Revision: Uncreative Writing

Your love of the unexplored, the innovative, and the creative is overused and uninspiring. You love the brand new and hate the existing. Regardless of the context, you insist that what we write be different from anything that is already out there. I say that it is time to rethink this philosophy. Of course you are stuck in your old ways. Of course you believe the current method is the only method but it is time to welcome to something new.

We must welcome what Kenneth Goldsmith calls “Uncreative Writing”, an unconventional yet pragmatic approach to writing. The beauty of this philosophy is that it does away with the roadblocks. There is no frustration due to a lack of ideas or ambiguity on the best way to express those ideas that are so difficult to come up with.

Instead, the legwork for this process is in the actual research for sources. There is in fact an element of creativity in this “uncreative” writing. For example, “uncreative writing” requires us to be resourceful in not only the search for sources, but also in the selection and compilation of those sources. We must be able to effectively extract and combine certain parts of existing works and then merge that selection with other completely different works in a harmonious way. Thinking about this process is actually somewhat extraordinary. In traditional methods, we design a work from the ground up with a specific vision. We are able to alter the trajectory of our work in any way that we see fit. On the other hand, in the “uncreative” process, we still have a vision but must first fragment existing visions and trajectories, and then combine them using a very minimal amount of glue. The end result is our personal vision made from the vision of others.

This technique is the ultimate literary expression of modernity and innovation. In the world we live in today, we are constantly being flooded with ideas and information from a wide variety of mediums. Traditionally, we temporarily acquire such ideas and information and then maybe reflect on it. Ultimately, though, we usually end up discarding this new knowledge. This process allows us to repurpose this information that would otherwise go to waste. This is similar to the concept of recycling. When you recycle a can, the can is not simply discarded and wasted, but its strong core properties allow it to reborn into something new. The recycling of both existing literary works and cans represents maximum efficiency as you reutilize an existing resource multiple times instead of creating new resources to fulfill the same quantity of functions.

While the idea of “uncreative” writing is very new and unfamiliar for you, it is important that you keep an open mind. We have been forced to be creative (in the traditional sense) for too long to the point where we are fed up with it. Although you may consider using the ideas of other people to be sacrilegious, it is also progressive. Regardless of where you stand on the idea, it is imperative to remain open to experimentation in order to promote further development of the literary arts.


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