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.

Henry Grace

Sometimes I’ll see something, hear something, touch something. I won’t want my experience of that something to end. I’ll remember it later and wish I were still looking at or touching whatever it was that I liked so much. After a while I learned that I don’t have to let things like that drift away from me until, not only can I not see them but, even worse, I forget about them and it’s like they were never there in the first place. I learned that I could sit and think and eventually, if I thought hard enough, I could get back, in my own mental space, to the mental space where I was when I experienced the thing I liked so much. But I can’t stop there, because the thing I’m trying to get back to will eventually go away again. I learned I have to chronicle anything I can remember about the thing: where I saw it, what it was doing, what I was doing, why I liked the thing so much, what it felt like when I experienced the thing.READ MORE

Lisa Torem

I write because I’m fearful of roller coasters, serpents, catsup left out in the heat during the playoffs, and running into my gynecologist on a Ferris wheel. I write because I can face all of my innermost fears in this very safe zone AKA the page. I write because it forces me to be precise; to be mindful in a world in which the senses can blur at such a sickening pace that I must retreat, and writing is my sacred asylum.READ MORE

Chanda J. Grubbs

I write because I was raised by a man who reads encyclopedias for fun. Because I have the heart of an astronaut without the disposition for space travel. Because I believe life is worth tasting 3, 4, 5 times, and every time it’ll taste like chicken.READ MORE

Shannon Barnsley

My humanities professor once asked why I was pursuing writing instead of the ancient epics I had studied for three years. He said that my interest in religion and mythology couldn’t just be that of someone mining for ideas, looking for something to write about. What I didn’t say then, but wish I had, was that I don’t love epics because I want to be a writer, I want to be a writer because I love epics.READ MORE

Peppur Chambers

Thinking  about why I write is almost like asking myself why I smile. Why do I say “Hello” to strangers on the street? Why do I look so deeply into children’s eyes? The answer is simple: because I must. It makes me feel good. It makes me who I am. Genuinely and at no real cost to anyone or myself.READ MORE

Pam Jones

I’m not very good at talking. I should specify: I went to a college without tests, and so a student’s progress was based on, really, two things. The first was his or her ability to speak. The second was his or her ability to write. In lieu of grades, students were issued page-long narrative evaluations, detailing to minutiae an individual’s class attendance, time management, et cetera. You did not go unnoticed. My evaluations were often full of praise for my written work, with feedback that varied from how to tighten up my prose, to driving a point home a little faster. Comments for class discussion were always the same: “Pam, though mostly quiet…”, “Though Pam’s participation was infrequent…”, “I would have liked to hear more from Pam in our group discussions…”READ MORE

Nate Ragolia

The interview room is well-appointed with two fine wingback chairs. The Doctor, of Doctor Who fame, the last of child of Gallifrey, sits across from me, shuffling through a stack of index cards. READ MORE

Jonathan Yanez

Writing has been the best outlet I didn’t know I needed. From an early age I loved reading and the promise of adventure every book contained. I didn’t recognize what a gift my overactive imagination could be until I considered writing as a career.READ MORE

Erum Khan

I’ve asked myself this question a lot over the years. Why do I write? Most of the time it comes in the form of a joke along with a knowing and resigned shrug between fellow writers. Writers often carry this hypothetical like a God-given mantle, as if it is something we can’t help but for the most part have learned to live with. Sometimes, though, when my eyes have glazed over from late night revisions or yet another rejection email, the question loses its wry humor. I get the urge to look at myself in the mirror and really ask: Why?READ MORE