After reading George Orwell’s “Why I Write” I find that I am able to relate to many of his ideas; at the same time, however, I am not able to relate to many of the motives that Orwell lists for him becoming a writer. The first idea that I was able to relate to was writing pieces that are “made-to-order.” As a college student, I find that the majority of my writing is done based on a given prompt or assignment—there is very little flexibility in the level of my own creativity if I want a satisfactory grade. It is this lack of flexibility that makes my writing feel “made-to-order,” as Orwell describes.
Along with understanding Orwell’s discussion of producing colloquial and subsequently uncreative writing, Orwell’s love of words also resonates with me. One of my favorite parts of writing is using new words. I often structure sentences around single words or a string of words that, to me, has a certain flow or sound. While I do not change the spelling of words or make words up as Orwell often does, I can relate to the “joy of mere words” which Orwell expresses in his essay.
While I am no way a writer in the same category as Orwell and I have never written a novel, it is hard for me to imagine that all writers are “driven on by some demon.” While there are definitely those who may be prompted to write due to an inner demon, it seems to me that Orwell is making a generalization when he makes this claim. Why can’t people write because it is fun? After reading this essay and realizing that the majority of my own writing is “made-to-order,” I am left hoping that, unlike Orwell, I will continue to write not because I feel I have to, but because I want to.