There is so much joy in writing without a goal, without a publishing or a letter grade in mind or achieving some end! After being burnt out and publishing my 80 page creative writing thesis, I almost felt detached from writing. Writing for no one but myself was a great way to feel like myself again and get closer to my identity as a writer. Thank you Aaron!


Mei-Mei Mijares
Mei-Mei Mijares
09 jun. 2021

Thank you for shedding light in how internalized capitalism affects our creativity! This is awesome, Aaron! Definitely resonate with this feeling

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