Why I Write: A Collection of Responses

Inspired by George Orwell’s “Why I Write,” we established our motivators, identified our challenges, and detailed our personal journeys with words.
The faces of The Voyager Staff!
The faces of The Voyager Staff!

   “Tabula rasa”— John Locke’s phrase for a blank slate. Locke explains his coined term as an “inherent gift,” claiming it as his own. Yet, he lets us borrow his gift, emphasizing that the interpretation and use of such gift is entirely up to us. 

   My “tabula rasa” is a rather tangible item: a piece of Paper. The contact of my ballpoint pen to the surface of my Paper transmits a wave of freedom. Of opportunity. Of power. I am my truest and most authentic self when I write. So while I scribble on my tabula rasa, I reflect on why I write:

   I write to give my thoughts a pulse for society cares more about the living than the dead. I write to discover for stringing together macaroni necklaces of words requires more than innate knowledge. I write to rest my vocal chords for I’ve learned that screaming is no use in our loud world. I write to establish my identity for I can express how I feel without expressing how I feel. I write to remember for I can revise the mistakes of my past. I write to forget for phonetically vomiting erases the embarrassment in my head. I write myself out of my nightmares and into my dreams for words transport me to places I hope to one day be. I write to imagine things differently for if my words can create conversation, then perhaps the world will change.  — Alanna Stein ’24 (Editor-in-Chief)


   As a seventeen year old girl living in New Jersey, any political or social change I advocate for often gets lost in the void. I have always drowned in the gray area between direct impact, a senator, and those who do not care. I am extremely passionate about equal rights and representation for all. However, no matter how hard I try, no change gets made following my efforts. I write to make my voice heard, advocate for change, and positively impact the world around me. 

   Writing also allows me to reach people outside of the South Jersey bubble. Change, whether that is political or something else, happens when groups of people come together with a common idea. Through my writing, I can target larger geographical areas. Connections can be formed with like-minded people. Writing validates my opinions and makes causing change a feasible goal. — Sydney Steiner ’24 (Asst. Editor-in-Chief)


   Writing is an essential part of my being. It is a part of me—my creative process, my emotions, my pride and joy. I have been writing creatively for many moons and I do not plan to stop. 

   I started writing to describe the ideas in my head. I fell in love with reading novels, and yearned to tell the stories authors did. At six, the characters in my head were the Disney princesses and fairies, who I did not understand were copyrighted; the creation of another. As I evolved, so did my writing. I began to flesh out my original characters and stories. I learned how to write effectively, not for the English assignment, but for my own satisfaction. Using imagery, irony, personal experience to put my voice into the world.

   Before joining The Voyager, I was petrified to talk about my beliefs. My perspective on the world differs from my family and many around me. Taking the leap and writing opinionated pieces allowed me to shed my fears. I have interviewed administrators, researched “controversial” topics, and let the inner workings of my brain run free into the world. Writing has given me the courage to stand up to opposition without fear.

   To my surprise, people enjoy my writing. My peers, professors, and padres acclaim my work, and have not disowned me because I do not share their beliefs(yay!). I am able to share my beliefs without being shunned, create work that I am proud of. Not just for an audience, but for me. I am incredibly grateful to have a creative outlet for my emotions, thoughts, and beliefs. — Kaitlin Swift ’24 (Managing Editor)


   Sylvia Plath wrote “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Anything can be made a story, as long as you aren’t tethered to the notion of staying in your lane, in your place.

   I write to communicate my emotions and get across important information. Whether it be a political piece, current event, or simply a problem in our community, bringing awareness to it through writing is vital.

   I write to work off steam. From waking up at 6 AM, going to class, playing in after school sports or participating in clubs, completing any homework assignments and studying for upcoming tests, and eventually going back to bed, the daily life of a teenager is exhausting. Being able to forget my worries while I write, if only for a few minutes, evokes a sense of calm and peace in my life. I write for the joy of seeing my words being read by my friends and family. Wanting to impress my peers makes me work harder at my craft, and my writing continues to improve because of it.

   Lastly, and possibly most importantly, I write to have fun and become a better person. Recently, I have begun exploring satirical writing, and it has been a blast to read satire articles and try writing them myself. The more I read and write the more knowledgeable I grow, and I am able to use it to strengthen my relationships and be a more kind and respectful young adult. — Jordan Kramer ’24 (Managing Editor)


  I recently re-started a daily journal…again. I never keep up with my journal as much as I want to. I always forget why I love doing it so much. I’m always too tired, forget it while on vacation, or lose it. Just like that, my daily routine is no more. I do the same with writing. There are times where I stop writing. I don’t document my thoughts, my ideas, or my daily routines. I forget why I like to write. 

   Every time I start my journal again, my writing coincides with it. I remember why I like to write when I look back through the pages of my journal. In my opinion, writing should be informal. Word jargon to sound professional only takes away from the theme of your ideas. My journal is the most unprofessional piece of writing out there. Whatever internal dialogue is happening as I write, I write down. 

   Just yesterday I opened what I thought was a new journal. Turns out, pages had been already filled from January of 2022. I was a sophomore– hard to believe that was already two years ago– but still, the words were so personal to me. You can’t remember everything, but writing makes you remember feelings. When reading the inquiries it felt like that was yesterday. I became sentimental and proud of myself. Those days would have drowned out of existence if they were not documented. 

   I write for the same reason I take pictures— to document my life. To track my internal thoughts that you can never get back. In words, you can see your evolution happen in front of your eyes.  — Maya Dunkelman ’24 (Managing Editor)


   At an early age, my mother, a reading specialist, stressed the importance of reading. Every night from preschool to elementary school, my mother sat me and my two older brothers — Devin and Colin —  down and compelled us to read. My mother instilled in me a love for reading. 

   This love developed into a love of writing. I aspired to write with the same skill and elegance as the professional authors I loved. As I continued to read, my writing style improved more and more.  

   To the best of my memory, my first true attempts at writing were letters, generally on sticky notes, to my mother. They were usually short, no more than two or three sentences, and were extremely simple. I wrote these letters, mostly, to demonstrate my appreciation of her:

Dear Mom,

I Want wish you a happy birthday to the best mom ever. You are the number one mom. 

Your son, 


Dear Mom, 

Thank you for helping me with my report. You are an amazing and wonderful mom. 

Love Tadhg

   I wished her a happy birthday. I thanked her for helping me with a school project. I was proud of them — despite their rudimentary beginnings. It made me ten times more proud when Mom hung the letters by her nightstand. 

   Why were my little letters so incredibly important to my Mom? What made this act a massive boost to my confidence?  To my ego? 

   When writing essays for school, I wanted the same reaction. Why wouldn’t everyone think my writing was important? Something to be impressed by?

   And my mother, by making me think my writing was amazing, gave me the confidence to know such a goal was achievable.  Occasionally, I was indeed able to reach this goal, I felt unbelievably accomplished. 

   As I progressed through school, I gained more and more exposure to authors, like John Steinbeck and George Orwell. Not only did I have the desire to write on the same level, but also to achieve the same stature as these figures. As egotistical as it sounds, I dreamed of creating literature that one day all students would read and analyze.

   Steinbeck died in 1968. Orwell, in 1950. But their works are still taught throughout the world. In a strange way, it feels as if these authors never died. As if their work speaks to the countless  — from the grave beyond.  This level of status became my Holy Grail. 

   This is why I joined the school newspaper. Attaching your name to a creation, one that you are proud of, is one of the best feelings. When you overhear people discussing your piece, that feeling is elevated tenfold. 

   Chasing the coattails of the immoral writers is a large factor as to why I write. Long after my death, I want my name and work to be discussed. I write in an attempt to place Tadhg Beale in the history books and on library shelves. Although likely unachievable, there is no other way to get there other than by writing. —Tadhg Beale ’25 (Entertainment Editor)


   Why do I write? I’ve been writing for years for so many reasons. Today I will go into depth on why I write. My first reason is to entertain, to entertain myself and others. Writing is such a big hobby for me, it’s my fallback when I can’t find anything to do. My next reason is to express myself. I am lucky enough to be able to write about basically anything I want. That gives me the liberty and freedom to write about my favorite shows and music but also write about the importance of mental health. This leads me into my next point, writing to share my emotions. I have written things just for myself on pages that sit in my room. Some of the things that I feel I cannot share with people I write about and it makes more sense. My final reason is that it’s fun, as I said previously writing is a hobby for me. I find it very enjoyable so therefore I do it for fun in my free time. Writing has always been such a huge part of my life and there’s so many reasons why. I didn’t share all of the reasons why but I believe that those are the main reasons. — Izzie Halim ’25 (Entertainment Editor)


   I write for my own self-fulfillment. I’ve always been a strong English student. My second grade teacher told me that she thought that I would become a famous writer one day. I wanted to be a teacher at the time, so I brushed her words off. I had no idea how much that would mean to me in the future, when I became more mature. I opened my mind to new possibilities. I found that I could do much more than teaching, if I wanted to. I could reach newer heights. I received an invitation to a journalism camp years later. I had no journalism experience, but I went anyway. I found what seemed like my life’s purpose. I don’t just write when I’m required to. I write both when I feel too much, and when I feel too little. I write both when my mind is busy, and when I’m not doing anything at all. I am fulfilled with my hobby which I hope becomes a career one day. — Caroline Becker ’24 (Sports Editor)


Our thoughts and ideas matter. Everyone’s point of view is important. There are many art forms that can take emotions, thoughts, and ideas and bring them to life. However, writing is my favorite way to do so. I was never great at drawing or singing, but writing allows me to use imagery to express complex ideas. Writing allows you to see without really seeing. When someone uses their voice, you start to understand how their mind works. If written well, you can feel the emotion of the peace within yourself. 

  Writing can let the world know who you are. When you express what you believe, and you can prove that your ideas are important, it can shape the minds of other people. I love putting new ideas into others’ minds. When others have a strict way of thinking, I like to see if I can shape their mind into something that helps them have a better understanding of who they are. 

  Thinking about complicated ideas isn’t easy, but when I write it out, it brings out the best of what I have. Each person has their own experiences and reasoning for why they think the way they do. Personally, I tend to think a lot about the things that trouble me. These thoughts turn into bigger ideas, and then, these ideas can be expressed using real world comparisons that are understood universally. 

  That’s another cool thing about writing. Many writing pieces can be interpreted differently by individuals, and this can show who someone really is. I like to uncover complex concepts and explain what it means to me. It helps others to understand me, but more importantly, it helps me to understand myself. It’s a beautiful thing to think about how things in the world connect with each other. Even the smallest comparisons can be a great way of expressing difficult emotions. 

  When I write, my mind can go anywhere. It always starts with a small idea, and then it expands into something more; it creates something different. After a piece is written, it may end up sounding like something completely different from the original idea. Writing brings out ideas that are hard to express, and it helps form new ideas. Writing is a brilliant art form that helps express our best ideas in our own voice.  — Victoria Foster ’26 (Creative Writing Editors)


   Writing. Writing could be considered an assignment for your English class, as a hobby, or something more grand. But what does it mean to me? I write for multiple reasons. But, the most important reason would be to express myself. As a teenager who is quieter than your average teenager in high school, I believe that it’s difficult to portray my thoughts and feelings with words. Speaking is difficult. Using your vocal cords to verbalize your thoughts is difficult. So, why should I do something that I believe is hard for me? That’s why I write. It’s not because I’m doing it for fun. It’s not because I’m doing it to clear my mind. I’m doing it because that’s how I get others to hear — well, read in this case, what’s going on in my brain. If you want a simplified answer to why I write, I guess it’d go like: I write because I use the way of written words on paper to express my feelings. That would be the simpler version of this paragraph. — Janah Hassan ’26 (Creative Writing Editor) 


   I’ve never sat down for any amount of time and thought about why I love writing. Everyone has that one hobby that has stuck with them throughout their lives, and for me that thing was writing. I was alway the kid who didn’t mind writing an essay in school, mostly because I would rather be writing than doing multiplication problems. After writing all day in school I would then go home and write some more in journals or diaries; I’ve even tried to write a book before. The point is, you won’t be able to get me to stop writing, and here’s why—

    It all started when I got to write and “publish” my own book in first grade. All of the students in all three first grade classes got to write about whatever they wanted, get it made into a little laminated book, and then you were able to read it at a book night infront of all the students and their parents. I wrote two stories, one about my family and one about a stuffed doll I used to own named Dolly. Dolly was very important to me, so the obvious choice was the book about her, but there was a problem. When you read your book, you were on stage in front of everyone, and as a little seven year old girl, I was terrified. Public speaking has and still is a bit of a problem for me, but what made it worse at the time was my crush was sitting in the front row. There was no way I was getting on that stage and reading my hard work, even though I was super proud of it. Thankfully, my teacher offered to read for me, which I greatly appreciated and didn’t expect her to offer, but what I especially didn’t expect was for the round of applause I got from my story, even if I didn’t read it. The funny part is every other kid also got a round of applause, so I’m unsure why the crowd’s reaction shot my confidence way up, but I’m glad it did. The parents’ reactions made me believe that I could truly write about whatever I wanted, and if it was entertaining enough they would give me the reaction I want, so this made me try harder. The freedom of writing whatever I want is the reason I still write today in highschool and I’m grateful that my first amendment rights further ensure that. Being able to express whatever you want as well as jotting it down on a piece of paper or typing it up on a computer is truly freeing. Your thought is forever your thought if you write it down. — Rylee Pearlman ’25 (News Editor)


   The reason I write is to advocate for people without a voice. Many people in our world are suffering and have no ways to speak up for themselves to get help. I believe my purpose on this earth was to help the greater good, therefore I write for the benefit of other people. My writing is supposed to shine a light on issues that need to be addressed. Writing for me is a form of therapy because I love getting words down on a paper and doing anything I can to help people with my writing. When I was selecting electives I immediately knew I wanted to do Journalism. From a very young age I have loved writing and my passion for it has only grown since. Writing is something that will always have a special place in my heart; I could write for hours and not be bored. I’m looking forward to applying to colleges so I can write essays for them! Essays are my favorite and I can’t wait to share them with future colleges. Ultimately, writing is my passion and I couldn’t imagine a world without it. — Nana Asare ’27 (Staff Reporter)


   When there exists observation, I have always believed there exists obligation. 

   Two months ago last week, I asked my mother for a plaid brown vest that one simply could not button. I knew this. She could not quite understand. 

  They were incredible, those buttons. Thumb-sized and gray and spanning the middle of the chest to the split at the end of their vest. Threaded into the vest as if one’s preference for their fate could not possibly break their being. 

   Before that moment, I would simply sit unbuttoned. 

   I, since I was old enough to understand buttons, needed to be like those buttons. 

  I threw the vest on the morning of the twenty-seventh. I drove up to Harlem, tears in eyes and eyes in other eyes and other eyes keeping their beautiful, queer being. 

  I, since I began feeling the pride and drive of those queer beings that could string sentences together wonderfully, needed to be like that. 

 I need to become for other buttons what those buttons have become to me. 

 I walked from 135th to 42nd, the occasional subway.

 My existence in this city depends on the existence of my blank words. I know I need to fill both of them up. 

 Our existence on a floating mineral, in a galaxy of otherness, depends on how it decides to operate itself. 

  It has never truly minded what we do. 

 Knowing this, why don’t we raise each other up more often? We are all we have ever had.

 I love this city and its words. — Molly Smith ’26 (Staff Reporter)


  Writing has always been in my life in some kind of way. Whether it was by reading other people’s pieces of writing, seeing something happen and journaling about it, sharing what I wrote in my diary with my friends, etc, it’s always been valued. For me, it’s been a way to express how I’m feeling. For example, if I was talking to someone about something, but they had to leave— which interrupted our conversation, I would just write about it. Writing feels like freedom sometimes. Like, if something has been bothering me, writing is my way of “throwing it out there,” but still keeping it as an intimate thing between myself. And sometimes, writing isn’t always something that feels like an “exhale,” sometimes, it’s just fun to write. There doesn’t have to be a reason, honestly. Like, if I see something, I’ll rewrite it and turn it into a story. I’m not creative with other things, so this is my way of expressing my creativity. We all have things that bring joy to our lives and writing has had its benefits for me. — Zhoe Martin ’26 (Staff Reporter) 


    I write for people who don’t have a voice. For people who are mentally frustrated or exasperated, desperate to get their emotions out. I write as an escape from all the madness in my life. Writing for school is different from writing for myself. I write things that are true to me and that are what I want people to know me for. I want to be known for my beliefs and my point of views where people like me will read and see themselves in my writing. As I write for myself, I also write for individuals with the same ideas as me. Writing is a way to discover who you are using the ideas and creations from others.

    Writing transforms you as an individual. The more you write, the more you get your thoughts and feelings out. I want to emulate humans who go through things the same way I do. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you live, who you surround yourself with, writing will always affect your life in ways other things cannot. And that is why I write. — Brooke McCall ’26 (Staff Reporter)


  I write because one day that’s all that will truly be original in the world. As it may come in every and any form possible: a word, a few phrases, a sentence, a paragraph, an essay. However, although it comes in all these sizes, it’s what is inside your piece- the piece that you brought out of yourself and fixed up on a small paper, or your mind that forms the idea from the depths- that matters more. One word has a thousand meanings. I write to tell stories, whether they’re real or not. It’s not a hobby, it’s a coping mechanism used by putting emotions into action through words. — Mikaela Roman ’27 (Staff Reporter)


     We are often told as children, “You are the future of society.” Retrospectively we are told, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” However, if our opinions may both hurt someone and benefit another, do we share that opinion? More importantly, do we write it? As for the future of society, it’s important that we learn to use our voices and speak our mind no matter what others believe. I believe one of the most important things as a young writer is to get your voice heard in society. There is a point in each person’s life where they learn that our opinions will not always please everyone, and I think that if we were raised to share those opinions early, society wouldn’t feel so critical of them. So I ask myself, why do I write? The answer is, if I’m the future of society, why wait for the future, and instead just start now. — Maya Shull ’26 (Staff Reporter)


Share your “Why I Write” by emailing your response to [email protected]!


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