The last essay in George Orwell’s A Collection of Essays is titled Why I Write (links to the complete essay), and offers his fine perspective on writing. The four motivations for writing, according to Orwell, are sheer egoism, esthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose. In explaining the first of the four, Orwell writes:

The great mass of human beings are not acutely selfish. After the age of about thirty, they abandon individual ambition – in many cases, indeed, they almost abandon the sense of being individuals at all – and live chiefly for others, or are simply smothered under drudgery. But there is also the minority of gifted, wilful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class.

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