I found George Orwell’s “Why I Write” to be extremely insightful and accurate. The postulation that all writers write with a purpose onset by their own experience is one that I found to be extremely relevant.
The idea that all writers begin with the motivation of sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, and historical impulse hits home to me because when I write, I do find myself wondering how I can structure certain sentences to make me sound more sophisticated, how I can structure my papers so that I appear to be a well-spoken, intelligent individual. I find though, that one of the motivations of why I write is not in fact, for political purpose. This is most likely because I have not been exposed to many political issues that have directly influenced me. As I become more accustomed to political issues, I am sure that a partisanship will arise from within, ultimately becoming incorporated into my writing.
It seems to me that Joan Didion is more interested in writing about whatever is on her mind at any given time than she is about writing with a purpose. One line stuck to me after reading the piece and that was the last: “Had I known the answer to any of these questions I would never have needed to write a novel.” To me, it seems that she writes to shape her mind and personality into a physical entity. I believe that this disagrees with Orwell’s definition of “Why I Write” in that it leaves no room for political and historical arguments. Orwell writes that when he writes politically, he starts with an issue and makes it his goal to exploit it. There is no such thinking process the way that Didion describes why she writes. Although there could be personal inclinations towards one side of an issue, I prefer to clearly know what I am writing and what I am about to write.