On why she writes, Joan Didion has said: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” Zadie Smith has said she writes, rather, “to express the reality of human capacities” and that writing can “demonstrate the fact that we do still have abilities, ideas, and means of communication that are our own, unrelated to our credit cards or social positions.” Andre Aciman says of his drive to write: “And yet the very act of writing has become my way of finding a space and of building a home for myself.” George Orwell’s “Why I Write” outlines four key reasons for his own craft: “sheer egoism,” “aesthetic enthusiasm,” “historical impulse,” and “political purpose.” The best writers are deeply connected with their own intentionality, the why behind their writing at any given moment. It both improves the work itself, and helps to energize and sustain a writer’s experience of the business side of publishing. My advice to any aspiring writer is to take a break from your manuscript and write your own treatise on why you write. Be as precise, as rigorous, as searchingly honest as possible. Discover and own what drives you, and honor that drive with everything else you create. If your answer doesn’t inspire you yet, push yourself to read more widely, more daringly, until your awareness of your own intentionality is as honed as a newly sharpened tool, as polished as a gemstone.
—Meredith Kaffel Simonoff of DeFiore and Company