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.

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

PJ Colando

Why I write:

  • because I’m compelled by blood. I honor my heredity: my parents and their highly literate minds.READ MORE

Diane Rogers

I have never considered myself a writer, but for as long as I can remember, words have visited me. In my youth, they appeared like unexpected house guests when I was least prepared. Despite my inhospitable welcome, they persisted. At night, I entertained the most enduring among them, and fashioned some into stories or poems, which I later hid in drawers.READ MORE

Peter Dingus

After the presidential election of 2016, we learned many things that seemed as if they had come from the pages of a hyperbolic spy novel. We learned that the DNC servers had been hacked, we learned that emails had been stolen from principals in the Democratic party, we learned that social media had been co-opted to dispense fake news to psychologically targeted audiences for the express purpose of sowing division amongst voters and swaying the presidential election. Then, as a coup-de-grace, we learned that all of this had been engineered by a foreign power. Well, you couldn’t keep volumes of Orwell’s 1984 on virtual store shelves−why? The novel 1984 is not history, it is not a political treatise; it is, quite simply, fiction.READ MORE

Jonathan Alexander

To begin. The voices inside.
I cannot always hear them. They murmur.
I strain at times to catch a phrase, a word, even an intonation.READ MORE