Write to understand.

The most precious writing of my life is in a letter a girl wrote me. I read it once, when I had already fucked our relationship up beyond saving. I remember phrases from it, and I would give an arm to read it again. But I know I never will. She told me she wrote it to make sense of why she had fallen in love with me, not to send it to me. 

I understood.

If that sounds like a tough way to understand things, it is. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

Because most of my writing is just that: a way to make sense of my own ideas, ambitions, and failings. I have never been unsure of that: That my writing is an attempt, mostly, to understand.

Over the last year, I have been able to write something consistently: A newsletter, constructed in essays, on marketing. Has it been successful? Within a circle, yes. Can it have a wider readership? Yes. Can I hustle to make that possible? Yes. 

But that’s not why I’m writing what I’m writing. I’m writing because for a long time I was not sure of myself as a marketer. I got good at it gradually, building skills and momentum and confidence. And the newsletter is an attempt to articulate where I’ve come with my marketing. If you understand, I’m writing to understand.

And that’s exactly why I think it has become valuable for others. They recognise my writing as an attempt to make sense, and it attracts those like me – trying, thinking marketers – and they stay. And read.

So what I’m trying to say is this: Don’t write to make a point, to expound, to hold forth. Write to understand, to make sense, to assimilate, to categorise, to classify – even if all of this is just for yourself, especially if all of this is just for yourself.

And if sometimes that’s a love letter you never send, so be it. Whoever it is for will understand.


Sairam Krishnan is a reader, writer, and marketer in that order. You can find him on Twitter at @_sairamkrishnan.