What resonated with me most about the two articles is how Orwell and Didion both describe writing as something they need to do, rather than something they want to do. I understood both authors to be arguing that writing became a compulsion for them, rather than a passion.
In some ways I agree with their point of view. Writing is the way in which I best express myself and, like Didion, putting pen to paper is often how I create a sense of clarity out of the chaos around me. Furthermore, in relation to Orwell’s four motives for writing, I know that writing is the best way I am able to make my mark on the world (although I hope this doesn’t fall entirely into the category of “sheer egoism”). In short, I do not know who I would be if I didn’t write.
However, it is Orwell and Didion’s apparent lack of desire for the act of writing that I do not understand. I have always associated writing, both my own and that of professionals, as an art driven by passion, a point of view which Orwell, especially, negates quite bluntly several times throughout his “Why I Write” essay. It makes me uncomfortable to think that some of my favorite pieces of writing may not have been written because the author truly enjoys bringing entertaining stories to readers, but rather were created solely in the author’s self interests.