Before reading George Orwell’s and John Didion’s “Why I Write”, I had never questioned my motivations for choosing to write. Often I am writing in order to fulfill a class required assignment which I would never have been writing if it weren’t for the assignment. Sometimes I write out of boredom and because I have nothing better to do, but this rarely happens since I am regularly preoccupied with work, school, and extra curricular activities. There are sometimes when I write because I am trying to clarify something in my head and I am writing simply to get ideas out of my head and onto paper in a logical manner. Even more rare are the times when I write for pleasure simply because I feel passionate about expressing an idea that I have or expressing an idea that I find interesting. I often feel apprehensive to write because I feel as though I will not be able to thoroughly describe what I am trying to explain and instead become more frustrated in the process. That is partly the reason for taking this course, because I want to learn how to more accurately and efficiently express myself in writing, because I feel that is a useful skill to have.
I related to George Orwell’s belief regarding the motives that encourage writers to write. The idea that writers write simply to fulfill their ego and use writing as a platform to express their hard held opinions and beliefs is a motive that I similarly hold. Writers “desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death…” (Orwell) and use writing as a way to convince the world that their words and ideas matter. This is often the case when I write and something that I want to work on. Didion echoes this claim in his essay in which he states that he also believes writers are writing as a way to gain public praise. The act of writing is inherently a selfish act in which the writer believes his opinion, thoughts, and ideas are worthy of being listened to and honored. “In many ways writing is the act of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.” (Didion)
Through the course of this class I hope my writing style matures and instead of writing to receive personal praise, and instead learn to think, process, extract meaning, and explain thoroughly my thoughts and opinions and improve my overall writing style.