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. 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.

Why We Write: Orange County Tour

We are taking our Why We Write project on the road with an Orange County Tour. Live events will be produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions. Each event will be recorded for audio podcast and video documentary.READ MORE

Hege Anita Jakobsen Lepri

I write to hear my grandmother’s voice
-and to silence my Mom
I write to meet who I could have been
-and to change who I am
I write to remember the hardest blows
-and to forget the scars READ MORE

Elizabeth Solazzo

I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love. I tell myself the secrets not easily shared with others. I soothe myself with the written word and find the comfort others cannot give me. I pour out grief and sadness over long ago hurts that now matter only to me. I encourage myself through my written words, reassuring a lost little girl that she is loved and perhaps more importantly, liked. READ MORE

Tamara Proschek

Because I have to. There is something about the feeling you get as the pen in your hands leaves its mark on a page, something that reminds you that “I am here”. Of course I am always here, you might say, to which I’d reply, not quite in the same way. How lucky for me that those words rhymed. Writing reminds me and those who write that they are feeling things that they do not know they are feeling, that they know things that they didn’t know they knew. READ MORE

Nadia Greasley

Writing is the Opposite of Letting Go

Writing came to me later, after I had my children, when I was searching for a medium that would help me reflect on life. Ideas of short stories started to pop up in my head while I was at work, so I began to jot them down in a note book, paying attention to my writing voice. The note books fattened as I wrote extensively about plots and characters. I became a closet writer and collected citations, beautiful words like rare flowers, and plenty of writers’ advice to comfort me. READ MORE

John Burns

Initially, I wrote because I couldn’t speak. Well, this is not strictly true. I can speak. Some days I can even speak quite well. But some days I can barely speak at all, and, good or bad, up or down, it’s always a struggle. Let’s just say that an ability to speak is not something I can rely on at any given time. READ MORE

Adrian George Nicolae

I remember back when I was in a theatre, my teacher (the late, great Catalin Naum) asked me and my colleague why we want to be actors. We came up with variations of “we like it and enjoy it”, but Mr. Naum said “because you have something to say.” It wasn’t something I particularly thought about, then again, I was new to the arts at that point, trying to do different things with my life, branching out of my comfort zone, which, funnily enough, I didn’t realize I was doing. READ MORE

Gina Luongo

I write because I lost my leg and my sister within two years of each other. Fighting cancer and surviving a suicide wiped away any trace of life wisdom I thought I had. Loss after loss left me empty and confused and angry. A pen became my sword. It thrust my pain to the surface of the paper from the recesses of my heart. Words flowed. Memories of my last conversation with my sister alive, I recorded quickly after her death. Carrying a journal to every doctor’s appointment calmed me in the endless hours of waiting. Paper was the channel and writing was the balm. READ MORE

Sarah L. Blum

Having gone through the Vietnam War as operating room nurse at the 12th Evacuation Hospital at Cu Chi in 1967, then struggling for years to heal myself following that horrific year, I was trying to make sense of it all through writing and to help others by sharing my experiences. Healing was the driving force behind writing for me. Then in the midst of that writing, I felt a call both internally and externally to write about the issue of sexual assault in the military. I was not prepared to do that, yet the call to fulfill my spiritual mission was strong. I put it off for years and eventually could ignore it no longer. READ MORE

Chila Woychik

Letter to Annie Dillard

You were born the day Hitler died. April 30, 1945. And reading you makes me brave. READ MORE

Osadolor Williams Osayande

Being experientially human enacts developments and declines, summarised into how much of the corporeal and incorporeal world receives our plumbing and harnessing, while contemporaneously maturing into consciousness. This has informed my stand on purpose – especially the acme of its sort being self-development – and instilled a dutiful quest to embrace all the faculties within my nature. Modestly, I give my definition of self-development (to purport why writing remains a task ineluctable) as: The optimum realisation of self in relation to God, and the donation of such a realisation to humanity. READ MORE

Tom Moran

I was always looking for ways to amuse myself during the summer between the third and fourth grades. I might try to see how high I could get the swing that hung from a limb on the big tree in our backyard. Nearly every day I lined up small rocks and, if I had them, pennies, on the tracks that ran down the middle of Wyoming Avenue in front of our house and waited to see what happened when the GR Suburban trolley rumbled over them. READ MORE

Tom Wade

When I was young, I didn’t master the mechanics of writing until my mother sat down with me one evening and showed me how to compose a short piece for my English class. I had to make an argument for a position on a controversial matter, which involved citing the opposing points and refuting them. She taught me how to organize my thoughts, and I got an A-. As a result, I not only felt smarter than I had a right to feel, but I had, for the first time, the confidence to participate in an intellectual debate. It was exhilarating. READ MORE

Christina Rossi

I write for a very simple reason: because it’s what I know what to do. There are so many things I don’t know how to do (and the list gets longer as I age) that it’s comforting to write: “this I know how to do.” READ MORE

Florence Tannen

I write because I like to, need to, and want to. I write because when I do, I feel that I have been heard and I have connected. Even if no one reads it, I have gotten it out. READ MORE

Edward Kos

Though there is no such requirement, I have always sought to be truthful in my writing. For some, sharing their writing comes to the basis of simple principle of the perception of ‘Good and Bad’. Is the poem good? Is the poem bad? What needs to be changed? Does it need work? READ MORE

Gabriella P Gasparini

Why we write?

Madness. Utter madness. Mad are those who keep all the words and don’t write. Egoistic. Greedy. Keeping all those little serifs, commas and unfulfilled full stops to themselves. Crowded. CROWDED. Overcrowded minds full of nonsensical sentences spurted out through their vocal chords rather than diligently through paper.READ MORE

Joseph S. Pete

I write because I’m a reader first.

I write because as an awkward teen I spent countless lunch hours hunched over a book in the musty, largely empty high school library. I write because I devoted long lonely weekends trekking to faraway library branches with wider, more exotic collections. I write because of the endless hours I whiled away parked in a comfy leather chair in a Barnes & Noble or Borders, plowing through stacks of new titles while nursing the dark, bitter coffee that doubled as a parking meter fee. READ MORE

Stephen Ground

I write because I desperately need to be creative – and since I can’t paint, or sing, and I waited until my late twenties to start hacking my way through an instrument in earnest, it was an easy choice. Thanks to parents who put books in my hands from the time I had fingers, I developed an early love for words that bordered on the impractical. They were good to me and I was good to them, or so I tried, at the very least. READ MORE

Noelle Sterne

Demons, like invisible mosquitoes, circle, alight, nip, bearing germs of frustration, depression, despair. They say, You must do it or you will die. READ MORE

Mbizo Chirasha

Like Zimbabwe, most states in Africa are endowed with creative acumen and literary prowess. Zimbabwe, the country north of the Limpopo and south of the Zambezi, exudes both talent and natural endowment, while the country is faced with unending political paradoxes, social and economic ironies. READ MORE

Andrea Smith

I’ll just say it: the reason I mainly write is vanity and it’s natural to me as breathing. I see the world with different eyes. And since I can’t rant to everyone writing it down is a way to express myself. Take the show Bad Girls’ Club for example. I thought it was appalling how their ridiculous behavior was promoted. The fights the drunken nights were appreciated or at least encouraged. READ MORE

Anna Delamerced

I write to understand.

Or at least, to try to.

I want to know the world around me, and its people, and myself. READ MORE

Adele Gardner

I write because I love stories and books so much I want to be part of them. I want to delight others the way books have delighted me all the days of my life. I want to live in that creative, magical zone I shared with my siblings during early games of pretend. I want to participate in the great literary conversation with those writers and books I admire. READ MORE

Sean Hooks

Writing, all art really, is 20% work, effort; 20% craft, execution; 60% talent, genius. I write simply because I have a knack, a gift, a skill. READ MORE

Rochelle Asquith

We write because we have to. That’s the short answer. But that isn’t a very useful answer. On a superficial layer I carry on writing because it would be embarrassing now to stop. I’ve told my family and friends that that’s what I do, so that’s what I do now. But there’s a lot of things at the moment trying to distract me from writing. Netflix, Twitter, Instagram, the News; thankfully, writing is the perfect antidote to these distractions. They can become consuming in a bad way sometimes. With any kind of art, you have to spend time on it. You can’t lazily make a painting, an essay, a story. Well, technically you can, but it won’t be very good. And after all, it’s only when you’ve read really bad writing that you can truly cherish good writing. READ MORE

Sarah Cowie

As a writer, it’s days spent telling myself I have something worthy to say, something that must be heard by others, something that is relevant which will change the lives of those who read it. It’s hours spent staring at a blank page on my screen, squeezing out a sentence here or a thought there, dredged up from brain cells constricted by the day to day honey do’s and life’s events that crowd what little space I have in my overstuffed schedule as a full time employee, and parent. READ MORE

Nayana Sivanandan

When I was quite small, I told myself, as if I have heard this from someone else that I want to become a writer. I am sure it was no one in my family of claustrophobic beings who detested beyond anything a life of a desolate writer. I knew it when I was quite small itself. How come then, I, a being with minute amount of self restraint and an infinitesimal fear for the authority of anyone and everyone over my life, dreamt this vision of holding a pen in my arm and scribbling through pages and pages of words until I formed a meaningful sentence, is still a wonder to me? I guess it was this whisper, which kept on telling me that this dream is my only reality and purpose. READ MORE

Kati Stevens

If I don’t write, they’ll kill me. They’ll take me out back to the dumpsters, and they’ll shoot me across the belly. The top half they’ll put in one dumpster; the bottom half in the other. READ MORE

Abishake Koul

To start off, I feel a need. A need to break the shackles and the control. The control which emotions have when they take over someone completely. The control that makes me feel helpless when I am not able to express. That is when I have to pick up a pen or start hitting the key pads. Writing becomes a lullaby that is putting me into a rhythmic sleep. The written words that I put down complete a liberating journey for me. A journey that leaves me happily exhausted and free of the control. READ MORE

Jason Roberts

a point of grace
a warm reckoning
thinning wide into light
something beyond breath
that feeling like a body singing READ MORE

Hannah Gliksten

‘I just love to –’ Would this settle the question?

It was January and I was teaching a class. The session was on ‘Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development’. The question under discussion: ‘What is happiness?’READ MORE

Harriet Riley

“Secure your own mask before assisting others.” This announcement came on just before take-off on a flight to North Carolina six years ago. I had never listened to those words before even though I’d heard them many times on many flights. This time I did. Maybe that was why I was often short of breath. I’d been feeling so overwhelmed. I needed to secure my own mask. Allow myself to breathe before I helped the others. READ MORE

Patrick Bruskiewich

There are perhaps three main reasons why I write and these reasons are a true, dear and clear reflection of my beliefs. I write to pursue truth, virtue and understanding. READ MORE

Liz Tetu

My father comes home at ten at night and groans as he eases himself into the chair nearest the amber lamp. Handling paper all day has left his hands dry; when he reaches for a novel on the end table, the dehydrated noise that comes from his fingers scraping against the 600 page tome incites the clenching of a writer’s jaw from across the room. He takes his glasses (with their extra-thick lenses) off strong cheekbones still browned from when he picked rock as a child, buries his lupine nose and white-black beard into the musty fold, and reads until he passes out. READ MORE

Diane Lee Moomey

My paintings are writing on water, are mute: a moment of opening my eyes to a slant of light, a play of shadows, of no shadows. My paintings tell no story except “once I was here” or “one day I will go there”. My paintings today, that is—this year, last year. Before that, there were stories in each one: mandalas, prayers, archetypes. Today my paintings are freeze frames—blink and the cloud will have changed shape. READ MORE

Midu Hadi

God was the first storyteller; when we write, we exercise the divine spark embedded within us! I’m a practicing Muslim, so obviously, that means something to me. Mostly, I write to tell stories and once I had discovered that the handful of people who have read them enjoyed it, I decided not to stop! Creating worlds that others can immerse themselves in and leaving endings open to their imagination makes me happy. READ MORE

Linda Ravenswood

Why do you write ?

To me, being a Latinx writer means that I am a wanderer, an apostle in a place I barely understand, the borderlands. Being Latinx means that I am home in the west. READ MORE

Joseph Sutton

Recently I spoke to a group of teenagers about writing, and a young lady asked me, “Why do you write?”

“I want to record all the memorable experiences I’ve ever had in my life, both good and bad,” was my reply. READ MORE

Bridget Lyons

I write because I know my view of the world is unique.

And, I write because I know my presence on this planet is completely insignificant. READ MORE

Judith Pratt

I love to write. When I can’t manage anything else—paying bills, calling my congress people, filing (I HATE filing but I keep a lot of bits of paper anyway.) Where was I? When I can’t focus on anything else, I can always write something. READ MORE

E.A. Sayers

When I think about my life, my need to write was either inevitable or the result of everything that went wrong. Quickly to clarify, my life is nowhere near ruined but I have “failed”, rather catastrophically, and that is the core of why I need words in my life. READ MORE

Ms. Runa Bandyopadhyay

I could give a straight answer that I write because I want to express my feelings. But feelings are altogether different in the case of poetry, story and review. READ MORE

Clayton H Ramsey

It’s a curious activity, this whole business of writing, this fixing of language in symbols lest the sound of a voice disappear on the wind. Even more curious is the Why? of writing. It is an impulse that has been indulged for millennia, from Sumerians cutting wedges into clay tablets to Egyptians scratching on papyrus and Romans chiseling in stone. Gutenberg presses, typewriters, and laptop computers shifted the creation of texts from hand to machine. READ MORE

Erhu Amreyan

I never imagined I would be pursuing a career in writing as an adult. Not at all. It’s either you become a doctor, an engineer or a lawyer as a child born into a typical Nigerian home. Those are the noble professions one’s parents can be proud of. I did imagine I could be a pilot though. Maybe because I thought that flying an airplane fell in the category of noble professions. I cannot recall where that dream went and what brought about my fear of heights. READ MORE

Robert L. Caler

Writing has always been the thing that made my heart swell and my mind spin. I don’t know if I was ever an agreeable child. I’d like to think so, but I also know I had enjoyed spending time walking alone around the playground thinking of songs, stories, or having conversations with myself (a habit that sadly and thankfully persists). I was, for lack of a better phrase, overly dramatic. I remember crying to my father, yelling “no one tells me anything in this stupid family!” I was maybe 8 or 10. I shutter with horror recalling my objectively overwrought ways. I suppose flamboyant could be a fair adjective to tack on. READ MORE

Kimberly A. McKenzie-Klemm

After twenty years writing and publishing fiction and ten years of non-fiction work, I have arrived at an author’s need within the writers’ industry to return some words of understanding to emerging beginners and writing community participants. READ MORE

Carole Mertz

As writers, we are always in a state of flux. We may be aware of the changes occurring in the world around us, but may not always recognize the inner changes. If we are introverted, the inverse might be true. READ MORE

Sherrie L. Stewart

Dirty supper dishes covered the worn, pink Formica counter next to the greasy dishwater. Three-year-old Debbie hung from the back pockets of my jeans. The leftovers scraped from her plate landed on the floor with a splat. As I reached for a paper towel to clean up the mess, my husband shouted something sarcastic about how much time I spent on the computer. His words stung like a slap. Tears gushed down my cheeks and fell into the dirty dishwater. READ MORE

Chad W. Lutz

As a writer myself, I used to never think about why I wrote. I just did. It came from some underlying desire to capture each moment in time, as if I might forget it the next. Like a lucid dream that you wake up from, but forget almost instantly. That’s actually what drove me to write the first thing I ever called, “a story of my own.” READ MORE

Jake Teeny

I write because I am unconcerned with the number of trees I have to sacrifice to tell a story. I write because I know ink shortages could be resolved with squid breeding programs. I write because my mom once told me I was clever and I forever strive to prove her wrong; because my dad was on the phone when he told me to stop asking questions, so I wrote them all down with exclamation points and because my siblings returned favors after I helped them with their English. READ MORE

Katherine Kwong

On a Tuesday morning, when I was eleven years old, I stood at the top of the stairs in my home and cried. I cried because my entire body hurt. After a doctor’s visit full of beeps, cold stickers, whispers and worried looks, the truth: I had Lupus. For a normally energetic child, this might have been a death knell. READ MORE

Shirley Napoleone

I write to escape the world. I write because I want to create something better, something so much more that people will begin noticing me for all the right reasons. I write because when I write, I am not me, I am whoever I am writing. READ MORE

Blake Benson

I write because I want to laugh.

Recently, I attended a ceremony for the Thomas Wolfe Prize. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Thomas Wolfe was another straight white dude who “revolutionized” the written word – probably by using metaphors that other straight white men in academia would describe as “rhapsodic” and “impressionistic.” READ MORE

Angie Romines

Since graduating from my MFA program nearly a decade ago, I spent a lot of time focused on teaching as an adjunct with a heavy course load each semester. I turned to writing fiction as a means to relax a little, to reclaim little pockets of time for having adventures instead of grading a seemingly infinite amount of composition essays. READ MORE

Sasha Mishkin

Writing is like floating into a dreamy garden where the colors are so vibrant, they speak; where the calmness is so soothing, it cradles; and where the beauty is so abundant, everything smiles. In this garden, my presence seems so right and natural, it’s like it’s been waiting for me. I like to believe it has been. Every story I write is a magical city—one where history is alive, where romance breathes and where lifelong dreams become beautiful, character-driven realities. READ MORE

Jodi Sh. Doff

Writers are different. Not outcasts, but outliers. Outlier: phenomena that lie outside normal experience. We are not normal. READ MORE

John Gerard Fagan

To create art is in us all. Everyone has their own way of releasing it, and writing is my outlet. Growing up in a former mining town on the outskirts of industrial Glasgow, I never met or even knew of anyone who wrote any form of fiction or even wanted to. Rarely would anyone read any either. READ MORE

Barbra Nightingale

I started writing poetry when I was 12 years old. I didn’t really know how, only that I couldn’t sleep and needed to do something to empty my head of all the noise going on in there. I was perpetually on diets, and in 1962, my parents thought they’d found the miracle cure to my plumpness: speed. READ MORE

David McVey

‘Lack of social skills: that was what made him a writer,’ muses the writer/narrator of Garrison Keillor’s ‘Pilgrims’. A humorous novel, but there’s many a true word spoken in jest (illustrating that the more banal the cliché, the more true it probably is). After all, if you’re the life and soul of the party, if people flock to hear your chat at social events, if you’re generally held to be good company, why would you need to write? Or want to? READ MORE

Jeaninne Escallier Kato

I knew the trajectory of my life by the time I was four. I observed and logged everything around me in my imagination through colors, sights and sounds. I even fantasized about the future adventures of my grown-up world. By the time I could hold a pencil, I turned my imaginings into words, concrete evidence of my existence. I could only see the person I was destined to become when I mapped my world into written stories. I was always waiting for me at the end of my words. READ MORE

Brooks Rogow

Sometimes I have a lot to say, but for me, speaking words is never as easy as writing them. READ MORE

Matthew Meyer

I’ve always wanted to write ever since the third grade. I started reading one of my favorite book series Goosebumps, I was hooked on the author, R.L. Stine’s, style of writing, and not to mention I’ve always been a big fan of horror. I found it intriguing the way authors create their own world and peace it together into a story. READ MORE

Ty Welsheimer

The creative writing process makes me extremely happy, and although I can’t tell you that the stories I’ve created have been enjoyed by millions, I can tell you that my stories have been thoroughly enjoyed by me, and that’s what really matters. Sure, the thought of being a New York Times Bestseller is the dream of any author who has put pen to paper, or cursor to Word doc. But it isn’t just about who likes your work, or how exciting it would be to make lots of money from it. For me, the process alone is the most important part. READ MORE

Morgan Broadhead

When I was a kid my friends and I would spend our summers chasing down imaginary armies with our water guns, fearlessly saving the neighborhood from invasion by enemy tanks and nukes. We usually started our wars just after breakfast and never pulled back until the street lights came on, forcing us to retreat indoors. When we got hungry, we foraged the park for blackberries or plucked apples from the neighbor’s side yard. READ MORE

Nicholas Nakai Garcia

Writing is the hard drive of our memory. The craft isn’t a portrait of a man with a glass of scotch, sweating over his word processor, seething beauty. Putting down the chaos of the head is a primal medicine. READ MORE

Danell Jones

Why did gifted writers like George Orwell and Joan Didion feel the urge to explain why they wrote? Perhaps their inclination to defend writing as their life’s work came, as mine did, from childhood. My parents saw my desire to write as an eccentric quirk to be corrected as soon as possible. READ MORE

Fred Slusher

Writing for me has always been a form of excavation. I never really thought of it this way until the first time I read Seamus Heaney’s poem “Digging” in one of my high school English classes. The idea that digging with a pen could pluck beautiful words and turns-of-phrase from the ether appealed to me immensely. READ MORE

Ken Williams

I write for things that cannot be seen, sounds that cannot be heard, thoughts that cannot be told, sentiments that cannot be shared. READ MORE

Maria Termini

I write because it’s right to write. With words I weave the many colored thick, thin, smooth, and rough strands of my life into interesting tapestries. I write to unravel the threads of my life that sometimes seem like an incoherent tangle of people and events. READ MORE

Michelle Chen

Mama, can you help me with the grammar in my essay?

No, I don’t know how.

Nearly three years after I sold my family out to the dogs I found myself at the Iowa Young Writers’ Workshop on a full scholarship, feeling unreal. READ MORE

Elizabeth Faris

The Dress of Thought

Just as our physical bodies house our intangible selves, so our words lend structure to our ideas. Until such time as we speak, put pen to paper, or apply our digits to the keyboard, our thoughts remain nothing more than restless potential confined to the closet of our mind. READ MORE

Jeffrey H. Toney

I am a gnarled dried seed baking in the sun in the desert. My only relief is a cool evening breeze wafting over me. In rare moments of stillness, dewdrop dictionaries cling to me, tiny glistening rainbows dancing on their surfaces, their words swirling about, colliding playfully. Bursting dewdrops fill my dreams, slaking my thirst.READ MORE

Joshua James Amberson

When I was 19, my roommates brought home a letter-pressed broadside full of bold declarations. “Words want to be on the open road/gathering more words,” it said, “more mass/more momentum/to smash into cities with.” It asserted that not only was telling a story a subversive act, but hearing a story—simply listening—was subversive, as well. And it confirmed what we were beginning to suspect, that “you give life to words/and they in turn/give life to you.” READ MORE

Guinotte Wise

“Poesy, man. The world is full of it. It’s beautiful and crazy and sometimes violent, sometimes peace inducing. In every language. I had to join in. The overall song sucked me into it. You know the feeling. To hear Dylan Thomas in his own voice utter those head-shakingly gorgeous combinations of words and meanings. READ MORE

Claude Clayton Smith

WHEN I WAS A KID, my parents had an ancient Remington typewriter—you had to depress the keys about two inches to make a mark on the page—and I enjoyed sitting down and banging out whatever came to mind. In junior high, assigned to write a short story, I cranked out a potboiler, “The Death of a Cousin,” and had fun doing so. READ MORE

Audrey Wick

Students enter my English class in college wanting to achieve goals many haven’t even identified. So I run an undercurrent theme in my freshman literature classes: happiness. For I believe the secret to happiness includes life-long learning and good stories. That’s the atmosphere for how I teach, and that’s also why I write. READ MORE

Rebecca Chekouras

I write for pleasure. The first pleasure of writing is discipline; the pleasure of repeating a complex task again and again until one has learned to perform it well. As an art student in university I learned to extract shape from visual input and set it on paper. READ MORE

Gregg Williard

Scraping ice off the windshield this morning, the kind that doesn’t scrape. There is rain, then freezing, then rain, then freezing. Then snow. The snow brushes off, but the heat and defroster on the minivan sucks. It’s up to you to jab the scraper into the tough, thick glaze beneath, ding it away in little chips that spit in your face until you gain a little purchase, use the corner tip of the scraper to scratch lines up and down and back and forth over the cataract gray. READ MORE

Denis Bernicky

There’s something intimate and impermanent about pencil that makes writing akin to sketching with sound. Pencil starts faded and fades quickly unless fixative is applied. Pencil is easy to change, as easy as the word flow once the rhythm starts sounding and the words repeat, reform, are rejected, replaced, and improvised to what sounds better. READ MORE

Chris Wiewiora

In a Crayon drawing on a white sheet of paper, a kid sits on a stack of green, yellow, red, and blue squares. The kid looks at a square held in his hands. A dump truck with a pile of more multi-colored squares in its bed drives toward the kid sitting on the stack. Above the kid and the truck, several diagonal streaks of yellow sunlight cut through a swath of blue sky. At the top of the paper, in no. 2 pencil is the sentence: I’m thankful for intersting [sic] Books. READ MORE

Rida Fatima Virk

I never held writing in high regard at an early age but during a point in life it became a need. A way to breath. A way to survive. Something that was ready to burst the moment I turned the faucet on. READ MORE

Barbara Weitzner

The reason I started to write was because I had retired from working. After the first few months of hanging around the house, a funny thing happened on the way to the kitchen for a snack. I changed direction and sat down at my computer and began to write a short story. READ MORE

Larry Mellman

Why Make Art?

  1. Art is a sacrifice, an offering, a propitiation of angry gods, a rendering back to the beneficent ones, a redress, an affirmation, a reprisal.READ MORE

Cameron Morse

I am sitting in yellow lamplight, writing. It’s raining outside, late morning, the fourth of July. The downspout drums. Passing cars heave their sighs off the wet blacktop. This is what my wife calls my writing time. READ MORE

Mark Blickley

The title of this essay, “Blood on the Page,” refers to the red marks with which teachers slash up a student’s composition to highlight writing errors. A student is returned a paper that looks wounded, bleeding. I like that image. It’s not only poetic and powerful, it’s true. Blood on the page perfectly describes how I felt each time a paper was returned to me as a young student. READ MORE

Christine Law

At school I enjoyed english seeing how the charectors developed on the paper. At college I had a tutor who would put a line through my work and write nonsense sententenc, without discussing my work. READ MORE

Lisa Mae DeMasi

The impact of loss scars the heart and you go on living your life ’cause you’re young and have to conform and can’t fall apart and you don’t realize those wounds are still there, throbbing raw, the fibers of tissue meshing over that open gap of mess. You don’t realize you mask that pain with the alcohol thirty fucking years later, that there’s a reason why you drink until the TV and the stand it rests on becomes unhinged. READ MORE

Linda M. Crate

I began writing because of my love of words and stories. It always intrigued me how you could take the same words in different ways and come up with two completely different points of views and tones of voices. READ MORE

Mori Glaser

I began writing after a break of decades. Now I have poems and creative non-fiction published in online and print journals. Hardly fame, but it makes me happy and fulfilled. READ MORE

Nancy Smiler Levinson

I began my writing journey penciling adolescent musings on a notebook purchased for a nickel at Woolworth’s Five and Dime. READ MORE

Sophia Colby

I’ll be honest with you. I thought this essay was going to be easy. I thought it would be one of those projects where the words just flow out of your brain and through the keyboard and into the computer, and the angels sing and the heavens align and the muse speaks to you and the English language becomes your best friend because you’re loving the project so much- one of those projects where you look up and realize it’s one in the morning all of a sudden and your wrists feel totally dead but you don’t really care because damn you got some good work done. (Don’t pretend you haven’t been there.) READ MORE

James Penha

I have obsessions; I have fears; I have dreams. Mostly, I have questions. Rarely have I deeper meanings or themes or answers. And when I do, I don’t bury them. Whatever satisfaction and fulfillment readers find in my poems emanates, I hope, from the experience etched in them—in the words, the music, the wondering, and wonder.

James L. Secor

The short answer: because I can’t not.

Once I was in a position where I could not write. I sat around waiting for someone to come and put me out of my misery. READ MORE

Antonio Perez

It was obvious to my parents before it was to me that I would grow up and want to write. They enrolled me in a Montessori kindergarten, so, from way back, I was gifted the inclination to be self-ruling. At school, what interested me most were these lined, pocket-sized notebooks. READ MORE

Anton M. Rojkov

I’m sure it was “Treasure Island” that made it for me. Stevenson had this exciting story sitting inside of him and he needed to get it out, probably more than he needed to sell it to keep his family fed. The story had to be told, so he kicked it out and many years later the super-imaginative person that I always was, kept re-reading it, absorbing its world, knowing I had lots to tell too. READ MORE

M. G. Stephens

Why we write, I have no idea; but why I write, I think, I have some idea. I write because I am not a good baseball player or I write because I can’t sing worth a damn; I write because the sun is shining or my shoelace broke—and it was my favorite pair of shoes. READ MORE

Eliza Mimski

“Why don’t you keep a pain journal?” my friend R encouraged me. “It will help you track your progress.” I have chronic pain and continually try remedies to alleviate it. READ MORE

Callista Tyson

I write for myself, I write for others, I write for the world. We all have a way of expressing ourselves. I write because it makes me feel better. When I am angry or hurting I love sitting down and letting the words flow like magic. It’s such a relief to flood a sheet of paper, to clear my messy head. READ MORE