PURPOSE: The reason(s) or occasion for a piece of writing.

One always writes with a purpose even if that purpose is not to have a purpose.  In other words, free writing only exists and can only be defined in relation to non-free writing.  Often one has more than one purpose for writing something, which is at least part of the reason why the purpose(s) of writing is such a complex subject.  I think it is best to think about purpose in relation to genre and leave it at that.  One is always writing in a genre and attached to that genre are a set of purposes.  Even if you can’t name the single aim of your writing, you can name the genre.  Therefore, I suggest naming the genre and using that as a guide.  To some extent your purpose for writing can only be achived once your writing has reached its audience.  So let them worry about that.  Spend your time worrying about your audience.  You can at least attempt to control them even if you can never do so entirely.

Adapted from What Is Writing?: An Introduction to Writing as an Act and Medium of Communication (2015)

See Also: Professor Rodgers' Open Access English Handbook

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