Why do I do this, why do I write? I haven’t asked myself this on the worst days, I haven’t asked myself this on the best days; maybe I’m scared of the answers I’ll find.
The ‘why’ is supposed to be important. It’s the backbone of modern-self help, the tool to discovering your purpose, the reason your business fails or not, and so on. And though I spend hours breaking a story into splinters so I may search the refuse for sharper insight; though I sift through books of grammar and sentence structure when I should be working; and though it’s 2AM and I’m chugging black coffee because there are still words to write. I still do not know why.
Is it my passion? Have I finally found you? Are you there, sparking from my plastic stroke taps, kindling in a crystal display? In elementary you told me: “don’t worry, everyone has a calling they’re meant to do, a thing that burns in you, you just need to be patient, you’ll find it”. You were right Mr. Jebber! Twenty years late, but goddamn you were right.
Or is it vanity? Do I want the world to sit beside this crackling fire I’ve built, to block out all others vying for their attention, and hear me, only me; and be warmed by my voice for the infinite moment it takes to drink in my words and my stories?
Or could it be escapism? Maybe the real world fails to grasp my attention. So I escape into secret intimate worlds, and live in invisible cities, and adventure with imaginary men, women, and creatures. Maybe this is my way of filling the world with more magic, something that I’ve never stopped wanting in my own life.
Or maybe I just want to create, tired of a life that emphasizes capital gains and corporate adherence as true marks of success, that scoffs at the individual creative because it does not fit the mold. Maybe I just want something to spawn from me, to echo me, something I can call my own.
It could be all these things, it could be none. In all honesty I do not know why I write. I only know one thing: I cannot stop.
When the task of writing grows inevitably arduous—and seemingly thankless—we must remember why we started. Inspired by George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Why I Write,” this introspective project highlights our motives for writing. Share your story and join the conversation. Live events are produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions.
- Write a 500-word essay explaining why you write.
- Submit via Submittable.
The 1888 Podcast Network is a curated collection of educational and entertaining podcasts. Each program is designed to provide a unique platform for industry innovators to share stories about art, literature, music, history, science, or technology.