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.

Dean Moses

Christopher Hitchens once said of writing, “It must not be the thing you would like to do, but it must be the thing you feel that you have to do. It must be that without which you could not live.” This quote sums up why I write.READ MORE

Cristiana Wilcoxon

I write to exercise my demons. Not exorcise—tried that once and my demons went on strike for six weeks, leaving me with no material. So exercise it is, every day like you would walk the dog. I stick ‘em on leashes and take them out for a stroll, letting them sniff fire hydrants and bark at brown rabbits. Not until they’re exhausted and panting do I lead them back inside the yard and let my fingers rest. A cooped up demon whines and scratches at the door, making it impossible to sleep, but a tuckered out fiend has no reason to keep you up at night.READ MORE

Allison Spector

I don’t have a profound reason for writing, any more than I have a profound reason for dreaming. It’s simply something my brain must do in order to maintain my health and sanity.READ MORE

Ashley Heaton

Why do I write? In short, I write because I must. I write because I know no better way to process the clutter of the world and explore the mysteries of life. Why does anyone write, if not for this reason?READ MORE