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.


  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.


1888 Center programs are recorded and archived as a free educational resource on our website or with your favorite podcast app including Apple and Spotify. Each interdisciplinary episode is designed to provide a unique platform for industry innovators to share stories about art, literature, music, history, science, or technology.


Live events are produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions. Recent events were recorded at The LAB Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa, Cooks Chapel, Packing House in Anaheim, and 1888 Center in Orange. The Orange County Roadshow was supported by Affordable Housing Access.


This collaborative project receives submissions from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, England, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malta, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Scotland, Singapore, United Kingdom, and all over the United States.


Submit your essay for consideration. View the entire Why We Write Archive.

  • Fisayo D Adeyeye

    When asked this the past, I've always felt pretty content saying that I simply "can't not" write. In that I feel compelled to, or that when I think of...

  • Angela Dawson

    Picture this: a country-pop obsessed thirteen-year-old girl with a slight perm, unnecessary reading glasses, and a habit of treating her books like pe...

  • Brian Lin

    I was wired by white worlds: the Midwest and the Ivy League. Fat, Asian, and queer, I feared sight as judgment. Abercrombie was the norm; I was nightc...

  • Suzanne Wilcox

    I write because in 10th grade, Mr. White told my entire English class that the research paper I submitted about the AIDS epidemic was the best paper h...

Artwork by David Moscati