Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

The purpose of being a serious writer….

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Aug• 06•17

The purpose of being a serious  writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are besides the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep  people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish to make something beautiful or smart looks vain in comparison. If people read your work and, as a result, choose life, then you are doing your job.

~ Sarah Manguso

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Dan Newland says:

    I think I’ve always done that naturally and just never thought about it quite like that before.

  2. Interesting quote. I read a lot, but would never say I’m looking to be kept from despair. It must come down to one’s interpretation of “serious”, because as serious as I am about my writing, that’s not my conscious goal. If it’s a fringe benefit, great, but communicating, entertaining, or educating seem more achievable.

  3. Jessica Morrell says:

    I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve known so many people that reading keeps them going through various problems and to stave off loneliness and depression. My father is 87 and reads 2 or 3 books a week. He’s been a reader since he was a boy, but since my mother died reading provides him real solace. And I cannot imagine a better nonhuman companion than a book.
    Thanks for checking in, Jessica

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.