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.

Jonathan Donabo

I began to write because I needed it, but I think I would be lying if I gave you a definite answer. I first started writing poetry in middle school or high school to cope with my mental illness and ‘figure my self out’. In using the word figure, I will invoke three meanings. READ MORE

Lydia Rollins

Dictators are often creative writers. In their spare time, they write everything from romance novels to film criticism to death sentences.READ MORE

Vincent Scambray

I started writing at 13, after years of mulling over my father’s collection of 1,000 books or more, watching my father sit in his study correlating research with facts and non-fiction. My father, an English Literature professor, and my mother an English teacher, revealed to me the secrets of how to write. She provided me with my knowledge of the fundamentals of writing, he provided me with the vehicles. READ MORE

Sandra Barnes

My best friend and business partner happens to be my ex-husband. Yes, you can ask.READ MORE

Abigail Ayulo

Before all else, there were stories. In the deep press of the early morning, in those still 1 a.m.’s, the air drips with stories. The first hour of the day. Knowing there have been days before, and there is a full day to come gives that moment power – the power to create.READ MORE

Billie Kelpin

I write because of “the raveled sleeve of care” and the ‘quality of mercy that’s not strained.’ I write because ‘it was the best of times and the worst of times’ when he “had me at ‘hello,’” and now “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” I write because “It’s a far, far better thing I do than I’ve ever done before,” and “I think I can—I think I can.” READ MORE

Elias G. Fulmer

Words such as painter, musician, teacher, etc., can easily box individuals into the stereotypes of these life paths, as perceived by others. If in conversation I introduce the fact I read, people may ask me, “Do you write?”. Suddenly, I feel a bit cornered. I feel a pen appear in my hand and dusty, antiquated clothes surface on me, topped with a powdered wig. READ MORE

Tarra Flores Sloan

We are the rare folks who can see the whole puzzle at once, how the pieces fit together, what the picture on each piece will say and then we create it. We dont take a single board and cut it into wavy bits. But rather, we cut a single piece as it comes into our mind (maybe a scene from mid story) and carefully snip it away. READ MORE

Liz Harmer

Over a decade ago, at twenty-five, I was miserable. I had been thinking of myself as a writer for nearly twenty years, full of longing and romance and a desire for adventure. I experienced my life as a series of epiphanies. But I had been busy through my early twenties with falling in love, and then getting married, and then trying to become an academic. READ MORE