Why We Write

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.


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


1888 publishes contemporary novellas through The Plaza Literary Prize, an annual anthology of international short stories titled The Cost of Paper, and community essays supporting our Why We Write project. Click here to view our collection.


1888 Center programs are recorded and archived as a free educational resource on our website or with your favorite podcast app including Apple and Spotify. Each interdisciplinary episode is designed to provide a unique platform for industry innovators to share stories about art, literature, music, history, science, or technology.


Live events are produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions. Recent events were recorded at The LAB Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa, Cooks Chapel, Packing House in Anaheim, and 1888 Center in Orange. The Orange County Roadshow was supported by Affordable Housing Access.


This collaborative project receives submissions from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, England, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malta, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Scotland, Singapore, United Kingdom, and all over the United States.


Submit your essay for consideration. View the entire Why We Write Archive.

  • John Primm

    Even before there was any written form of any language we have expressed our thoughts. Even way before there were books there were cave paintings. Som...

  • Chynna Laird

    Writers are asked this repeatedly throughout their careers and, honestly, I’m not sure most of us can give a bottom line answer. It would be like as...

  • Alana Saab

    I write not for some man in an office with a stack of manuscripts that he will skim read with the worries and to-do lists of his day in the black hole...

  • Sadie Young

    I write because, as a child growing up in an unstable and often harsh environment, it was a way that I could create a world that made sense to me, and...

Artwork by David Moscati