“Why I Write” by George Orwell (from BrainPickings.org)

Maria Popova of BrainPickings.org (one of my favorite websites of all time) shares this excerpt from George Orwell’s Why I Write.

“Putting aside the need to earn a living, I think there are four great motives for writing, at any rate for writing prose. They exist in different degrees in every writer, and in any one writer the proportions will vary from time to time, according to the atmosphere in which he is living…

Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity.

Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed.

Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

Political purpose. — Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.

I would definitely like to add more to this list, but since I have a long way to go before I become someone like George Orwell, that list will have to be reserved for a later time. 🙂

Read more about George Orwell and his book in BrainPickings.org HERE