Timothy Smith

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been one of the most vivid and eager storytellers … in my own mind. During summers when I was a child, my adopted brother and sister, both my own age, left to attend summer camp every year, while I stayed home alone. I didn’t really understand why they got to go to summer camp for ten weeks while I couldn’t, but I began to invent adventures in my own head that more than made up for what they got to experience. The experience became all the more delicious when I began to write down my stories.

As I grew into adulthood, I stopped writing the stories so much in favor of collecting them in my mind. School, the military, and then graduate studies took me away from what I call my first love. However, as academic duties lessened, I began to return to my writing. Very soon thereafter, I realized that I didn’t want just one type of writing to characterize me. Thus, I began writing; first screenplays, then novels, then short stories, and then poetry all followed in cascade fashion. Eventually, I stuck my toe into non-fiction writing, beginning with creative non-fiction stories about my life growing up as the last of eight natural siblings. The more I wrote, the more I realized there was about which to write.

Indeed, I had a lot about which to write externally, but it was my inner most imaginings and musings combined with my love of science fiction writings, TV, and movies that spurred me into writing mostly about worlds that existed outside of my own. With time, elaborate stories began to take form in my head faster than I could get them down on paper or typed into word-processing software. My mind would create amazing detail, which when transferred onto paper, made for gripping reading, or so people have often said to me.

With encouragement from people whose opinions I valued, I knew I could write to bring unusual characters to life, which I enjoyed. I write to stimulate my over-active imagination, and to reap the rewards of that stimulation by creating worlds, situations, and scenarios in which others could invest. However, I also write to elevate the reader to the same titillating pinnacle that I experienced when I first started reading. Shamefully, I write as well to admire my own aesthetic beauty of expression. It is difficult to convey the sense of accomplishment and catharsis I experience at competing a work of writing. In addition, each new completion is a stepping off point for another such beautiful excursion. I write to engage the reader in the depth and durable sensation that written prose has on human emotions. Indeed, if someone tells me that what I have written made them laugh, experience excitement, or weep; then I have fulfilled my destiny as the writer I have always wanted to be. Writing to me will never be thankless, because I’m thankful it’s a gift.



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.

  1. Write a 500-word essay explaining why you write.
  2. 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.