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.

Lyn Thomas-Ogbuji

I write compulsively these days because, after spending a lifetime on productive careers in science, engineering, and enterprise, I decided upon retirement to devote my remaining days to chasing the true love of my life: literature — an avocation on which I sadly turned my back in young adulthood to chase a more predictable living! READ MORE

Jordan A. Rothaker

I write because I have no other choice in the matter. Humans are narrative creating animals, and I am inescapably human. READ MORE

TJ Reynolds

True stories are like feathers buried in the recesses of the body. Writing, at least for me, is the quiet art of pulling them free, quill by awful quill. And though I’ve dressed the cliche anew, you can see by now I’m repeating others who have summarized the process of writing. READ MORE

Soramimi Hanarejima

Why Do I Write? To see what language is capable of. To explore dimensions of the self that language allows us to enter and roam. To meet the characters who can tell me what it means to be human. As a means of thinking about thinking, to engage in literary metacognition. As a means of seeing a different kind of truth.READ MORE

M. Howalt

There is a simple, short answer. It’s this: I write because it makes me happy. READ MORE

Celinda Bickner

Honestly, I have no idea why I write. Some of what I have written I haven’t shown to anyone. I think it would be too embarrassing and too revealing to share some of what I wrote down. READ MORE

Corin Reyburn

I originally drafted this essay a few years ago, and looking back at it now, I’m surprised by how much the reasons why I write have changed, and so I’d like to read part of the original essay, then take a look at how I’d answer the question why I write today.


Bill White

I write because I don’t work well with others. Were I to direct a narrative film, I would have to hire dozens of people at ridiculous salaries. With a novel, I do all the jobs myself. I write and shoot the scenes, play all the parts. I dress the set, costume the actors, and do their make-up. I design, build, and paint the sets. When I have my first draft, I do all the editing. When it is finished, nobody can destroy what I have created. This is why I choose the novel, but is it really why I write? READ MORE

Eden Maxwell

Why do I write? That depends on the subject and intention at hand. When I was in kindergarten, I never even played with crayons, yet I became a painter after a great Zen master unleashed the artist within. When it came to grammar, I somehow coasted through high school. READ MORE