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Define the Purpose of Your Writing


Establishing a purpose for putting words down on paper is a good way to get started. As nice as it would be to just start writing and have the words flow into something that is remotely marketable, in reality, it doesn’t often happen that way. Setting goals and identifying a purpose for the document helps to establish a direction and shape the content.

Most people write in response to a specific circumstance. It determines the direction and the audience for the document. It will also influence the subject, style, and organization. The text in the document then governs the communication of an idea, viewpoint, or interest that is being conveyed to other people.

It is a good idea start out with a clear plan and objective for writing, that idea should be evident in the title or, at the very least, the first paragraph. Basically, there are four common objectives or purposes for writing anything: to inform, to persuade, to express yourself, and to entertain. These should help the reader gain new information.

If the reader does not understand the focus from the very beginning, they may not finish reading. The reader needs to have a clear understanding of the ideas in order to be informed, persuaded, influenced, or entertained.

To Enlighten
Knowledge, whether personal or researched, is one purpose for articles. Creating a document is a way to share that knowledge with others. Information on a particular subject and written into a document for referral later is another way of staying informed.  Whatever the reason, putting the words on paper is a way to communicate that knowledge. Writing about information and submitting it for the reader’s enlightenment is a very common reason for composing a document.

To Influence
Everyone has his or her own style and viewpoint with regard to a variety of issues and topics. It might be a requirement to write a persuasive document as a class or job assignment. The purpose would be to influence the reader to understand and agree or disagree with that opinion. As an argument is created, the words used will enable readers to form their own conclusion. With a particular idea in mind, the document can be shaped in various ways.

To Express Yourself
Separate from persuasion might be the desire to just put ideas down on paper. It isn’t important that the reader agree or disagree in this instance. Use of a journal or diary encourages free flow of thoughts and dreams. This can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or script for someone else. Almost any genre offers the opportunity for self-expression. Each document possesses its own character and voice. It is a place to display images and feelings to the reader. The words simply state feelings and opinions without trying to influence others.

To Amuse
Whether serious or light-hearted, writing can simply entertain with the right hook by keeping an interesting attitude throughout the document. This approach often helps the reader to better understand the purpose and topic. Words might poke fun at people or institutions to expose their shortcomings and add that extra bit of depth to any writing.

By engaging the reader in the topic through the use of appropriate wording, the intent of the paper is conveyed to them.

Each document may contain a combination of any of the above purposes. Each paper has a specific objective that when directed to a particular audience can be enhanced by utilizing them. Once the specific intention has been identified, then it is a matter of deciding which “flavor” to pursue throughout the document.

The purpose of any document does not have to be limited to only one idea. When reading and enjoying articles or books that other people have written, keep these purposes in mind and search for them.

With focus on the subject matter, the reader is able to understand the main idea being described. Having a specific purpose for writing, defining the details, and then striving to stay on focus will help the audience determine its value to them.

Readers are expecting some likely outcome to their lives when they pick up an article. The writer’s skill at graphically explaining the topic will help the reader adapt to the many unrelated events throughout life.

To make each document more effective, it is necessary to define the reason for writing.