We write stories about strong, ass-kicking women. Chapters of novels that never come. We read with flashlights under our covers, and set our alarms an hour early to read more before school. We’re eight years old. In the following ten years somehow that writer girl gets lost. We dream of singing and acting, but tell adults we’ll be teachers. We write about being thin and attractive and popular, and then tear out the pages one by one.
We write for an introductory creative writing course when we’re freshmen in college, and are scared to tell our friends how much it means to us. We write because our professor tells us to start acting like a writer, and we get defensive for some reason even though we think we aren’t one. We read when the professor challenges that our favorite author is from the eighteenth century and tells us what a canon is and asks us when was the last time we read something by a contemporary non-straight-white male.
So we keep writing, and reading. We read stories that are different than ours and so beautiful and painful and nearly perfect that we take a break from writing because what have we done that deserves to be read anyways? Then we read a mediocre New Yorker story, so we start writing again.
We write and we write and we write. We write in first and third and second person point of view even though we don’t like that one very much. We write when we should be submitting.
In workshops we’re called a writer and we can’t suppress our grin. We’re also called age-ist and ableist and reverse sexist. We’re asked where the climax is and where the plot is and what about the sex, so we keep writing to figure out if we’re able to write any of those things at all.
We write because even though we’re bad at journaling and keeping a routine and meeting a deadline that isn’t external, we couldn’t imagine not writing. Because when we write stories about couples in cooking classes or teenaged girls baking cakes with blood, we feel like a lifetime’s supply of jokes and glorification at the writer’s expense are worth it. We write to find that girl writer and all of the ass-kicking and weak and joyful and flawed female characters yet to come. And maybe some men, too.
We write because we were writing all along.
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.