Computer Keys Take the Wheel


After reading both Didion and Orwell’s “Why I Write” pieces as well as re-looking at Sullivan’s “Why I Blog,” I catch an overall theme among all of them here. I think the underlying argument among these pieces is self-discovery. As writers, we’re never really 100% positive on what we’re writing about or where it will take us. How many times have you sat down to write a piece, whether you had already outlined it or not, and it had taken a completely different direction or you had included or removed different parts you hadn’t originally planned? If you’re like me, I would say this is approximately 9.75 out of 10 times I write something. Once I really get in the zone, I tune out everything and type much faster than I would think my brain could even tell my hands to. Once it starts flowing, I tend to forget what I’m even saying and look back at it later and say “where in the world did that come from?” But that’s just part of this beautiful art we call writing.

In Didion’s “Why I Write,” she mentions at the very end (my favorite part because of how relatable it was), “Let me tell you one thing about why writers write: had I know the answer to any of these questions I would never have needed to write a novel.” If she had know all of the answers to the questions she had about the characters’ unraveling lives bee-lining right out of her brain, she wouldn’t have had to write to find out. She would have known who the narrator was, where they came from, why they were doing what they were doing, etc. But, because she did not, she allowed herself to write to discover! And though she may have been questioning the characters in this fiction novel, she was ultimately learning something about herself through the story she was creating.

In Orwell’s “Why I Write,” he mentions how he was the “weird” kid in school that made up imaginary friends and had real conversations with them, most of the time disagreeable with other students his age. Through unfolding his four motives, I see that Orwell kind of uncovered why he was how he was as a young boy and how it turned him into the man he grew to be. Though he was somewhat unsure as a child why he had the characteristics he did, he ended up finding out who he was through the art of writing. Do I see a little something called self-discovery again??

In Sullivan’s “Why I Blog,” he mentions, “You end up writing about yourself, since you are a relatively fixed point in this constant interaction with the ideas and facts of the exterior world.” He discusses how blogging is similar to writing in a diary, for it includes raw honesty through true feelings and opinions. The amount of freedom included in this art allows for self-discovery (yep–here we go again) through writing, whether you want it to happen or not.


I think at the beginning of the year, I mentioned how my hopes for this class were to be able to kind of discover myself as a college student, future educator, and in general person in society through writing. I think encompassing the ideas of these three brilliant writers and their evaluations of why they themselves write, I will hopefully take the inspiration I absorbed from them and transform the cluelessness I have on this third project (in terms of why I really do write) and just start typing. Like I said before, I’m going to let my fingers take the wheel and I will hopefully let my brain create something true and thoughtful!

2 thoughts to “Computer Keys Take the Wheel”

  1. Nikki – I love that feeling when your fingers seem to be typing faster than your mind is thinking. I, too, was that “weird” kid in school who made up stories with imaginary friends, so I took comfort in the fact that I wasn’t alone after reading Orwell’s essay 🙂 I definitely feel that Writing 220 and the MIW blog have allowed us to experience the greatness of self-discovery, just as all three writers were able to experience. As someone who’s watched you progress through your Major Projects, I can assure you that you’ve definitely grown as a student, writer and future educator. Writing truly is a beautiful art…well said!

  2. I like your theme of self-discovery throughout this piece. It’s interesting because each writer touched on it, yet in completely unique ways. The idea that “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say” might seem to be a cliche, but by comparing these writers we can see that it’s really not! Though they might embody the same message, they are so very different! Don’t let this hold you back from writing to discover yourself as a writer. Also, I think that you HAVE grown this semester! Your project embodies your passion and you can’t ask for much more than that. Good job 🙂

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