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.

Ari Williams

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” -The Great Gatsby

To say I am fascinated by my past is an understatement. To me, the past demands to be heard and learned from. I achieve this learning and growth through the thrilling and painstaking effort of writing. READ MORE

Michael Steven Martin

As I begin writing this essay called WHY I WRITE I must admit I don’t know why, which is why I’m writing an essay called WHY I WRITE. Of course, I’ve considered it before and could give answers like “to communicate,” “to vent,” “to entertain,” or “it feels good,” all of which are true but miss the mark. Having sifted through and reworked this essay, I’ve found one reason for why I write that stands above all: writing is my anchor. Writing is a solid and centering base that protects and strengthens my well being.READ MORE

Mike Gravagno

Running and writing have always felt the same to me. I like having done it. I hate the act of doing it.READ MORE

Emily Velasquez

Writing has not always been a friend of mine. To be honest, I have had too many failed attempts at trying to convince others of what they want to hear that I could not even confide in own words. I have torn, spat and even destroyed any possible remains of my thoughts that to me were meaningless because what kind of kid from Santa Ana is easily convinced that being a writer unfolds the treasure of a possibility to be a dreamer. READ MORE

Elliot Laurence

For most of my adult life, I would write small paragraphs or sayings about things that would come to mind. I never though of myself as a “writer,” because I am mainly a visual person. But, things changed when events in my life were so intense, that writing became both a release and a way to clarify my thoughts. READ MORE

Amanda Fletcher

I am born in the middle of a story.

My mother dodges the loaded gun in my father’s hand, his voice rising along the length of his arm.READ MORE

Nancy Klann-Moren

I began writing, primarily because I was certain that an adventure I had taken would make a blockbuster movie. Since I had zero experience, I suggested to a few friends “in the business” that they write a screen play about my great journey. READ MORE

Carla Huezo

The new kid in school was put into the underachieving classroom. She sat bored but obedient for a few weeks until she was transferred to a more challenging atmosphere. But the sweet and smart light-skinned Latina did not fit in. READ MORE

Natalie Green

We write stories about strong, ass-kicking women. Chapters of novels that never come. We read with flashlights under our covers, and set our alarms an hour early to read more before school. We’re eight years old. In the following ten years somehow that writer girl gets lost. We dream of singing and acting, but tell adults we’ll be teachers. We write about being thin and attractive and popular, and then tear out the pages one by one.READ MORE