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.


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.

Angela Dawson

Picture this: a country-pop obsessed thirteen-year-old girl with a slight perm, unnecessary reading glasses, and a habit of treating her books like people. Needless to say, this was me in a nutshell.READ MORE

Fisayo D Adeyeye

When asked this the past, I’ve always felt pretty content saying that I simply “can’t not” write. In that I feel compelled to, or that when I think of a perfect day, that day includes writing something down. A poem, a short story, a couple stray lines of something indistinct. READ MORE

Brian Lin

I was wired by white worlds: the Midwest and the Ivy League. Fat, Asian, and queer, I feared sight as judgment. Abercrombie was the norm; I was nightcrawler.READ MORE

Sara Guerrero

ESTRELLITA (a recalling of an earlier time.)

When I was very little I asked my dad, “Do you have wee-wee? ”READ MORE

Mario Palomino

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.READ MORE

Suzanne Wilcox

I write because in 10th grade, Mr. White told my entire English class that the research paper I submitted about the AIDS epidemic was the best paper he had read by a student for as long as he could remember. READ MORE


It had begun like it always did. There were the early stretches of light across the sky and I was there–waiting. In this moment, a requiem in crescendo recalled nostalgic memories. It had begun: the process of pain, devastation, and denial. READ MORE

Heidi Turner

Scene: doctor’s office. I am twelve, turning thirteen. The doctor is in her fifties. I put down the book I’d brought with me.READ MORE